Living Out Micah 6:8: “Seek Justice”

Rev. Bradley Swire   -  

There was a man who loved God and lived his life according to what God says. He didn’t find God until college, so when he was still a new Christian, he would go around telling people, “Jesus loves me, and he loves you too.” When he would get upset with particular folks, he would tell them, “Jesus loves me, and he LIKES you.” But when things went wrong in his life, or when he messed up himself, he would fall to his knees, throw up his hands, and shout to the sky, “God! What do you expect from me?!”

Have you ever felt like that? I know I have. In our scripture today from Micah 6:1-8, the prophet is trying to respond to the people of Judah who knew they had messed up. They knew they were not living for God, and they knew God was angry with them. They essentially ask this question we see here: “God, what do you expect from me?” Now, the people at this time were used to apologizing by giving items or making sacrifices of some sort. This is like when I make my wife mad, I feel like I have to go out and make up for it by getting her something. You ever do that? Depending on how mad I made her, it ranges from roses or flowers, to chocolates, to diamonds.

The people knew they had messed up and wanted to make it up to God. So they asked that question, and the answer is threefold as we see in verse 8: seek justice, embrace faithful living, and walk humbly with God. Over the next few weeks, we will discuss each of these three, starting with justice today.

Justice is an interesting word with various meanings. In the language that Micah uses, it almost sounds like a court case is in progress, and the question is actually, “God, how can we make restitution for how we have treated you?” So, it’s fitting that the first “requirement” we see here is justice. The best definition I could come up with for justice is this: to do what you already know is right. The key part of this definition is the “already know” part. The people Micah was talking to knew how they should act. It’s like a child testing a parent. Have you ever done something your parents told you not to do, but you did it anyway?

When I was a kid, I once peeled an entire stack of bananas after my mother told me not to . Sure enough, I got caught and had to face the consequences. The point is, I knew better, and I did it anyway, so it was wrong. To seek justice means to act in a way that is in accordance with what you were already taught. The material is not new; the instructions are the same. We just sometimes choose not to do what we know is right.

When I don’t do what I know is right, it always makes me feel so bad and guilty afterward. Just the other day, I was in a hurry to walk somewhere at the church, and I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. Instead of picking it up and throwing it away, I just passed right by. All I could think about afterward was that I knew I should have picked it up, and since I didn’t, it was eating me up inside. So, I went back and took care of it, and felt so relieved. It’s amazing how something so simple can turn into such a big deal in my head. But since I knew what the right thing to do was and didn’t do it, it tore me up.

This is seeking justice: you pass a hungry child, and you start a feeding program. It’s not just about picking up trash; it’s about acting according to how God would act. If Jesus had walked by that piece of trash, what would He have done? Growing up, we had these bracelets with “WWJD” (What Would Jesus Do?) written on them. They were a fad, but that message is still just as important today as it was in Micah’s time, and as it will be for the rest of time.

Seeking justice is asking that question in every situation: What Would Jesus Do? If we asked that more often, we’d be more likely to act differently or take that extra step instead of creating excuses for not doing what we know is right.

This message goes beyond picking up trash. It applies to how we treat others, how we respond to others, what we say, the messages we send out when we post things online that degrade or speak badly about anyone or anything, and finally, how we treat God. Jesus teaches us that when we treat others badly, we are also treating God badly. Justice is about doing what you already know is the right thing to do—in every situation, in every instance, and in every moment of our lives.

What are we doing in our lives that seeks justice? How are we acting in these situations? How are we applying WWJD to our lives? Are we doing it? In what ways are we not doing what we know is right? How can we change our lives so that we are seeking justice for God?