Micah 6:6-8, How To Figure Out What God Wants

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Jerry Simmons shared this Topical Bible study from Micah on Thursday, December 15, 2022 using the New King James Version (NKJV).

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As we look at Micah in Chapter 6 this evening, it is a little bit of a different message or type of message that God has for us this evening. Not quite the usual digging in verse by verse, not really digging in in in the same pattern or same way, but a little bit of a more kind of brainstorming session. A little bit of a let's think through some things together in light of what this says. And so I've titled the message here in mid Chapter 6. How to figure out what God wants? And this evening I want to kind of just help you and and think through with you not necessarily define the one true doctrine for all decisions and all you know ways of interacting with the Lord and hearing from the Lord. But but to. Just glean a little bit from what Micah is saying here. What the Lord is speaking through Micah. And to help us to think through some of the decisions that we have before us and some of the courses of action that are available to us because many times as believers. We have before us opportunities and and there's some evaluation that has to happen. Do I go this route or do I go that route? Or maybe there's four or five different options? And how do I choose between them? We understand of course that God has. A perfect plan and that there is such a thing as the will of God and with that though, I would suggest that there are many times where God's will for our lives is not necessarily precise in every detail. That that God will sometimes tell us something very specific and there are certain things that he has said clearly revealed in his word. And those are precise to, you know, very to to follow. Very strictly, you know the things that God has clearly revealed. Sometimes God speaks to our hearts clearly about a situation you need to. To move to this place. You need to do that job you need. To you know, reach out to that person that that there is some very clear and precise direction that God gives us. But at the same time I, I would say that we need to recognize that sometimes when we are considering the will of God for our lives, what God does is give us. Bumpers like they have at the bowling lanes that that just to kind of set some boundaries and he would say here's some characteristics that you need to grasp, hold of and walk in. Here's some things that you need to keep in mind, and anything between these two boundaries is fair. Team that God may not have to tell you precisely whether you should go to in and out or jack-in-the-box, right? But but the fact that you can go to one of them, you know you're free to choose and and there's a freedom of expression that is beautiful that God designs for us and working out. His will in our lives, where he sets boundaries, sets, criteria and then gives us the opportunity and the the freedom to creatively express our relationship with the. Forward in a variety of ways so that there's not always one right answer for every question that we have, or every decision that we make. And here in Micah in Chapter 6 what what? Really, kind of. Just struck me and began to cause my. Mind to consider. Is is what the the Lord says here in verse 8. And of course it's a familiar verse. A famous verse. It's one that we know, but the Lord just began to cause me to think about it a little bit differently. And so I just want to walk through that. With you it's not based on. One Hebrew grammatical structure. I'm not digging into. Well, if you know the root Hebrew word, it's it's just some some concepts and some visuals that the Lord began to develop. In my mind that I want to share with you and and invite you to perhaps consider some of these things together, and so the basic concepts. That we need to work out as we get into this is the idea of a Venn diagram. I don't know if you're familiar with Venn diagrams. Venn diagrams are called Venn diagrams because there was a guy I think it was James Venn back in the late 1800s who began to use these to demonstrate concepts to show out logic and and various things, and so this is. That is just in my mind it's on my heart in relation to Micah at Chapter 6, verse 8. Again, it's a little bit different. I apologize if you know you're not expecting this or you're offended by it. Roman can show you the door if you're offended, that's fine, but but let's just walk through this a little bit and so let me walk you through what is a a Venn? Diagram well, let's start out with. People who love Jesus now conceptually you could understand and imagine there are people who love Jesus and so thinking about them, we're gonna put them all in this green circle that the people who love Jesus are represented by this green circle and you look at that. And everybody in the world that loves Jesus fits in there. And OK, that is how we are demonstrating we're saying, OK, here are the people who love Jesus. But adding to this, there's a purple circle, and that represents all the. People that love Jerry. Even though they're the same size circle on the screen, you know you understand the numbers on that are quite a bit smaller. There's more people who love Jesus than who love Jerry, and rightly so, but but it's just a way to reflect and to show. Here's a group of people who love Jesus. And here's a group of people who love Jerry. Now what a Venn diagram is, is it takes these two buckets of ideas or concepts or things and says OK. So now where do they overlap and where are they combined? And it's called the intersection. So so when you overlay these circles on each other it demonstrates something. And so you can see here are a group of people who love Jesus. And here are a group