Talking the Walk or Walking the Talk?

January 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

The prophet Micah spoke to very religious people who publicly paid loud lip service to their religion (Micah 3).  So it must have been a shock to them when Micah summoned them to God’s legal case against them (Micah 6:1-5).  The people’s reply to God’s charges against them includes no attempt to defend themselves (Micah 6:6-7).  Deep down they know they are guilty.  Instead, they try to figure out if they can please God by paying Him off:  “With what shall I come before the Lord”? (6:6).  They hope they can come up with some sacrificial offerings that will make up for their transgressions (6:7).  As some writer commented so well, what we have here is an attempt “to appease God through a form of score-keeping that tries to put a price tag on God’s mercy.” But God wants none of that.  We can’t get away by just writing a check.  God requires something different from the usual talking-the-walk kind of religion.  What God requires is “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8).  We cannot keep God off our backs by checking off some prescribed religious practices.  We are called to walk the talk with a lifestyle of love, mercy, and justice for each other and the world.  How are we doing with that?

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