A Humble Stride
He has told 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 6:8 ESV) Serious questions with enlightening answers – this is Epiphany! Today at International Lutheran Church, we meditate with the Prophet Micah on these serious questions and God’s enlightening answers as we learn what it means to walk with a humble stride!
Micah, the “other” 8th century prophet and a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah, sheds light on the situation of his day. Namely he is called to point out the apostasy of God’s people and their failure to live in a covenant relationship with God. Like Isaiah, Micah sees the corruption both economically as well as spiritually. Not only are the people “joining fields” and gorging themselves on personal gain over against their neighbor and fellow Israelites, but they are also “mixing” faith in the LORD and the worship of many other gods, using even sorcery and divination (fortune telling). After asking a rhetorical question from God’s perspective, “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you?” (Micah 6:3), Micah reflects on the covenant acts of God. He recalls how God rescued them from Egypt and blessed them to be a blessing. But then he asks another set of rhetorical questions, namely “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?” (Micah 6:6-7) This time it is from the vantage point of the believer – the covenant child of God. But Micah sees something amazing as he ponders the desires of God – a humble stride. This stroll down memory lane takes us way before the Exodus and Moses, Aaron and Miriam. This simple word to “walk” with God is used of Abraham, and Isaac, of Enoch and Noah. It takes us right back to the garden as God walked in the cool of the day while Adam hid in fear (Genesis 3:8).
We may not care to walk today, but at one time it was the principal mode of transportation. Walking, we can say, is synonymous with living. But it is more than just a means to travel from point A to point B. Walking and especially walking together signifies a common step and direction. I can recall the morning walks with my dad which were often more about the conversation than they were about the exercise. Walking with someone can mean a lot, especially when we “go the extra mile.” So, when God uses this as the term for describing the relationship He desires, it also says something about how He goes about making that relationship possible. God picks a humble stride in Jesus Christ and in His cross.
We have been seeing the results of Jesus’ itinerant ministry and note it again today as many come to the mountain to be taught by Him (Matthew 5-7). His humble invitation to one and to all to follow Him comes with simple instructions to do justice and to love kindness even as He came to fulfill God’s justice in the sacrifice of His own Body for the sin of our soul. Jesus’ gait to Calvary reveals the humblest step and expression of God’s love and grace for each of us. Jesus walked “the mile” that is too far for us. And with that final step as He came forth from the tomb, our stride was changed for good. In and through Baptism, God’s loving kindness and His justice is poured into our hearts changing each step of our lives, both the direction but also the stride. His humble stride is now made manifest in you and me. Our desire is changed to reflect His love, His grace, His humble stride.
Yes, as we meditate on the humble stride of our Savior Jesus, our gait is altered. We are changed and made new in the grace and mercy of God.