of people that love Jerry. Now there is some overlap in those groups in that there are some people who love both Jesus and Jerry, and so that middle section that's impacted by both colors. Reflects that idea that there is this group of people who love Jesus. And simultaneously this same group of people loves Jerry. Now I think you could understand not everybody who loves Jesus loves Jerry and not everybody who loves Jerry loves Jesus. And so there is these three distinct groups. Now in these two that there are some who just love one, or just love the other. But there are the few and where that overlaps. That's reflected here in this Venn diagram that shows here's a group of people who love both Jesus and Jerry. But Venn diagrams don't have to be just these two buckets. We can complicate it a. Little bit further. And so I've added a blue circle for those who love Star Wars. And so now you can begin to really kind of understand some complex information about the different types of people that there are some people who love Jesus. There are some people who love Jerry. There are some people who love Star Wars and there's some strange combination where these overlap. Let me just kind of walk through it with you. There are some people who love Jesus and Jerry we. Just talked about that. That that group is still there. They love Jesus. They love Jerry. What that doesn't mean is. They love star. Wars, not necessarily fans of that world that fiction, but but they do love. Jesus and they love Jerry. Well then you have those who love Jerry. And love Star Wars, but they don't love Jesus. And that's a small group of people in this world, probably. But there are those people who love Jerry and love Star Wars, but they don't love Jesus, and so they're reflected. They're in that and then you have a group of people who love Jesus and love Star Wars, but they don't love Jerry. So they're reflected in a different place here in the diagram. It's probably just because they haven't met Jerry. If they love Jesus and love Star Wars. But but there are this group of. People who love both simultaneously but at the same time don't love Jerry. And then there is of course they're in the center. The combination of all there are people who love Jesus and Jerry and Star Wars all at the same time. And so this is the way that Venn diagrams work. It's showing kind of buckets of information buckets of different kinds of meaningful data, and then combining them in a way to say there's some distinctions between this and so. What does that have to do with studying the Bible and walking with the Lord? Well, you could think about it this way. God is holy. And God is love. And and you can understand that there is a whole lot of things that God could do in His Holiness. And there is a whole lot of things that God can do in his love. But what's unique about God is that God operates in the intersection. Exercising perfectly, His Holiness and his love. Love simultaneously and sometimes people kind of get out of line on this and and tend to think of God operating in the holy with the exclusion of love outside of love that God is just holy and that's it and there is no love and and there are on the other side many people who. Would wish that. God would only operate in love and that he would just disregard his. Holiness in his nature and character so that you know, no wrath, no judgment, no issues with sin, but just love and just everything goes and everything is good and everything works out fine in the end for everybody, no matter what path they choose. But but we understand the balance that the Scripture teaches. Is that God operates with both and so the reality of God when we overemphasize one part, we're missing some of the the doctrine and understanding of God. God is both holy and loving at the same time. All of the time. And you could continue to think about that in a variety of ways. I don't want to go too far down that path. I want to come back to Micah Chapter 6. Let me grab a water here. So in MIC at Chapter 6, verse 8. Reading that again, it says he has shown you old man. What is good and what does the Lord require of you? I I have some thank you Jessica. But to do justly to love mercy, and to walk humbly. With your God. And so there's three things here. That the Lord says this is what God has shown you to do. To do justly. To love mercy. And to walk humbly with your God. And I would suggest to you that this is. Of course, the truth, and there's a lot. Here that we could. Unpack and spend time considering in the context. There's a lot of powerful thoughts there. But just visualizing it a little bit with you tonight. There is this intersection. Of ideas that maybe could help us evaluate and consider. A path that God wants us to take and approaches that God wants us to use in handling different situations. Where we evaluate in any given situation, there are lots of things that might be considered right things to do. Not necessarily one single option as far as a right thing to do. But perhaps there is. Many things that would be OK that. Would be all right? And and in that we have the option to choose now. Doing something wrong injustice you know that would be outside of this diagram and not available to us, right? So sin is off the off the list of options here, but. But the things? That are available to do right? Well, it might. Be a variety of things and a multitude of things depending on the situation that we face. But we also need to understand that there are sometimes ways that we can be right. But the way that we handle our rightness. Actually turns out to be wrong because we're approaching what is right. In a way that is not holding on to a. Love of mercy. And so you know, we talk about. Sometimes we need to speak the truth in love. And so there's a way to. Speak the truth that is not in love. And so, although the truth