What Do You Require?

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No, O People, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6.8, NLT)

Reading through scripture can be a challenge, especially when your reading plan is a listing of passages that are defined for you as opposed to ones that you can pick and choose. We often would like to stick to the passages that say things like: “God loves you,” or “Praise God for his blessings.”

Read enough of the positive, uplifting passages, and just about the time we realize that perhaps we can blend our lives with God’s call on us in such a way that we change, but not too much, he throws out a passage like the one above:

Do what is right.

Show people mercy.

Be humble.

But that’s not all. This week’s readings also reveal this:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5.3-12)

The problem with passages like these is not determining the proper interpretation. The problem is we KNOW the interpretation, we just cannot seem to live like the text calls us to live.

I remember late night talk show host Jay Leno talking about “The Bible Code,” where someone claimed that if you lined up the Hebrew scriptures in the right order, you would find a secret code that could be read vertically through the text. Leno joked: “I can’t even do the things I know I am supposed to do when I read it normally, now you tell me there is a whole additional set of secret things to do?”

Actually, Leno’s comments were too true to be funny. One does not have to dig deep in news reports or social media postings to realize a basic sense of love, mercy, justice, and humility has escaped us. Those who are poor, who mourn, or are meek? They seem to not even be a blip on our radar screen. One might claim that has been the case forever, and one might have a point, but when it is those you most expect to follow the instruction of scripture and they do not, it is discouraging.

This week, as you read through the listed texts, spend some extra time just going back over them again and again. Then ask yourself the following questions:

Questions:

•Am I living the way God is calling me to live?

•How can I do a better job of doing that?

 

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