top of page

God's Christmas List

Micah 6:6-8

6 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or 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 hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Christmas is coming up! Have you done your shopping yet? Giving presents is always a problem. Some people don’t even exchange gifts anymore, but if you love someone, you want to make sure you give them something they really want. That doesn’t always happen. In the McRoy household we have the tradition that every thanksgiving, everyone makes a list of all the things they want for Christmas with sizes listed. It’s not a guarantee that you will receive those things, but it gives everyone an idea of what you are looking for. There are some who choose not to do a list, and these are the hardest to buy for.

It’s sad, really. You work so hard to find just the right gift, and then it doesn’t fit …or it isn’t the right color … or it was broken in the box … or they already had one … or the design doesn’t match what they already have … worst of all, it wasn’t what they really wanted.

That’s the worst—to give someone a gift they don’t really want. Nothing makes you feel worse. They unwrap the gift and then there is a short pause—just a microsecond—but in that moment you already know the truth. “Oh, thank you,” they say. But you can see the look in their eyes. You aren’t fooled. It’s not what they wanted.

We all have that one person, who you think “what to get the person who already has everything” Well that came to my mind this week as I thought about the question—If I were going to give Jesus a gift for his birthday, what could I give him that he would appreciate? After he is the Creator of all things

Hebrews 1:2 - Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds

and the one who holds all things together

Colossians 1:17-And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

What do you give someone who not only has everything, but who actually made everything? That’s a tough question.

Luckily, like my family, the Lord gave us His Christmas List so we know exactly what He wants! It is found in the little book of Micah. Now just a little history about Micah. Micah lived about 700 years before the birth of Christ and lived in a world much like ours.

Three phrases describe the situation of those days:

1. International Tension. Israel was caught between three warring nations—Assyria, Egypt, and the Philistines. The greater threat came from the Assyrians who had exacted tribute from Israel in exchange for peace. It led to a kind of voluntary national slavery.

2. Religious Corruption. Again and again Micah railed against priests who took bribes and then said whatever people wanted to hear. It seems like all the leaders were on the take.

3. Moral Chaos. This follows from the first two. It was every man for himself, the rich ripping off the poor, the leaders taking bribes, and everyone cheating everyone else. The merchants couldn’t be trusted and the leaders couldn’t be trusted.

If you look at those phrases, one thing is clear. Micah could have been writing about 2017, but within this book, God through Micah gave us exactly what God wants from you for Christmas this year.

I. The Wrong Answer Micah 6:6-7

What does God want from his people? Verses 6-7 gives us the wrong answer first.

A. Quality of Sacrifice - Verse 6

“With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?” The people have heard Micah’s words of warning and now they want to know, “What does God want from us?” Their first answer deals with quality of sacrifice. A yearling calf was a one-year-old calf. That was considered the prime age for sacrifice. Perhaps God will be pleased if we give him the very best that we have.

But the answer is no.

B. Quantity of Sacrifice Verse 7a

“Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil?” If it’s not quality he wants, then perhaps it’s quantity. The idea is to impress God by offering a thousand rams at a time and then creating a river of oil flowing through the streets. Surely that would make God happy. The idea is that an extravagant sacrifice would convince God of their sincerity.

But the answer is no.

C. The Ultimate Sacrifice Verse 7b

“Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” This is an immoral suggestion. Child sacrifice was forbidden by God, yet practiced by the pagan peoples around Israel. The people are suggesting that if they offer their firstborn sons, the Lord would be pleased and would forgive their sins.

But again the answer is no.

You’ve got the picture, don’t you? This is “Let’s Make a Deal” religion. “Whatever you want, Lord, we’ll do it. You name the price and we’ll meet it.” They actually thought God would trade forgiveness for sacrifice. In essence they thought God could be bought just like their leaders!

It’s so typical of us. We often do the same thing. We say, “Lord, I’ll do anything you want. You name your price. You want a missionary? I’m ready to go. You want me to be married or to stay single, I’m your girl. Lord, I’ll be a preacher or a pastor. I’ll be a deacon or an elder. I’ll pray every day and read my Bible. Whatever you want from me, that’s what I’ll do. I really mean it, Lord.”