that is spoken is right, the approach is wrong because it's not that intersection between truth and love. And so we can look at these things and understand that there is an interaction between these things and and the will of God for our lives might not be limited to one single thing in certain situations in our life, but the will of God for our lives will always fall in this intersection. Of the things that are right, doing justly. The things that are expressions of mercy and kindness and the things that contribute to and are the expression of our humble walk with the Lord and. And when you combine all of those things, you can apply that to any situation and any decision to understand. Does it fall in this? And as you're evaluating things, you might say. Well, you know. I'm not really walking humbly. If I go down this path. It might be right and there might be some evidence of mercy in that path, and in that decision, but but it really messes with my pride and it really messes in my relationship with the Lord. And so, although it could be considered right in certain light, I understand also there's more to just being right that God wants for me. He also wants. That real relationship with me and for me to walk humbly with him. Or we could say, well, I'm humble and you know I'm not like arrogant against the Lord and and I have rights on my side. But if I go this route, it's not really going to be merciful. To the people around me, to the people involved it it's not going to be an expression of compassion and kindness to the people around me. And so Micah says here. Here's what the Lord has shown. You, he's shown you. How to figure out what he? Wants you to do. Sometimes that's by giving you a very specific clear. This is the person you're to marry. This is the job you're to have. This is the. Direction you're to go. You're to not engage in that behavior. You are to practice these things. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, right? You don't need a Venn diagram to figure that one out. Like no, that's God's command. At the same time, there's a lot of things that God says before. You and. Says hey, here's the boundaries. Here's the parameters. Figure out how to live in. All that you do. In a way that fits into. This intersection of those things that are right. The expression of mercy and preferring mercy. While at the same time walking humbly with. You're God, and so as I'm thinking about these, I was thinking through, well, like how do we put that to practice though, like what? What does that really look like and something the Lord brought to my mind was the parable he told in Matthew Chapter 18. I don't know if you remember Matthew 18 off the top of your. Head but Matthew. Chapter 18. The Lord tells a parable of a servant who was owed money. And in this parable of the servant who was owed money, Jesus is telling this parable in response to Peters question. How many times should I forgive my brother, right? And so in in following up with his response to Peter, he tells about a servant who owned a master. An unpayable debt. The debt was so great it was just he could work the rest of his life and not not pay it off. It was just too great. To be able to pay back. But he owed the debt, so his master. Called him in and said. Owe me the money, give it to me. And he says I can't please have mercy. The master has mercy forgives the servant. And so the servant goes out, having been forgiven, this great infinite debt. And he sees someone who owes him a. Minuscule debt $5 And he says, hey, fellow servant, you owe me $5. And so you better pay me back that $5. And if you don't pay me back, the five. Dollars I'm gonna put you in prison. Because you have wronged me in not paying back the debt that was yours and the servant that owed him the money said, I wish I could. I don't have the money, please give. Me some more time and the. Servant said no no more time your your your time's up, your opportunities have ended and he puts the. Other servant into prison because of the debt. That he owed. Well, the other servants hear about this. They see what happens. They tell the master the master calls them to account and. Essentially executes that same judgment on him because you behaved that way to your fellow servant. When I have done this great merciful deed towards you, and for giving your debt, you know you're going to suffer for the original debt that you owed, rather than having it be forgiven like we initially. Initiated well thinking through that whole scenario I I think it maybe helps us a little bit to think through it in these ways that there is the. Things that God has revealed to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. For that servant who. Was released of the debt. When he went out and he saw his fellow servant. He had some some options. Before him, I don't know if you remember those old choose your own adventure books. I don't know if they still around, but you know it was the idea you get to a certain point. And then here's your options. You get to choose where are you going to go next? Well, this servant, who has just been forgiven, a great debt, has some. Options that are right now. Of course, the servant has options that are wrong. It would be wrong for that forgiven servant. To go steal the money that he was owed because, well, hey, I was owed the money so I'm just gonna go take it and steal it. No, that would be. But but there were certain things that you could say he had the right to. And so the imprisoning of this fellow servant, who owed him a much smaller amount. In the right light you can make the case that was right, he had a legal case against this guy who owed him the money. He had the right. To imprison him for this debt. That wasn't the only option that he had, but that was one of the options that was within the right. It was not illegal and it was not