Micah 6:8 – No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (NLT)
Philippians 2:6-8 – Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross. (NIV)
Annie, one of our pet goats, is a fainter. Fainting goats are a particular breed which when frightened fall to the ground in a faint. Fainting goats have been used in goat herds to protect the rest of the herd from predators. When a predator attacks, the fainter becomes easy prey, allowing the others to escape. For the fainter, things don't always turn out well; for the rest of the herd, it is a godsend.
In our day and age, people are often frightened to stand up and do what is right, to have mercy on the less fortunate. Muggers often succeed when others passing by are afraid to interfere. Good Samaritans may look the other way, scared of being sued if they lend a helping hand. Gossip tears lives apart because too many of those who know the truth are afraid to stand up for it. They fear that they may become the next target. Children and the elderly suffer abuse, as friends and relatives turn a blind eye so as not to rock the boat. Christians and other religious groups are persecuted for their beliefs. The list goes on and on, growing ever greater day by day, as too many people too often are afraid to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.
To walk humbly with God means to love and obey Him. It is to put His statutes and will ahead of our own fears and inhibitions. Sometimes, it means that, like Annie, we might fall prey to the predator so that others might escape. We have no guarantee that when we do stand up for what is right and merciful that everything will turn out fine for us. Sometimes, it doesn't have a happy ending, humanly speaking, but when it is placed in the hands of God, He is always able to use it for our good and the good of others now and throughout eternity. There will be a reward. It will all be worthwhile on that final day when we see Him face to face.
In this Advent season, let us praise God for the miracle of Christ's birth. But let us also not forget what it cost our Lord to stand for the truth, to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God for our sake: that we might also consider God's call to us for the sake of others.
Prayer: Wondrous Lord and God, how weak and frail we are! Strengthen us this day, by the power of Your Spirit, to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. Bless us with encouragement and peace to stand in the gap where necessary for others. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.
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