6:1 Hear what the LORD says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.
6:2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the LORD has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel.
6:3 “O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
6:4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
6:5 O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the LORD.”
6:6 “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?
6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, 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?”
6:8 He has told you, O mortal, 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?
God’s judgement against the nation of Israel was righteous and well deserved. The nation had forgotten all of what God had done for them. Here they are now complaining about the situation they have found themselves in due to their own sin. God chooses to remind them that He remained faithful during times of danger and rescued them during their harsh and cruel enslavement. He goes into specific details about when and how He showed His hand of mercy and Grace towards them.
The nation was so blinded by their own selfish needs that they begin to complain to God about the expectations that He has set on them. God responds by asking them to make their case and point out any reason why He should not be responding this way. God in His infinite wisdom points out to them that there is no amount of sacrifice or good that they could do to earn God’s love. What He asks of them is that they live moral lives, act in loving kindness and walk in humility with God.
If we are going to claim to be followers of God then our lives ought to match up with His commands for our lives. The nation of Israel had been shown God’s faithfulness time and again and as a result their response was to thank and worship Him with their hearts. It is easy to get caught up in our current circumstances, however once you recall all of the times God has shown His love and faithfulness in your own life, it will help fuel you to lay your burdens at His feet rather then grumble. He is faithful, loving and is always working for our good.
The prophets have a special view into the heart of God. Often God speaks through the prophets with what we would call human emotions. Here, the Lord is upset about the betrayal of Israel. Why do they continually worship other Gods? Why do they continually do wrong? In a very Job-like manner, the Lord is asking, what can I possibly do to make you guys do right?
In the end of the passage God is asking, what did I ask you to do that was so hard? What does the Lord require? God does not require as much as some would think;
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.
I would encourage Christians today to also remember that God is more concerned with your hearts than anything else. These items listed above are matters of the heart. Jesus also summed up the whole of the law into a similar rule;
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
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