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.
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
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
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.