immoral for him to take that action and imprison the servant that that was within his rights as a citizen in this scenario. But again, not the only option. Another option is he could patiently wait for payment. I was hoping to avoid that this year. That through, I think you know of her leading worship for me. OK, he could have patiently waited for payment that's within his rights too. He didn't have to collect right now. That wasn't that's not a requirement of law. There's not a moral law that would require that. There's also not a moral law. That would require that he forgive the debt. He could have negotiated a longer term for the payments. Or he could have imprisoned the servant or another option. He could have forgiven the debt. Now I'm sure if we worked at it, we could come up with a few more options. But but my point isn't to show every option, but just. To show that. Just thinking about what is right, there's there's a few doors available. Now in this parable the servant chose the door that imprisoned the servant. And although it was right, he had legal rights or rights as a citizen to take that action in their. Course of government and such. It was something he was punished for by the master in this parable, because although it met the right conditions, it ignored some other conditions. It ignored mercy. Which of the options that he has the right to execute? Also, are expressions of mercy and prefer mercy over judgment and wrath, and so you could think about it that way. And say, well. Patiently waiting for payment could be an expression of mercy that that that would be a merciful thing he. Was owed the debt. The guy was not paying on to. And so, being patient and allowing for a longer term, that's a merciful thing to do. And so he could. Still require the debt to be paid. But approach it in a more merciful way. Or of course, if he had chosen to forgive the debt, well, that would have been merciful as well. And so, which of these options that he has combines the the right of what he has to do? But mercy that should be shown, as well as the humility that God wants in his walk with the Lord. And of course, we could see their. The forgiving of the debt would have been the expression of humility that this servant should have shown, because he had just been forgiven the great debt. And so for him to now behave in a way that is as if he had never been forgiven or never needed to be forgiven. That was, you know, not in humility that was in pride and and that is kind of the case that the Lord lays out in this parable. Now again, I'm not trying to be precise, I'm. Not trying to. Say that was the only valid option. We could probably come up with. Some more ideas about what what would be an expression of what is right and what would be an expression of mercy and what would be expressions of humility and and there are probably various opportunities throughout this, but just breaking down the parable as Jesus described, it helps us to kind of see that there were things that well. Sometimes you could be merciful, but it's not the right thing to do, and it doesn't fit into what's right. Or you could be humble, but. Not do what is right or not. Be merciful in your expression. Of that, let me just walk through and again, I'm not. I'm not trying to cover all of the bases or teach every detail about this, but just trying to stir up in our minds. Opportunities to evaluate things that we face and things that we're operating in. And what the Lord might say to us about the intersection of doing what is right, doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly. With your God. The religious leaders tried to chop Jesus and Mark. Chapter 12. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar? Now they're trying to trap Jesus. But just taking this as a. Question is it right to pay taxes? And you could think about that. A couple of ways. You could come up with a couple possible actions from that. When action you could say is the right thing to do. Is to pay taxes. But other people could also come up with an argument that says the right thing to do is. To not pay your taxes. That was what was happening in Jesus's day, and of course, that is something that happens today as well. And so ideas and concepts may not be right clearly without question by everybody. That's why there's discussion and questions about what is right, and so some people might have ideas that paying taxes are right, and some people might have the idea that paying taxes is not right. But these are kind of the options that are presented, and of course we know how Jesus handles that. He handles that in a way that kind of sidesteps the question. But in doing so. He says, yeah, you ought to pay taxes. But you also ought to give to God. What is God's? For the person who says. Jesus, we shouldn't pay taxes because. These guys don't deserve our money. You could make an argument that there is an expression of mercy that is happening. There's a kindness and a compassion that is being given when you pay your. Taxes and some people might be offended by that, but again, I'm not trying to satisfy everybody or answer every argument. I'm just trying to say. These are things that we need to think through and in coming to conclusions about these kinds of predicaments and situations in our life. And Jesus found a path. That met what is right and is merciful, and also factors in the humble walk with God. And he says. Yeah, it's right. Pay your taxes to Caesar. Render unto God the things that are gods, because you are created in the image of God, and you belong to him. And so you walk with God. And also fulfill your. Duties as a citizen in paying your taxes. Well, how about John Chapter 8? The woman caught in adultery? The religious leaders bring her out to Jesus. They throw her there in front of everybody and say Moses says we should stone her