Now there’s nothing wrong with those sentiments. They are good and noble and proper. God is pleased when we offer ourselves to him.

So what’s wrong?

Those answers only deal with the outside. God wants your heart. You can be a missionary and have a hard heart. You can be married or single and have a rebellious heart. You can be very religious and yet far away from God.

God rejected every offer made by the Israelites because they had completely missed the point. They wanted to make a deal and God wanted their hearts.

II. The Right Answer

That brings us to the right answer in verse 8. This verse has been called the heart of Old Testament religion and the greatest verse in all the Old Testament. It sums up what God really wants from you and me. This is the kind of verse you ought to commit to memory, write out on a card, and put it in your mirror so you can look at it every day. It tells us exactly what God looks for in your life.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

A. Justice (“To Act Justly”)

Often in the Old Testament this word is applied to God’s own character. God is just—he is absolutely fair and righteous in all his dealings. He gives to each person exactly what they deserve. Justice means “treating people right because you know God.” In the Bible this concept is applied in some very concrete ways: caring for the poor, remembering the widows and orphans, not plowing the corners of your field so the hungry could get food, speaking the truth, paying a fair wage, having honest scales, no cheating, no extortion, and refusing to take advantage of the less fortunate. For us at Christmastime justice certainly means doing right to the less fortunate because we know God.

B. Mercy (To Love Mercy)

This speaks of the way we treat others. It’s the word sometimes translated “his mercy endures forever.” It means loving the unlovely even when they don’t love you back. It speaks to our obligation to care for people who don’t care for us.

Here’s a simple definition of mercy: Doing unto others as God has done unto you. In less than a month 2017 will be history. Think back across the last 12 months. How has God treated you this year? Has God blessed you? Then bless others. Has God forgiven you? Then forgive others. Has God lifted you up when you were down? Then lift others up when they are down. Has God overlooked your faults? Then overlook the faults of others.

The word translated “mercy” is elsewhere translated as “lovely” or “beautiful.” Here is a quality that will make you beautiful to others. Show mercy and people will think you are beautiful!

We need mercy at Christmastime, don’t we? If God has been merciful to you this year, be merciful to those around you.

C. Humility (Walk Humbly With Your God)

The word “humbly” speaks of an attitude that is the opposite of pride. What is humility? It’s having a right view of yourself because you have a right view of God. Humility does not mean saying, “I’m a nothing, I’m a worm, I’m useless.” That’s not humility, that’s self-pity don’t confuse the two.

And what is pride? It’s having too large a view of yourself because you have too small a view of God. When your God is big, you will be small, and pride will be impossible.

This is humility. “God made me, and I belong to him. Every good thing I have in life is a gift from the Almighty. Some have more, some have less. It matters not to me. I thank God for what I have and I’m going to do the best I can with what God has given me, and I’m going to leave the outcome with him.”

If we live that way, it will save us so much trouble. We won’t have to get into a power game at work or live in the rat-race or sell our convictions to get ahead. We won’t get angry at the silly comments people make. Humility enables us to be who we are in Christ. And we don’t have to worry about what others think.

Three Simple Words

What does God want from you this year at Christmastime?

Justice … Mercy … Humility.

Rightly understood, those three words form the sum total of your Christian duty. If you have those things, God will be pleased. If you don’t, nothing else makes much difference.

That brings us back to Micah. Why didn’t God accept all their sacrifices? Why did he turn them down? Because they offered him everything except the one thing he really wanted—their hearts.

The religion God approves is the religion of the heart! Outward religion is useless unless the heart belongs to God. He wants the real you—the person on the inside. You can fake a lot of religious activity. But the heart doesn’t lie.

What does God want from me at Christmastime (and every other day as well)? Justice … Mercy … Humility. These are matters of the heart.

This is why Jesus Came. Matthew 12:18 says, “He will proclaim justice to the nations.” When Mary sang of Jesus birth she said, “His mercy extends to those who fear him” and “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (Luke 1:50, 52). This is the heart of the gospel. What God requires, he first gives to us.

He came to establish justice!

He came to show mercy!

He came to lift up the humble!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page