Key Verse: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
AS WE READ THE WORDS of our Key Verse, it should bring to our minds an immediate realization of the fact that they refer to requirements that have been given directly from our Heavenly Father. Hence, their importance should be paramount in the development of the Christian character. These are divine standards, and we must constantly remember that God’s laws are holy, just, and good.
God, through the Prophet Micah, instructs us to “do justly.” This means to do “rightly,” applying the principles of justice and righteousness to our words and our conduct. For these to operate in the way that God desires in us, they must first be embedded in our hearts. Only then can they be properly applied in our actions.—Ps. 19:14
“To love mercy” is another requirement of one who desires to be pleasing to God. It is of such great importance that Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5:7) In other words, if we expect to be shown mercy when we fail, we must exhibit that same quality of character toward others. If we are enriched in the character of Christ and continually seeking to follow his example, we will realize the great importance of being merciful, loving, kind, and considerate toward all, doing “good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”—Gal. 6:10
To “love mercy” means that we rejoice in expressing this quality to others. Such a high standard of character as this does not come easy. It requires that we engage in a warfare against our fallen flesh and its tendencies to be harsh and cruel rather than loving and merciful. Success in this battle will involve “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”—II Cor. 10:5
In the foregoing verse, Paul mentions that our “fight of faith” includes casting down “every high thing that exalteth itself.” This points to the third requirement of our Key Verse—“to walk humbly with thy God.” We cannot expect to “do justly” and to “love mercy” in a manner fully pleasing to the Lord unless those efforts are based on the foundation principle of humility. The Apostle Peter tells us, “Be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”—I Pet. 5:5
As we strive to properly develop a just and righteous heart, a loving and merciful character, and have these “clothed” at all times with humility, we must exercise trust in the Lord to direct our experiences in a way that will bring to fruition these vital qualities. As footstep followers of Christ, we have been called to sonship with God and have been given the opportunity to change the condition of our heart, mind, words, and actions to those traits of character identified in our lesson. We can sum up what God requires of us with these words of the Master: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”—Matt. 22:37-39