In this verse we have a straight forward statement of how a believer should live. Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God. Jesus told His followers that His yoke is easy, meaning that His teaching are not complicated. When we come across verses like this we really should be excited, because now we have a clear instruction on something that pleases our Father God. As a child loves the approval of their parent, so too does a Spirit filled follower of Jesus love what God approves of. We don’t just want to love the words that we read in this verse, but we want to love that we can do what this verse says. So how do we do what this verse says? It begins by understanding what it says, so let’s explore it!
First, do justice, what does this mean? Let’s begin by defining what it means to be “just”, then we will know how to do it. If something is just, that usually means it is right. Is it right that a single mom has no financial help while raising three kids? Is it right to see a poor person taken advantage of by a well off business owner just because the business owner has the ability to do so with no repercussions? The answer is no! So as far as it concerns us, when we see things that are not right, or when we have the opportunity to do something not right, let us instead do the opposite. Or let’s get involved by doing something to make right what is wrong. Let’s care for the fatherless! Let’s not take advantage of a situation when it will hurt another person. Let us do what will make a situation right, let us do justice.
“Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
Love kindness. Other translations say “love mercy”. Again, this is a call to action. If I love something, then I am going to do it. If I love money then I will spend my time trying to get more of it. If I love waterskiing, then I will go water skiing. If I love kindness and mercy, then I will do kindness and mercy. What does this look like? We can be kind and merciful in so many ways, from our words to our actions! A soft and well controlled tongue is such a part of this. If I am harsh with my tongue by not speaking kindly, by tearing someone down, or by not using my words in a forgiving way after someone does wrongly, then I am not loving kindness. In my actions I can be kind by doing something good. As simple as helping a person carry groceries to their car, to helping someone in financial trouble with paying rent for the month. To be merciful means to forgive someone when they have done you wrong, or when a debt is owed you by a person, especially by someone who is repentant or does not have the ability to repay. Why do we do this? Because we have been forgiven so much by God! Love kindness and mercy!
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Walk humbly with your God. You don’t have all the answers! You don’t have it figured out! You’re not that big of a deal! But God does! God has all the answers! God has it all figured out! God is a big deal! Because of that, walk with Him! But in your steps along side Him, be humble! I often times here that we need to see ourselves as God sees us. I agree! God looks down on the children of man and sees poor, blind, and naked sinners headed to destruction by making decisions that we think are wise. We are wretched before Him! Dirty rags! We must recognize our need to be forgiven and receive His mercy every single day! We deserve Hell every day! BUT, despite all of this, He still loves us enough to offer us salvation through Jesus. Not because we are good to Him in any way, but because He is good in every way! In this position of humility, you can truly have a walk and relationship with God. In this position of humility, He begins speaking truth to us from His Word. So many people I know including myself have a head full of Bible knowledge that seems right and true, but when they finally begin to be humbled by God they find that they must unlearn and forget so much of what they thought was truth. God gives wisdom and truth to the humble. God also says that mercy is for the humble. Jesus showed us a lifestyle of humility! So many of us search for honor and blessings in this current time. Jesus knelt down and washed His followers feet, the same feet that fled while Jesus bore His cross! Search to be like that instead! Walk with this Man of humility! Walk with your God with humility!
“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.”
“He must increase, but I must decrease.””
Jesus said His teaching was not burdensome or complicated. We see the same heart in the Old Testament verse that we began with. A simple strait forward list that shows us how to live. Notice that the list is all about how we are to relate to things outside ourselves. How do we treat people and how do we treat God? This is God’s heart. His guidelines are always to help us by instructing us on how to treat others well! Do justice, love Kindness, and walk humbly with your God!
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.””