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What God Requires

6

“With what shall I come before the Lord,

and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

with calves a year old?

7

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

 


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6. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord?—The people, convicted by the previous appeal of Jehovah to them, ask as if they knew not (compare Mic 6:8) what Jehovah requires of them to appease Him, adding that they are ready to offer an immense heap of sacrifices, and those the most costly, even to the fruit of their own body.

burnt offerings—(Le 1:1-17).

calves of a year old—which used to be offered for a priest (Le 9:2, 3).

7. rivers of oil—used in sacrifices (Le 2:1, 15). Will God be appeased by my offering so much oil that it shall flow in myriads of torrents?

my first-born—(2Ki 3:27). As the king of Moab did.

fruit of my bodymy children, as an atonement (Ps 132:11). The Jews offered human sacrifices in the valley of Hinnom (Jer 19:5; 32:35; Eze 23:27).

8. He—Jehovah.

hath showed thee—long ago, so that thou needest not ask the question as if thou hadst never heard (Mic 6:6; compare De 10:12; 30:11-14).

what is good—"the good things to come" under Messiah, of which "the law had the shadow." The Mosaic sacrifices were but suggestive foreshadowings of His better sacrifice (Heb 9:23; 10:1). To have this "good" first "showed," or revealed by the Spirit, is the only basis for the superstructure of the moral requirements which follow. Thus the way was prepared for the Gospel. The banishment of the Jews from Palestine is designed to preclude the possibility of their looking to the Mosaic rites for redemption, and shuts them up to Messiah.

justly … mercy—preferred by God to sacrifices. For the latter being positive ordinances, are only means designed with a view to the former, which being moral duties are the ends, and of everlasting obligation (1Sa 15:22; Ho 6:6; 12:6; Am 5:22, 24). Two duties towards man are specified—justice, or strict equity; and mercy, or a kindly abatement of what we might justly demand, and a hearty desire to do good to others.

to walk humbly with thy God—passive and active obedience towards God. The three moral duties here are summed up by our Lord (Mt 23:23), "judgment, mercy, and faith" (in Lu 11:42, "the love of God"). Compare Jas 1:27. To walk with God implies constant prayer and watchfulness, familiar yet "humble" converse with God (Ge 5:24; 17:1).




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