As a child, undoubtedly Jesus was raised learning the Hebrew Scriptures. He heard the stories of oppression and redemption; the call to live out of love and mercy; the invitation to see not only his people as a neighbor but the foreigner as well. I would hope that one of the prophetic statements that took root in his young soul and took his life to live out was the call found in Micah 6:8—“He has told you what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love and walk humbly with your God.”
Set in a time where Israel is bemoaning God’s absence, God calls them to remember all that has taken place and how God has been faithful to them. They are held by the faithfulness of God which has never faltered or failed!
In that space, the people often would respond with offerings and sacrifices. It was their way to honor God and appease God. Yet, that isn’t what God wanted. Verses 6-7 read,
With what should I approach the LORD and bow down before God on high?
Should I come before him with entirely burned offerings, with year-old calves?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with many torrents of oil?
Should I give my oldest child for my crime; the fruit of my body for the sin of my spirit?
It wasn’t the sacrifice that God was hoping for and needed; it was a people living out the high calling of justice, love and humility. And I would dare say Jesus echoes this to the religious of his time in saying, “Learn what this means, I desire mercy, not sacrifice!” What tangible ways are you walking in justice, love and humility? It is what the Lord requires!