What Must I Do To Please God?

Chaplain Jim Corbett
Walker Baptist Medical Center

All people ask that question in some form.  What must I do to please God?  Micah spoke to this in chapter 6; the prophet speaking for God asks the people “What have I done to you?  In what have I wearied you?’ (Micah 6:3 RSV) then he reminds them of God’s redemption, the exodus, God’s providence for his people.  The question is set up:

"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good;and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:6-8 RSV)

The answer reminds me of Psalm 51:17 which tells us that the sacrifices which please God are a broken and contrite heart.  This text first does away with the conceit that God needs what we have.  To the offer of sacrifices to rival those of Solomon, God gives a resounding no!

To the question ‘With what shall I come before the Lord?’  The answer is similar to that found in Christina Rossetti’s poem “A Christmas Carol” “what can I give him, give him my heart.”  How can we please the God who has held us in unlimited steadfast love and grace.  The answer found in Micah is a simple one.  God wants us to live lives which reflect his justice and kindness to others.

The final part “to walk humbly with your God” gives insight about how it can be possible to “do justice” and to “love kindness”.  If we can lay aside our pride and pretense the original language of the Old Testament implies we must be continuously prepared to go wherever God leads us.

What must I do to please God?  The answer is deceptively simple: "To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

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