Read Micah 6:1-16
God’s people had forgotten what God had really done for them. Not just forgotten, but turned away from Him as the Lord of their lives, the God of their nation. Sure, they offered sacrifices and followed the religious rituals He’d given them in Leviticus. But they did it as if to earn their own freedom, as if their slavery to the Law were their ticket to freedom.
But God knew the truth behind the duties they performed, and it was time to call them out.
He started with a question. “How have I wearied you” (v3)? As if He’d trapped them in slavery and drove them hard.
Then the truth came out as He reminded His people of the freedom He’d secured for them, the real life He’d offered when He rescued His children from the hands of the Egyptians and led them to His Promised Land. He’d given them the Law as a way to faithfully seek Him and trust Him for that freedom.
The Israelites had offered the five yearly sacrifices He’d laid out for them in Leviticus. But the truth was they were just going through the motions. As if their own actions would make them right before Almighty God. Sure, they performed the rituals, but God wanted their hearts.
He’d already made it clear what He required. Just three things.
“Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God” (v6, Holman).
What God wanted was the whole of their being. Walking humbly with Him was more than just killing a lamb and setting it on an altar. It was — it is — sacrificing the whole self, the whole will of oneself for His. With every choice. Every next step.
God wants the same from you and me. He doesn’t want religious rituals that try to prove we’re worth His saving. He wants out wholehearted obedience that comes from hearts who trust His ways. He wants humble hands that serve out of faith more than He wants great pious platforms that scream “look how religious we are.”
This relationship with God is just that. A relationship. He set us free, just like He set those Israelites free, so you and I could know His freedom and live and serve and obey in that.