on Micah 6 :8
He hath showed thee, O Man, what is good - All the modes of expiation which ye have proposed are, in the sight of God, unavailable; they cannot do away the evil, nor purify from the guilt of sin. He himself has shown thee what is good; that which is profitable to thee, and pleasing to himself. And what is that? Answer, Thou art: -
I. To do justly; to give to all their due.
1. To God his due; thy heart, thy body, soul, and spirit; thy Wisdom, understanding, judgment. "To love him with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself." This is God's due and right from every man.
2. Thou art to give thy neighbor his due to do to him as thou wouldst that he should do to thee, never working ill to him.
3. Thou art to give to thyself thy due; not to deprive thy soul of what God has provided for it; to keep thy body in temperance, sobriety, and chastity; avoiding all excesses, both in action and passion.
II. Thou art to love mercy; not only to do what justice requires, but also what mercy, kindness, benevolence, and charity require.
III. But how art thou to do this? Thou art to walk humbly with thy God; הצנע hatsnea, to humble thyself to walk. This implies to acknowledge thy iniquity, and submit to be saved by his free mercy, as thou hast already found that no kind of offering or sacrifice can avail. Without this humiliation of soul there never was, there never can be, any walking With God; for without his mercy no soul can be saved; and he must be Thy God before thou canst walk with him. Many, when they hear the nature of sin pointed out, and the way of salvation made plain through the blood of the Lamb, have shut their eyes both against sin and the proper sacrifice for it, and parried all exhortation, threatening, etc., with this text: "God requires nothing of us but to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him." Now I ask any man, Art thou willing to stand or fall by this text? And it would cost me neither much time nor much pains to show that on this ground no soul of man can be saved. Nor does God say that this doing justly, etc., shall merit eternal glory. No. He shows that in this way all men should walk; that this is the duty of Every rational being; but he well knows that no fallen soul can act thus without especial assistance from him, and that it is only the regenerate man, the man who has found redemption through the blood of the cross, and has God for His God, that can thus act and walk. Salvation is of the mere mercy of God alone; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The manner of raising attention, says Bp. Newcome, on Micah 6:1, Micah 6:2, by calling on man to urge his plea in the face of all nature, and on the inanimate creation to hear the expostulation of Jehovah with his people, is truly awakening and magnificent. The wards of Jehovah follow in Micah 6:3-5. And God's mercies having been set before the people, one of them is introduced in a beautiful dramatic form; asking what his duty is towards so gracious a God, Micah 6:6, Micah 6:7. The answer follows in the words of the prophet, Micah 6:8. Some think we have a sort of dialogue between Balak and Balaam, represented to us in the prophetical way. The king of Moab speaks, Micah 6:6. Balaam replies by another question in the two first hemistichs of Micah 6:7. The king of Moab rejoins in the remaining part of the verse; and Balaam replies, Micah 6:8. Bps. Butler and Lowth favor this. I cannot agree.
on Micah 6 :8
He hath shewed thee - Micah does not tell them now, as for the first time; which would have excused them. He says, "He hath shewed thee;" He, about whose mind and will and pleasure they were pretending to enquire, the Lord their God. He had shewn it to them. The law was full of it. He shewed it to them, when He said, "And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him and to serve the Lord, thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command thee this day for thy good?" Deuteronomy 10:12-13. They had asked, "with what outward thing shall I come before the Lord;" the prophet tells them, "what thing is good," the inward man of the heart, righteousness, love, humility.
And what doth the Lord require (search, seek) of thee? - The very word implies an earnest search within. He would say (Rup.), "Trouble not thyself as to any of these things, burnt-offerings, rams, calves, without thee. For God seeketh not thine, but thee; not thy substance, but thy spirit; not ram or goat, but thy heart." : "Thou askest, what thou shouldest offer for thee? Other thyself. For what else doth the Lord seek of thee, but thee? Because, of all earthly creatures, He hath made nothing better than thee, He seeketh thyself from thyself, because thou hadst lost thyself."
To do judgment - are chiefly all acts of equity; "to love mercy," all deeds of love. Judgment, is what right requires; mercy, what love. Yet, secondarily, "to do judgment" is to pass righteous judgments in all cases; and so, as to others, "judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" John 7:24; and as to one's self also. Judge equitably and kindly of others, humbly of thyself. : "Judge of thyself in thyself without acceptance of thine own person, so as not to spare thy sins, nor take pleasure in them, because thou hast done them. Neither praise thyself in what is good in thee, nor accuse God in what is evil in thee. For this is wrong judgment, and so, not judgment at all. This thou didst, being evil; reverse it, and it will be right. Praise God in what is good in thee; accuse thyself in what is evil. So shalt thou anticipate the judgment of God, as He saith, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged of the Lord" 1 Corinthians 11:31. He addeth, love mercy; being merciful, out of love, "not of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver" 2 Corinthians 9:7. These acts together contain the whole duty to man, corresponding with and formed upon the mercy and justice of God Psalm 101:1; Psalm 61:7. All which is due, anyhow or in any way, is of judgment; all which is free toward man, although not free toward God, is of mercy. There remains, walk humbly with thy God; not, bow thyself only before Him, as they had offered Micah 6:6, nor again walk with Him only, as did Enoch, Noah Abraham, Job; but walk humbly (literally, bow down the going) yet still with thy God; never lifting up thyself, never sleeping, never standing still, but ever walking on, yet ever casting thyself down; and the more thou goest on in grace, the more cast thyself down; as our Lord saith, "When ye have done all these things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do" Luke 17:10.
