Admittedly, Israel in this context is accused of disobedience to God. Before probing further, I would like to shed light on two commentaries on Micah 6:8 to know how this verse is understood widely. To begin with, Barnes on his commentary on Micah says that the prophet through the 6:8 versus tells the people ‘what thing is good; the inward man of the heart righteousness, love, humility’. This is a question from them “with what outward thing shall I come before the lord”. What the lord requires is an earnest search within. God seeks you, your heart and your spirit rather than yours, your substances and ram or goat. To seek mercy and love there requires righteous judgment. It is not right if you praise yourself and accuse god for evil in you. It refers to the duty of the man too. As god himself humbled in flesh we need to humble ourselves with God, walk on with him. Matthew 5:48 says be ye perfect as your father which is in heaven is perfect. Be merciful as your father also is merciful. God is not pleased when they offer creatures ‘blood that cannot take away their sin; and instead they themselves become sinful. In the sight of the lord no man living in this world are righteous. No human can wipe away sins that there is nothing that can wash away the stains of offences. It reveals the helplessness of people that they are not at all able to please god by their own abilities except with the help of god. As we are ignorant about what to do to get our sins forgiven, being hesitated we ask, where and how shall I come before the lord. The obedience to god by the people, especially the Pharisees went single dimensional. They lacked the true meaning of it. It was evidential in their Sabbath practices, their offerings and their interpretation of the law and so on. The blood of the animal cannot compensate our sin but that of us. And Barnes continues that even though we dedicate ourselves with all we have, they are not a repayment for our sins; only the blood of Christ can cleanse our hearts. Micah adds nothing new to the law but only repeating what is in the law. Micah reveals to the people about their half service to God and that is contrary to the law of God. Micah changes the way people looked at and observed the words of Moses to expose unforgivable sins of Israel. According to Barnes, Micah includes nothing more to the law when he prophesies. He just reminds the people who are doing countless rituals and meaningless practices to please God. God being kind towards his people again asks them to pay attention to the same thing that he had been telling through his prophets before. But on the other hand, Matthew Henry in his commentary looks at the verses of Micah with a different perspective. According to him, the people had been trying hard to please God whenever they were warned by God about their ingratitude towards Him. ‘Where with shall I come’ signifies the inner cry of everyone. People still believe that there is a God who saved them from slavery and who guided them. First of all they seek to come before God and they also want pay homage to him. Further they inquire what the Lord will be pleased with. Like Barnes Matthew Henry also focuses further on the three requirements that God expects from us. Firstly we must do things justly in our daily life and we must be righteous. Secondly, as God does, love to be merciful. Thirdly, the most important is to walk humbly
Interpretations on Micah 6:8 Over many years of following God, Israel heard from Lord what he requires of them and how he would have them live. Rather than burnt offerings lord demanded from them deeds of mercy. As the people of Israel were slow to heed the message from God, Yahweh communicated through different prophets on one and the same thing…
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
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