Jesus, what do you say? And so Jesus had some options. Moses did say to stone her. So Jesus could have started casting stones. He didn't, but. It wouldn't have been. Or wrong to deal with sin in the manner prescribed in the scriptures? Casting Stones was an option. Not casting Stones was an option. In the law the the Lord provides the the justice system for the Jewish people. But we also need to understand a lot of times it was not requirement like the eye for an eye, right? It wasn't that in always. In every case the eye has to be taken for the eye. There's no room for mercy, no room for you, know, any alternatives. It must be the Lord was giving the boundaries and the parameters and the judges. Would respond what was appropriate. To the case at hand. And so not casting Stones was an option. For example, do you think about David when he was called to account by the Lord for his adultery and then murder of Uriah? The law, the letter of the law would have been to execute David there on the spot, but God reserves the right to say yes. That's the law. That's what's right. But also I'm going to show mercy. And I have the right to show mercy because, well, the penalty for sin has been fulfilled. By the death of the sun, so there is the option to show mercy while it not being wrong, it is. Not A at. The compromise of what is right, it is the intersection of what is right and merciful at the same time. And so you could look at Jesus and say, well, he has the option to cast stones. He has the option to not cast stones or maybe something else. And Jesus said yeah, I'll take that route. I'll do something else. And he begins to write on the ground. And it tells us. That the religious leaders that were there, the crowd that was there, they began to disperse and scatter from the oldest to the youngest in sequence and order. So it's not a random scattering. We can deduce that Jesus, whatever he was writing, address that oldest person and then address the next oldest person and then address the next oldest person and then address the next oldest person. What was Jesus doing? Well, he was walking humbly with the father, of course, but he was also teaching these guys some humility. And they walk away. Until the end, when it's just him and. The woman and he says where? Are your accusers? Does no one condemn you? The woman says no one. Was it? Would it have been right for Jesus to? Condemn her, of course. He had that right. But instead he chooses. To operate within his rights, I also have the right. To show mercy. And so he says, go and sin no more. And so to the woman, he expresses mercy to the religious leaders. He teaches humility, all the while staying within that intersection of what is right, loving mercy, and walking humbly. Now again, as I mentioned, we have David and Bathsheba. We can see how God operated within that that God could have executed David, but he didn't. But he also did allow David's son that was born from that relationship to die. And so it's not always that doing right, loving mercy, walking humbly with God means that there's never real consequences or never you know, payment or penalty for sin. God has a way of dealing with sin and issues and doing what's right and showing mercy at the same time. In as he's bringing judgment and correction. That even in his judgment, and in his correction. He is merciful. And he does what is right. And still loves mercy. Another interesting case, I think to think about is Ananias and Sapphira. You can think about it from within their story. In the two of them, but also God how God related to them. Within their story Anacin Sephira, they sell their property. They bring a portion of the money from the property. That they sold. But they present it at the temple or present it to the church in a declaration that we are giving all of the money that we made on this property. But really, they have made more. Act Chapter 5 tells this account. And Peter, when he confronts them, he says the money was yours to do with what you wanted. You had the right to sell the property. You had the right to own the property. When you sold the property, you had the right to keep all of the money for yourself and you had the right to give all of the money away. You had the right to keep a portion and you had the right. To give a portion, there was no requirement or mandate that they do anything up to that point. Everything that they did was well within their rights. As citizens of. Their community, as well as citizens of the Kingdom of God and members of the church. They did everything that was within their rights. But where they? Went astray. Was they didn't walk humbly, and so they took that portion. And then tried to pass it off as they were giving more than they actually were, and so now. They're faking it. They're practicing hypocrisy. Humility is an accurate view of yourself. An accurate representation of yourself. They they're misrepresenting themselves. They're walking with God in a way that is not genuine. They're putting on a show. And so they were within their rights. If if they had given a portion and said, hey, we're giving a portion of the property, we sold, everything went perfectly. That would have been within their rights. It could have been an expression of mercy as well as humility and no problem. They operated within their rights and decided. Against humility. And so the Lord. Dealt with them and brought judgment upon them. They died right on the spot. It wasn't wrong for them to sell the property. It wasn't wrong for them to keep a portion of the property profits. It was just wrong the way that they expressed that. And so they were within their rights. But they weren't walking humbly. Now, in God's interaction with them, he does what's right in dealing judgment upon them. But again, God has a variety of options, because if God always operated the way that he did with Ananias and Safira it toward us. Yes, none of us would be here tonight. We would have all dropped dead a long time ago because we also have chosen not to walk humbly at various points in our lives. And so you know, we would have been dead as well. But God has the right to deal judgment immediately on the spot and execute that. He also has the right to defer judgment. To show mercy, he has the the right to. Do whatever he wants so he can do justly, and it will always be just, but it doesn't have to mean that there's only one option for the situation. At the same time, I would say yes, they dropped dead, but. It's not that God ceased to love mercy. God still showed them mercy.

