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 (Manna 71: What Does God Require of You?)
Manna 71 Editorial: What Does God Require of You?
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by K.C. Tsai

With what shall I come before God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, or with calves a year old? Will He be pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil? O man, He has shown you what is good and what He requires of you: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

- Micah

God’s abundant grace naturally motivates man to seek His pleasure and approval with some form of offering or, at least, with a reciprocal gesture of gratitude. However, our God is the Creator of the universe who does not need anything. He gives to men life, breath, and all things. What can man ever present to Him?

With this understanding, the Israelites during Prophet Micah’s time questioned: what can we offer to please God by whom all things are made? How about sacrificing thousands of rams or offering ten thousand rivers of oil? Their questions seem to suggest that God is difficult to please and that He would not even be contented with such a plethora of sacrifices—as if God would demand something beyond what they could afford. In response, God told them that they had been shown what is good and what He required of them: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.

It is not about what we can contribute to God’s riches, since He lacks nothing. What He requires of us is simple—to be a person after His heart. It is more about ourselves than what we can do for Him.

Today, we support the church’s work with monetary offerings and by serving with our talents. But does God delight in our service? Are these offerings and services all that He requires of us? The Bible repeatedly reminds us that it is not the scope of our service that pleases God, but the way we present ourselves to Him before rendering a service. God has enough of burnt offerings of rams and oil. If we do not offer ourselves as a living sacrifice and walk humbly with God, our service will be nothing more than the trampling of His courts, which is detestable to Him (Isa 1:11–15).

Through interactions with His people, God has shown us what is good in His eyes. Through His law and the narratives of ancient saints, we are informed of what to do and what not to do. What He requires of us is to act accordingly, making the right choices in life. And this is to live justly.

The Psalmist proclaims that “[r]ighteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne; [m]ercy and truth go before His face” (Ps 89:14). Justice and mercy are two attributes of God, and He wants His servants to imitate Him.

This is easier said than done. To find favor in God’s eyes requires lifelong learning. The theme articles in this issue discuss how we can learn to fear and love God and respond to His requirements. May the Holy Spirit enlighten and guide us to walk humbly in His way to perfection.

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Author: K.C. Tsai