I can be a word nerd.
Sometimes it gets uber ridiculous, especially when I am studying God’s word. I have no education in Greek and Hebrew language, but when I am reading the Bible I get stuck on single words and have this crazy desire to know what the original language’s intent was when written.
Micah 6:8 brings us to one of many verses where prophets are calling out the people on how they have broken the covenant with God. They haven’t held up their end of the agreement. Several years ago I discovered something rather unique about Micah 6:8. Here’s the translation we hear most often:
“He has shown you, oh 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.” [Micah 6:8 NIV]
For believers who are passionate about justice and seeing God’s Kingdom here on earth, there is a lot to cling to in these loaded words.
Walk humbly with God.
Who can argue those instructions?
I fell in love with this verse even more when I discovered the original Hebrew intent for the word ‘mercy.’
Unfailing love, loyal love, devotion, kindness, often based on a prior relationship, especially a covenant relationship.
Take a minute to let that soak in…
We are not talking about loving the type of mercy that you have pity for another person. We are talking about a covenant relationship built on loyalty, love…kindness.
As God creates conversations around me about how to engage this world with Gospel intentionally it always comes back to pouring into the relationships around you every day. It’s not a mission trip for a week. It’s not just taking cookies to the new neighbors when they arrive in the neighborhood. It’s not about checking off the Jesus box for the week.
It IS about loyalty to those around you and sticking it out when life is completely shitty.
It IS about the covenant relationship. The loyalty and love that explodes when God creates friendships, family and community. A covenant relationship is not surface, and the sacrifice and commitment it takes for that type of relationship is hard work. It’s hard trusting someone enough to allow them beneath all of our complicated layers…but once we do, the genuine community that develops is Kingdom igniting. All bets are off and God is going to do crazy, insane things.
It IS about unfailing, unconditional love. The type of love that lives in the grit of our lives and doesn’t go running the opposite direction when it gets even dirtier. The type of love that sees redemption and transformation through sin, and doesn’t get stuck in the measurement of sin.
I live for the day that we take seriously the things God says throughout the entire Bible and the Holy Spirit in this world.
I live for the day the sacred covenant in relationships springs forth a deep genuine love for one another.
I live for the day others look at my life and can visibly see the respect, commitment, loyal love and devotion I have to the relationships God has placed in my life.
I live for the day my life reflects the character of Jesus while choosing to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God.
And for all you word nerds out there, check out these verses where ‘mercy’ is translated the same as Micah 6:8…Psalm 5:7, Hosea 6:6, Micah 7:18, Micah 7:20, and Zechariah 7:9. I really, really love the Zechariah verse.