I I wouldn't infer from that that Antonio, since the. Fire are in hell. They didn't lose their salvation over this. They lost their life. But they're in heaven and that's mercy they they they disobeyed God and misrepresented God, and and tried to pass it off. But it was merciful. Still that God was operating toward them in this way. And you can also consider that God was showing mercy to the church in this strong example by teaching the church a valuable lesson about the importance of being genuine in your relationship with the Lord and in your expression of that relationship with the Lord. And so I think whether you're looking at it from Ananias and Sephira's perspective, or looking at it from God's perspective, you can look at and and see the situation that the right thing to do. The the thing that is the. The perfect mix of these. Is the right course for analyzing the fire which. They veered from. Or the right course that God actually pursued and carried out upon the church. And so those are a few biblical examples just to kind of get the wheels churning a little bit. I don't know if wheels really do churn. I think I'm mixing up two expressions, but you get the point. What about when someone owes you money? I would encourage you. Here's a Venn diagram. Try to think about. What options you have? What are within your rights doing justly? Could be a variety of things. There's a lot of things that you have a right as a citizen for. And so, yes, you could take someone to court. Yes, you could insist repayment. Yes, you could enforce a contract. You also have the right to let it go. You also have the right to negotiate a longer term or an alternate alternate payment. You you, you've got lots of rights. There's not just one right thing for a situation when someone owes you money. You also need to factor in though. OK, of all of those rights that I have. Which of those are merciful? Which of those prefer mercy and show mercy and kindness and compassion like the Lord has? Shown to me. And so there is a need for us and we can gain insight into what God would have us do in a situation by combining and overlapping and understanding. OK, there are things that are merciful. Sometimes the merciful thing to do of forgiving a debt might not be the right thing to do and might actually be harmful for a person. And I can honestly express that in my life I think I've shared that story enough times with you guys. Everybody knows I owed a great deal of money. My parents loaned me some money to help me pay it all back and then they after insisting that I pay them back for a period of time, then forgave the debt. But if they would have just paid it off and forgiven. And shown great mercy they they would have not done me right because I would have not learned any lessons or developed any discipline. You know it would have just been bad. It would have been hatred towards me if they. Would have behaved. That way, but but there was this combination of OK, here's here's something that is good. That is right that we can do. And an expression of mercy, and so holding me to the debt was love and mercy, and the right thing to do. And then when it was appropriate for giving the debt that was also rights and the. Appropriate expression of mercy. So when someone owes you money, that might be an option. It might be the right thing to do to show them mercy and just. Forgive the debt. Or it might be the the the right thing to do what God may have for you is to hold them. To the debt. And teach them. How to pay back debts? How to budget? How to develop some discipline? Now you can't do that while living high and mighty. There also needs to be the walk humbly. With God component of this. But but they're in the mix as you evaluate these things in the intersection thereof, humbly walking with God and amongst your legal rights and moral rights and and things that are available to you there as well as the expression of mercy you. Bring those things together. And it's not necessarily always going to be one solution that fits in that intersection. There might be half a dozen in there, but here's the great thing. Unless the Lord clearly tells you this is the one I want you to do, he's giving you the bumpers on the the bowling lane and says. Take your pick. What is right as well as an expression of mercy and maintains your humble walk with God. Those are the boundaries, and within that you're free to operate and creatively express the character of God. The love of God, the nature of God. According to however you choose, you get the freedom to choose. How to relate to someone who owes you money according to these principles that God? In a similar way you could. Think about a fellow believer who sins against you. There's a parallel in there, right debts to debts, financial debts. Sin debts, though the word uses that terminology many times. Someone sins against you. You have some rights. Matthew 18 gives us. Here's the right course. Here's, you know what we need. To do, here's how to respond to that. At the same time. Matthew 18 is the standard the guideline. But also doesn't have to be followed in a legalistic way in the sense that we don't have to confront