What can we bring to the Lord? Should we bring him burnt offerings? Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Dear God, to obey is better than to sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). And you made the sacrifice part even easier with the gift of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. I don’t really have to give up some of my possessions in atonement. I just need to repent.
So what am I supposed to do?
- Do what is right: This one is obvious. Tell the truth. Be honest in my dealings with others. Do not covet and have other idols. Frankly, this is impossible, but it is certainly a goal worth striving for.
- Love mercy: Loving mercy means turning loose of what I think I deserve and specifically giving something to someone that they do not deserve. Help. Forgiveness. Compassion. Comfort.
- Walk humbly with you: I can get awfully cocky and full of myself. I also get to feeling like I can do things on my own. But, without you, my life is a house of cards just waiting to collapse. My foundation is shifting sand. Everything is vapor. With you, however, the house is built on a solid foundation so that, regardless of how the wind blows and the rains come down, there is still peace to be found.
Father, as I head back into work today, help me to do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. As I interact with my wife and children, help me to do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. As I interact with friends and coworkers, help me to do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. As I spend time alone, help me to do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. As I pray to you, help me to do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with you.
In Jesus’s name I pray,