“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
We tend to make things complicated that should be simple. The Jews had over 600 rules to explain exactly how to follow God’s commandments. I’m no different. When I take on a task, I like to pin down the exact expectations, so I can be sure to measure up. God doesn’t seem to work that way. He made each of us unique and special. He knows our talents and gifts, our weaknesses and flaws. Remember Beth Ann’s post about the talents? Each servant was commended for using what they had been given, but they didn’t end up with identical results. The only servant who was denounced, was so fearful, he didn’t do anything with the gift he was given.
So, in the verses above, God’s prophet Micah tells the people, there isn’t a certain number, or a specific type of sacrifice you need to make. You just need to be fair and kind to others. Spend time with me, have a humble attitude, and you will learn what you need to know and your efforts will please God. He is, after all, your Father, who wants love and respect, not blind obedience.
Jesus tried to keep it simple, too. In the book of Matthew when the Pharisees question him about the requirements of the law he answers:
“…’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And …You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments, depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-39
So, if I love God, my heart will be in the right place, and I’ll want to obey. It’s won’t be a task to be completed perfectly. It will be a natural consequence of who I am. I guess the lesson for me here is, spend more time with God, getting to know Him, experiencing His presence, studying His Word, and my obedience, though imperfect, will please Him. I don’t need to worry about the details.