somebody about every sin that they do against us. You take that you know too far, and now I'm Matthew 18, and everybody every time we talk and we're always having these Matthew 18 conversations because that boy you send against me a lot, right? Like that's going to get old. Pretty fast. And so yes, I have the right to Matthew 18 you and take you. Up before witnesses and then before the church and I have the right perhaps to do that. But also I love mercy, and so I'm not gonna call you to account for everything. At the same time, we could take that. Too far and say. I'm just going to forgive everything you do and now that's no longer loving to you. Because also you being involved in sin. It's destructive to you. You're hurting yourself and so now there is an unmerciful act of forgiveness. When we allow something to continue on when it needs to be dealt with for the good. Of the person who. Is doing this and and engaging in the sin. So you're like, well, that doesn't really help me because it could be either. Well, yes, that's the point that there is that option. And as you evaluate these things, these are not. Here's the answer. These are things. OK? I need to evaluate this. How do I evaluate this? What's the right thing to do? And you can seek the Lord about. Lord, this person has sinned against me. I know I have these rights. But of these rights, which of these are the right expression of mercy for this time and and also which of these helped me to continue to walk humbly? With you, the apostle Paul in Galatians Chapter 6 says, hey, when someone's caught up in the sin, you who. Are spiritual should help them? But but also watch out for yourself. Let's you be caught in this near too. You gotta walk humbly when you're dealing with someone who is sinning against you. And there needs to be that that nurturing of your relationship with God and your humility before God in that. The religious leaders were very good about focusing on what was right and that was the legalism of the day. But they neglected mercy and humility. And sometimes we do that as believers and we relate to one another very strict about what's right. But we neglect mercy and humility, and it's to our detriment. It's to the detriment of everybody involved. It takes us out of. What God wants for us. He, whatever he wants. There there might be three or four options. But they're going to fall in that intersection. Of the things that are right as well as the things that are merciful as. Well, as the things. That enable and nurture your humble walk with. The Lord. I would suggest you can also apply this to. A job opportunity. Again, sometimes God may tell you, and I've experienced that the Lord told me to take the role that I have now and I. Resisted it, I didn't want it. I said, Are you sure, Lord, you know. But the Lord made sure I knew and I understood that job opportunity is there. I want you to take. It so I didn't have a lot of Venn diagrams to work through in that. But there'll be other situations and other opportunities where the Lord may not give that kind of clarity. And so here's three jobs that I have opportunities to engage in. Which one do I? Take and they all might be in that intersection and. Fit within the will of God. And maybe and you should seek the Lord for that clarity. Yes, absolutely give God opportunity, but but that doesn't mean that you try to force God to tell you something that he doesn't want to tell you. He might want to say. I've given you. 3 great options. They're they all fit within my plans for you, so creatively express. Your love for me and your walk with me. Within these boundaries. Now there of course are job opportunities that are not right for you and that fall outside of the the boundaries of what God would say. There are some job opportunities that would hinder your humble. Walk with God. Maybe in the type of work that it is that maybe stirs up some pride that you know that you have. And you deal. With or or maybe it would take you away from your opportunity. To fellowship and worship and walk with God and the way that you know that God's called you to so. So there's job opportunities that might be outside of the will of God simply because they keep you away from the relationship with God that he desires you to have with him. But there is going to be. Within that mix, something that is right. That is. Fostering and enabling and equipping you to walk humbly with God. As well as an expression of mercy loving mercy, preferring mercy in your life, that these are things that you can use to evaluate and work through those choices and decisions. That you have. You can think about a large purchase. I want to buy this car. And you know, you might have the right. You have worked hard, you've earned money. Or perhaps you are planning to work hard and so you promised to pay the money to the car dealership and say, I I I want this vehicle, I want this large purchase and and. There could be a strong case made you have. The right to do that, but. But you also might need to factor. In if if. I make this purchase and commit myself to this amount of money to this thing. Does that impact my loving of mercy? And I'm am I going to be able. To be generous. To those who are in need. The way that I know God has put on my heart the way that I know God wants me to be, that that he's set before me. These other opportunities to be kind and compassionate to people around me, and if I engage in this and commit to this purchase, it's going to compete. With that love of mercy that God has called me to, and expressing that mercy financially in that way. Or maybe not. But but it's a tool to help evaluate. OK, I have the right. I'm able to maintain the other financial expressions of mercy that God has put upon my heart. But you know? If I get this vehicle, I make this large purchase. I know it's going to go to my head. I'm