It is not a "crouching before God" displeased, (such as they had thought of,) but the humble love of the forgiven; "walk humbly," as the creature with the Creator, but in love, with thine own God. Humble thyself with God, who humbled himself in the flesh: walk on with Him, who is thy Way. Neither humility nor obedience alone would be true graces; but to cleave fast to God, because He is thine All, and to bow thyself down, because thou art nothing, and thine All is He and of Him. It is altogether a Gospel-precept; bidding us, "Be ye perfect, as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect" Matthew 5:48; "Be merciful, as your Father also is merciful;" Luke 6:36; and yet, in the end, have "that same mind which was also in Christ Jesus, who made Himself of no reputation" Philippians 2:5, Philippians 2:7, Philippians 2:9.
The offers of the people, stated in the bare nakedness in which Micah exhibits them, have a character of irony. But it is the irony of the truth and of the fact itself. The creature has nothing of its own to offer; "the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin" Hebrews 10:4; and the offerings, as they rise in value, become, not useless only but, sinful. Such offerings would bring down anger, not mercy. Micah's words then are, for their vividness, an almost proverbial expression of the nothingness of all which we sinners could offer to God. : "We, who are of the people of God, knowing that "in His sight shall no man living be justified" Psalm 143:2, and saying, "I am a beast with Thee" Psalm 73:22, trust in no pleas before His judgment-seat, but pray; yet we put no trust in our very prayers. For there is nothing worthy to be offered to God for sin, anal no humility can wash away the stains of offences.
In penitence for our sins, we hesitate and say, Wherewith shall I come before the Lord? how shall I come, so as to be admitted into familiar intercourse with my God? One and the same spirit revolveth these things in each of us or of those before us, who have been pricked to repentance, 'what worthy offering can I make to the Lord?' This and the like we revolve, as the Apostle saith; "We know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" Romans 8:20. "Should I offer myself wholly as a burnt-offering to Him?' If, understanding spiritually all the Levitical sacrifices, I should present them in myself, and offer my first-born, that is, what is chief in me, my soul, I should find nothing worthy of His greatness. Neither in ourselves, nor in ought earthtly, can we find anything worthy to be offered to reconcile us with God. For the sin of the soul, blood alone is worthy to be offered; not the blood of calves, or rams, or goats, but our own; yet our own too is not offered, but given back, being due already Psalm 116:8. The Blood of Christ alone sufficeth to do away all sin." Dionysius: "The whole is said, in order to instruct us, that, without the shedding of the Blood of Christ and its Virtue and Merits, we cannot please God, though we offered ourselves and all that we have, within and without; and also, that so great are the benefits bestowed upon us by the love of Christ, that we can repay nothing of them."
But then it is clear that there is no teaching in this passage in Micah which there is not in the law . The developments in the prophets relate to the Person and character of the Redeemer. The law too contained both elements:
(1) the ritual of sacrifice, impressing on the Jew the need of an Atoner;
(2) the moral law, and the graces inculcated in it, obedience, love of God and man, justice, mercy, humility, and the rest.
There was no hint in the law, that half was acceptable to God instead of the whole; that sacrifice of animals would supersede self-sacrifice or obedience. There was nothing on which the Pharisee could base his heresy. What Micah said, Moses had said. The corrupt of the people offered a half-service, what cost them least, as faith without love always does. Micah, in this, reveals to them nothing new; but tells them that this half-service is contrary to the first principles of their law. "He bath shewed thee, O man, what is good." Sacrifice, without love of God and man, was not even so much as the body without the soul. It was an abortion, a monster. For one end of sacrifice was to inculcate the insufficiency of all our good, apart from the Blood of Christ; that, do what we would, "all came short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23. But to substitute sacrifice, which was a confession that at best we were miserable sinners, unable, of ourselves, to please God, for any efforts to please Him or to avoid displeasing Him, would be a direct contradiction of the law, antinomianism under the dispensation of the law itself.
Micah changes the words of Moses, in order to adapt them to the crying sins of Israel at that time. He then upbraids them in detail, and that, with those sins which were patent, which, when brought home to them, they could not deny, the sins against their neighbor.
on Micah 6 :8
6:8 He - God hath already told you in his word, with what you ought to come before him. To do justly - To render to every one their due, superiors, equals, inferiors, to be equal to all, and oppress none, in body, goods or name; in all your dealings with men carry a chancery in your own beasts, and do according to equity. To love mercy - To be kind, merciful and compassionate to all, not using severity towards any. Walk humbly with thy God - Keep up a constant fellowship with God, by humble, holy faith.