WHAT DOES GOD REQUIRE OF ME?

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WHAT DOES GOD REQUIRE OF ME?

Interesting question, isn’t it? Have you ever found yourself asking that question? What does God require of me? What does He want me to do? How many cartwheels must I turn before He treats me fairly? How many hoops does He want me to jump through before He will stop making sport of me?

Well, if you have ever asked those questions, then rejoice, for here is your answer. And you’ll be glad to know that it is simpler than you thought it was.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

Or in another words,

“…he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.” Micah 6:8 [MSG]

It really is quite simple, isn’t it? Just be an all-round nice guy. For really, there’s nothing that God wants from you. I mean think about it, what can you possibly do that will benefit Him? No, really, stop for a moment and think.

Give to the poor? The poor benefits. Preach to the lost? The lost benefits. Turn the other cheek? Your relatives benefit. So just what is it that you can do that will be of direct and tangible benefit to God? Indeed, He said it best when He said,

“I will not take a bull from your house,
Nor goats out of your folds.
For every beast of the forest is Mine,
And the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the mountains,
And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.” Psalm 50:9-12
The frustrations of daily living can blinker us and drive us to the point when we just throw up our hands in abject despair and ask God just what more does He want us to do before He sees fit to bring us out of our troubles. But putting emotional outbursts aside, we need to realize that this is the only ‘work’ that God wants from us;

“Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:28-29

So then, context. How do we know that this is all that He wants? And how do we know that He does not have any fine print attached?

Well, the instructions that we receive today came through the prophet Micah. It comes at the end of the passage that the NKJV titles ‘God Pleads with Israel’. Interesting, no? Many people think of God as hard and harsh, constantly demanding that we humans be in an unrelenting pursuit of unrealistic perfection. Yet, this passage tells us that God is actually pleading with Israel. So let’s see what He says.

“Dear people, how have I done you wrong?
Have I burdened you, worn you out? Answer!
I delivered you from a bad life in Egypt;
I paid a good price to get you out of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you—
and Aaron and Miriam to boot!
Remember what Balak king of Moab tried to pull,
and how Balaam son of Beor turned the tables on him.
Remember all those stories about Shittim and Gilgal.
Keep all God’s salvation stories fresh and present.” Micah 6:3-5 [MSG]

It isn’t immediately apparent just what the people were murmuring about exactly. But they are human, and being human, it is not a far stretch of the imagination to guess that regardless of how things were going, they must have felt that it could always be better for them. Because, let’s face it, we don’t need to be in a rut to feel dissatisfied, do we? In fact, a Chinese idiom says it best, ‘when you know the meaning of contentment, only then will you be happy’.

So here they were, murmuring and complaining again, as we humans often do, and God is responding to His people’s complaints.

Now, let us step into their shoes for a moment and pretend that God is speaking these words to us right now. Are you feeling discontent in your life right now? Are you facing troubles and challenges? Could your life be better? Are you therefore a little dissatisfied with God? Well then, let’s ask ourselves,

How has God done me wrong? How has He burdened me?

Has He deprived us of house and home? Has He taken perfectly good jobs away from us? Has He stricken us with illness and pain? Has He wrecked our marriages and destroyed our relationships? Has He caused our children to turn from us and our parents to disown us? Has He done all that? Or have you?

Look, I’m not trying to make light of your situation, nor am I trying to hammer you down with guilt. All I am saying is this; we need to give credit where credit is due, and as for all the hardship that you are facing right now, they are not from God.

I mean, think about it, why would He do that to you? Let’s put ‘holy man’ aside, and look at God with our most critical of eyes for a moment. Let us assume that He is the ‘bad guy’ that we think He is, and then some; then let’s analyze our situation;

What does God stand to gain from doing us in? Proper marketing dictates that you never treat your customers badly. While you don’t want to give them too much, such that it hurts your profitability, you also want to do enough to please them so that they stay with you and don’t jump ship. So why would God do us in?

On the other hand, the devil has every reason to do us in. Because he’s got a personal vendetta against God, it’s good for business for him to make God look bad. And how does he do that? That’s right, by screwing us over. Does that sound like a more plausible line of reasoning?

Now here comes the elephant in the room. Why doesn’t God protect us from the devil then? Why doesn’t He keep us in a protective bubble? Well, how do you know that He hasn’t and you aren’t? The fact that you have complaints against God does not change the fact that He has got you in a protective bubble; for even when you are in the bubble, you will still be able to find something wrong with the bubble, wont’ you? Perhaps the bubble is too small, or the bubble is too round, or the bubble has no air-conditioning, or the curvature of the bubble makes you look fat. Look, as we have seen a couple days ago, the situation really could have been much worse.

Instead, let’s see how our Father teaches us to guard against the mind games of the devil.

“Dear people, how have I done you wrong?
Have I burdened you, worn you out? Answer!
I delivered you from a bad life in Egypt;
I paid a good price to get you out of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you—
and Aaron and Miriam to boot!
Remember what Balak king of Moab tried to pull,
and how Balaam son of Beor turned the tables on him.
Remember all those stories about Shittim and Gilgal.
Keep all God’s salvation stories fresh and present.” Micah 6:3-5 [MSG]

Remember when He last delivered you from a bad situation? Remember when He last got you unstuck? Remember how He put people in your life to help guide you out? Remember when He last protected you from people who were out to get you? Remember when He last kept you from feeling the effects of the abuse which you rendered onto your body? Indeed, remember all your stories of how our Father has been good to you and you will realize that you really have no cause for complaint.

You know, we began this message thinking that God’s demands cause us frustrations. But in the end we realize that often our frustrations come because of the never-ending list of demands that we have for Him. The truth is, God really doesn’t want anything from us, except that we live well and get along. And the only way that we will ever realize that and see just how loved we are, is if we

“…don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.” Micah 6:8 [MSG]

Beloved child of God, what our Father really wants is to give, and not to take. So remind yourselves constantly of just how good He has been to you and you will fully appreciate just how good your life really is.

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