not going to be able to walk humbly with God because I'm going to be so caught up in pride over how much I've achieved and I finally got my dream car. Or maybe not. Some people don't have that struggle. Some people don't have that battle, so maybe you can walk humbly and have the most you know expensive vehicle in the parking lot and it's the right thing to do and you can continue to express mercy. And so now boom, you've got that intersection and you're great, but. If it falls out of that and you can't walk humbly or you can't show mercy, or it's not the right thing so you know you can't just steal the car, right? Like so it, it's not right, or it's not merciful, or it's. Preventing you from walking humbly with God now now you understand. It might be 2 out of the three, but. That doesn't cut it. That's not a good enough indication that this is what God wants for you. No, it's the intersection of all these three. When these intersect, now again there might be several options. I could buy this one. Or that one or that one. Maybe there's five or six options, but. If they all fit and meet those qualities. Unless God overrides and says clearly no, I want you to get the blue one now. OK, well now you got to get the blue one because God's made it clear and so anything else is wrong. And so it changes the whole equation, right? But but when God leaves it open, you've given him opportunity. But now you have the freedom of. Expression to say. So let let me choose between these five things. And so yes, it's a large purchase, but the. Lord gave me the opportunity. To do that, and it's not wrong. I had the right it it. Is not preventing me from being merciful. It's not preventing me from walking humbly with God. How about reacting to someone who cuts in line? Do what's right. At the same time, hold on to loving mercy and walking humbly. With your God. I think we could go on and on. And on with the examples, but hopefully you get the point. Here the Lord through Micah says he's shown you. He's shown you what is good. He's shown you what the Lord requires of you and and essentially, if you kind of boil. It down its reflects the nature and character of God. In your life and in your behavior. And to help you kind of evaluate that a little bit, he says, let me. Remind you of some. Of the things about God, God is holy. He's just. That means you need to do what's right. You need to be holy and just in your behavior and your decisions, and in your actions. And God is merciful. As high as the heavens are above the Earth, his mercies are high. Mercies are new every morning. It's part of who he is, and so reflects his nature and be merciful. Now that doesn't mean again, no consequences, ever. Never, you know are applied or given out or no the the what is faithful to discipline us and to bring judgment upon people when it's. Needed and necessary at the same time he is able to do what's right in a merciful way. While humbly With God. God has always been about that relationship with humanity. That's that's what he. That's why he created us from the beginning. That's what everything has been about. The coming of Jesus Christ. It's been about that humble walk with God. Not that God needs to be humble in the sense of. He needs to let go of his pride, but you remember the Lord did humble himself. Took on the. Form of a man. Became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. There is an intersection of holiness. Loving kindness and mercy and humility that is Jesus. And he has the perfect expression of Micah 68. He humbled himself, not considering equality with God, something to be grasped. And love and mercy. To execute His Holiness he became man, to die upon the cross for us. And so God is holy, and God is love. There are some things that God could do in His Holiness, but he won't do because it's outside of his love. There are some things that God could do in his love, but he won't do because it's outside of His Holiness God operates. In the intersection. So that he is both holy and loving at the same time. All the time, and in that he sets the example for us the pattern for us to help us figure out how do we figure out what God wants. Well, we need to learn to operate like him. Doing what's right. At the same time, prioritizing and preferring mercy. Mercy is expressed in a variety of ways. It's not just one thing, but it's still a priority. It's still an expression that we need to hold on to. And walk humbly with God. Sometimes God's will in our life is very precise. But sometimes God gives you bumpers in the bullying lane. And he says, you're free to roam within these boundaries, what's right? A love for mercy and a humble walk with God and that gives you the borders and the parameters. And when God's not giving you a specific clear direction. You get to choose all of the options that remain within there and creatively express your love for God and your service unto the Lord. In those choices that you make. Lord me. Pray for our hearts, Lord. This is helpful and causing us to think about these things at the same time we recognize our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, and we can justify anything that we want to when we want to. And so Lord, protect. Us Lord from that help us. To be real and honest and genuine with you. As we evaluate choices, decisions, attitudes. Opportunities that lay before us. I pray God. That you would make clear these borders and boundaries. That we'd be able to recognize Lord when we're crossing over. Beyond the scope of what you have allowed or provided for us. And help us Lord to find that sweet spot. That we could. Represent you well? Doing what's right, loving mercy, and walking humbly with you. But may we? Express our creativity. In a way that honors you. And lifts up your name. And magnifies who you are to the world around us. We pray this in Jesus name.