Mi 6:8 “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?”
Have you heard the term “man card?” It is a proverbial license to be a man that can be lost by doing/saying/being something that is less than “manly.” We have far too many men surrendering their man card before God-nowhere more than in their delinquent or distorted role as a father. Men are the only ones GOD INTENDED TO BE FATHERS! Therefore if we can to BE THE MEN God intended, then our contributions to our marriage, children, and extended family will be right!
In Micah 6, the prophet told the nation (“O man” indicates that it starts with the men and THEN FOR EVERYONE ELSE) exactly what God did desire from them. God did not want them to be related to Him in only a ritualistic way. God wanted them to be related on a heart level—to obey Him because they desired to, not because it was a duty impressed upon them. That relationship, which is good (beneficial), involves clear expectations from God Himself.
A man, by God’s standards, embodies three directional traits of masculinity:
1) “Do justly”-Outward Masculinity!
While many in Micah’s day were not doing justly (2:1-2, 3:1-3; 6:11), God reaffirmed His just expectations for the men of every era of influence.
Notice that God in the previous verse declares that VISIBLE EXTRAVAGANCE does not impress Him (Verse 7a-“Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?”). Micah asked in hyperbole if the Lord would want thousands of rams, or 10,000 rivers of oil. He asked those rhetorical questions to suggest to Israel that nothing—not even the most extravagant sacrifice—could atone for what she had done. Men are renowned for trying to COMPENSATE for where they need to REPENT! You cannot “buy off” God; you must deal with your wrong actions that the world may even say are just “men being men” but God calls it SIN!
In contrast, VISIBLE JUSTICE does honor God. “To do justly” necessitates dealing righteously and fairly with other people. Unfortunately, men are too often using their male advantages to be the purveyors of injustice. THAT IS WRONG no matter what other person “gives you a man card” for doing so! Do you have a healthy sense of justice THAT IS PRIMARILY APPLIED TO YOUR OWN HEART AND LIFE? And then are you willing to stand for the justice of others even at personal cost to you (Your “manly powers” are ultimately for the benefit of the weaker and defenseless!) Richard Baxter wisely asks, “Shall a wicked master of a family think to maintain his authority over others while he rebels against the authority of God?”
Summary: You will never keep your ulitmate man card with INJUSTICE; choose God-honoring justice!
2) “Love mercy”-Inward Masculinity!
While many in Micah’s day were not showing mercy (2:8-9; 3:10-11; 6:12), the Lord declares that His people were to love it, starting with the men. We guys tend to gravitate towards the being TOUGH elements of life when we also need to be TENDER!
Again, in verse 7, God clearly declares that RELATIONAL SACRIFICE does not impress God (Verse 7b-“shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”). Micah continues the hyperbole by asking if his own firstborn child (the fruit of his body) could atone for his transgression and sin. He of course knew these would not appease God’s wrath on the nation. Nor was Micah condoning the evil practice of child sacrifice, forbidden in the Law. He asked those rhetorical questions to suggest to Israel that nothing—not even the most extreme sacrifice—could atone for what she had done. You are not a godly man when you will sacrifice everything before you sacrifice self-including your family “for God!” There is no career, reputation, toy, or even ministry that can REPLACE YOUR FAMILY and HONOR GOD! Don’t sacrifice them; sacrifice time, money, attention, love for them! That’s why you’re a GOD-APPOINTED man and father!
God, then, declares that RELATIONAL MERCY does honor Him. “To love mercy” (hesed, covenant loyalty) necessitates having the inward commitment to God’s revelation that will manifest itself in a right relationship towards man and God. Ultimately our bowing down (6a) is defined not by what we GIVE but RECEIVE in relation to God’s mercy (Micah 7:18-19)! Loyalty to the most important people in your life will always require mercy because they are FLAWED and so are you!
Summary: You will never keep your ultimate man card with CALLOUSNESS; choose God-honoring mercy!
3) “Walk humbly with thy God”-Upward Masculinity!
While many in Micah’s day were not walking in humble fellowship with God (2:3), the Lord pushes back against that trend.
Take note of the fact that ELEVATED PRETENSE does not impress God (Verse 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?”). Speaking for the nation, Micah asked what he must take before the Lord in worship to regain His good favor. Micah asked if he should approach the Lord with burnt offerings. Should he go with calves ready to be sacrificed? By these questions the prophet was not downplaying the importance of the sacrificial system. The Lord had set up the Levitical system to provide, among other things, atonement for the people’s sin. Micah, as a righteous member of the covenant community, was no doubt involved in the sacrificial system. He knew, however, that the sacrifices were meant to be outward expressions of inner trust and dependence on God for His grace and mercy. Let me illustrate…do you know what I mean by a “lift kit?” You see them all the time: light trucks, sport utility vehicles, and more, coasting down the highway, sitting atop towering truck suspension lift kits and sporting a set of tires so big that a person could live in them. Kind of cool but kind of crazy right? Those with a heaven-issued “man card” don’t need the “lift kit.” God already knows who/where you are at in relation to Him no matter how “high off the ground” you try to project yourself!
Finally, God reveals that ELEVATED HUMILITY does honor Him. “To walk humbly with thy God” necessitates having a right attitude towards God and a tenacious determination to walk in continuous fellowship with Him. It less about over-the-top moments of BOWING and it is more about mundane, daily WALKING before God! That happens by being a JESUS FOLLOWER! As a pastor friend of mine recently posted, “If God was trying to point us to great men, He wouldn’t have included the negative details of their lives in the Bible. They all have sinned and fall short. Religion enshrines its saints. The Bible in its entirety points us to Jesus alone.” You control your walk. That’s the humble view of your life. Stop making excuses. That’s only pride no matter what your fleshly man card reasons may be!
Summary: You will never keep your ultimate man card with PRIDE; choose God-honoring humility!
Listen dear man, we accept absolute standards in so many areas EXCEPT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! And it is costing us dearly-no place more than in our families! Ultimately, we are called to be fathers to glorify God and to reproduce these traits in the young men who come after us! Will they, including my two sons and yours, have a heaven-issued man card because of our influence? Will you join Micah and me in assuming responsibility to secure our “man cards” from God with OUTWARD, INWARD, and UPWARD MASCULINITY?