September 25, 2010

What Sacrifice Does God Want?

Micah 6:1-8

What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8


The Old Testament book of Leviticus is filled with details about animal sacrifices for the sins of the people. But, as Micah observes, such sacrifices are not enough. The sacrifice of “thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil” will not please God. Micah sees such rituals as meaningless if people’s hearts are not in tune with God. Then Micah spells out how to show sincere obedience: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Jesus Christ demonstrated perfect obedience to God. He came to do God’s will. He knew that God was not ultimately pleased with ritual offerings. Instead he offered his own life so that through his sacrifice we might be made holy once for all (see Hebrews 10:8-10). Christ did what Micah instructed: he acted justly, loved mercy, and walked humbly with God. As those who are made holy through Christ’s sacrifice, we must pursue Christlikeness in our walk with God.

In our efforts to please God, we must examine these areas of our lives regularly. Do we act with justice in how we deal with people? Do we show mercy to those who have wronged us in some way? Are we learning to be more humble? God wants us to offer ourselves wholeheartedly, living for him with every part of our being.

Jesus, you offered yourself for my sake. Help me to offer myself to live for you. May I act with justice, mercy, and humility, as you did. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Adrian A. Helleman

Dr. Adrian Helleman served as a pastor in British Columbia before being called to serve as a missionary-teacher in the Philippines. He and his wife, Wendy, later taught philosophy at Moscow State University in Russia, and then philosophy and theology at the University of Jos in Nigeria. They have also lectured in Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Tanzania. They have three children and three grandchildren.

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