The text from Micah 6:1-8 envisions a the gathering of a “court of all creation” summoned to judge the lawsuit that God brings against his people Israel. The text reveals that it is the lack of human faith, spurred on by fear, that has led Israel to reject God, taking matters into their own hands by means of excessive sacrifices and rituals. In other words, Israel has devised a religion of its own making, rather than living by God’s grace.
Micah answers a basic human question: how can humans placate or appease the gods? How can we secure our fate, our destiny? His answer: you can’t. At least not by heaping sacrifice upon sacrifice. Instead, we are to heed the words of the LORD: to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
In fact, the blood of Jesus is worth more than any sacrifice, even “ten thousand rivers of oil” (Micah 6:7). In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us exactly how to obtain God’s favor and blessing — and it has nothing to do with sacrificing year-old calves or our firstborn children. Instead, we are do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. How we do this, Jesus enumerates for us in the Beatitudes.
Preached on January 29, 2017 at Holy Trinity Church Inwood.