What God Requires

Were one to search the pages of the Old Testament, he would find no more definite and appealing statements of the demands of true worship than appears in the words of the prophet Micah. Prefacing his incomparable utterance with the declaration, "He [God] hath shewed thee, O man, what is good," he follows with this cogent interrogatory: "And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" How concisely did this ancient prophet, after intently searching the heart of Israel, set before them the very essence of worship! Micah was the spokesman for the peasantry, the poor and down-trodden. And his arraignment of Israel for its shortcomings, especially for idolatry, for oppression of the lowly, and for worship of false gods, was terrific. But he foresaw the coming of the Christ, who should establish righteousness and true worship; and the spirit of the Saviour's message he embodied in his compelling query.

So significant are these words of Micah that they may be profitably examined for their great lesson. The question in form is rhetorical, and the answer is implied. To be just, to be merciful, and to walk humbly with God fulfill the divine requirements. "To do justly" implies the dealing with all with justice, without favoritism, without prejudice, but with equity in all things; this alone fulfills divine requirement. How nearly does this sentiment conform to the first sentence of "A Rule for Motives and Acts" (Church Manual, p. 40): "Neither animosity nor mere personal attachment should impel the motives or acts of the members of The Mother Church"! Mrs. Eddy thus set forth a criterion for personal conduct on the part of members of The Mother Church, which parallels in one particular at least the views of the prophet as to the requirement of true worship.

"To love mercy," not alone to be merciful, but to love to exercise mercy, was the prophet's implication. Christ Jesus incorporated a like sentiment in a precious beatitude: "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." Surely, every mortal, knowing as he must his own failings, desires mercy and forgiveness. While one may be conscious of wrongdoing, yet he desires to be forgiven, and, if honest in his thought, to be reformed. To live in a sinful state is not the dominant desire of mankind. To be merciful, to practice forgiveness, knowing that the real man never knows or does aught but good, promotes mercy; even induces the love of it. How redolent of the spirit of the Christ was this stipulation of the shepherd prophet!

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Trials—Their Value
May 11, 1929

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