December 21 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“He has shown you, O mortal, 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.” ~Micah 6:8

OLD TESTAMENT

The people settled in the land of milk and honey are enjoying the sweetness of the land while milking their neighbors for more gain. “Am I still to forget, O wicked house, your ill-gotten treasures and the short ephah [about a bushel], which is accursed?” (Mic. 6:10). God’s people are cheats; they contrived a clever way of packing their shipping crates so that they shorted orders and thus made more money! God is not amused. “Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?” (Mic. 6:11). Their religion had become a mask for evil deeds.

There is a scene near the end of The Godfather where Michael Corleone stands up at the baptism of his godchild while his thugs carry out unspeakable orders. That’s what God’s people are doing—making an appearance in the temple while plotting how to gain more money. It is little wonder that God is weary of their ways. He calls on them to repent.

If there were such a thing as an ancient life verse, God’s succinct list of requirements for godly living would have been a good one: “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” (Mic. 6:8). This verse is so beautiful in its simplicity! God wants us to be fair in how we treat our fellow man, how we do business, how we pay our employees, and even in how we help victims of abuse and oppression.  We should always endeavor to do what is right to the best of our ability and to be on the side of those who have been wronged.

God also calls us to show mercy, which prevents us from taking justice too far. There are times to let things go, to forgive people who have wronged us or have failed in ways they now regret. (My rule of thumb is to show mercy when a person is truly sorry for what has been done and when showing mercy will not bring injustice.)

Finally, God calls us to walk humbly with Him. I love the word “walk” to describe our relationship with God. It is truly a constant, progressive thing, not a once-a-week event. He wants to experience a relationship with us all day and through the week so that He can share our joys (praise) and our burdens (needs). He wants us to enjoy Him now and forever for this brings Him glory and delight, and it brings us joy.

Act justly. Love mercy. Walk with God. That’s all that the Lord requires of us.

NEW TESTAMENT

Chapter 12 is an interlude within the Revelation narrative, a pause that allows John to get a wider vision of the events that are unfolding. The tribulation, and the great tribulation, is part of a much larger war—The War for the Universe. (See the commentaries on the Resources page of the Lectio Divina website for help with this and other hard-to-understand passages.)

John sees a woman, who is a sign for Israel or the church or Mary, the mother of Jesus (or all three combined according to many commentaries). He also stands witness as a long-enduring war rages. (Don’t read Revelation 12 as a sequence of events but instead as a drama.) Satan and his minions have waged war on every front. They tried to assault heaven and were cast out. They tried to defeat the Christ, the Anointed One, and failed. Now they roam the earth trying to defeat the offspring of the Anointed One. They do a lot of damage, but they will lose the battle on this front as well. Soon, they will lose the war.

Revelation 12 teaches us that our personal battles are part of a much larger battle. Satan assaults us in all kinds of ways (temptation, persecution, discouragement, deception) because he is still trying to win the war for the throne of the universe. His final stand is here, and he is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. His resolve will grow stronger toward the end, ushering in times of great tribulation.

The church must persevere in our stand against the Evil One. We must overcome temptation with the help of Christ and stay true to Him through persecution. We must not fall for his lies. We will win with the help of the One who was slain for us!


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.