God’s Demand For Your Life


By Tim Elliott


Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you:

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God.


I love this verse from The Contemporary English Version


The Lord God has told us what is right and what He demands:

See that justice is done

Let mercy be your first concern

Humbly obey your God.


Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever,  because He delights in mercy.


Psalm 86:5 For You Lord are good, and READY TO FORGIVE, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.


God has three demands that He places on our life.
Number One – do what’s right.
Number Two – Make mercy your first concern.
Number 3 – Humbly obey God.

When you don’t do what’s right, God is abundant in mercy and ready to forgive. We’ll look at that in the life of David a little later. And when someone doesn’t do right to you, God demands that you show mercy and be ready to forgive. That is not always an easy task. But the scripture is clear that we can. We just have to make up our mind that we’re going to humbly obey God in this matter. Let’s take a look at a couple more verses.

Colossians 3:12-13 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.


Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”


Paul is instructing us in these verses to forgive. How? Just like Jesus forgave you. And He has certainly done that. No matter what you have done, if you have asked Him to forgive you, Jesus has. And that’s the same way He demands that we forgive others.


I want to take a few minutes and look at the life of Joseph. We find his story in the book of Genesis and it is one of the most remarkable stories in the whole Bible. Everyone did him wrong and yet we see that Joseph always made mercy his first concern. It’s almost as if Micah was looking at Joseph when he wrote those words.

Genesis 37:4-8

4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. 6 So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: 7 There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”

8 And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.


Notice that Joseph’s brothers hated him. They couldn’t even speak nice to him. Eventually they hated him so much that they wanted to kill him. Reuben the oldest brother convinced them to save his life. They sold him to Ishmaelite traders instead. Remember Ishmael was Isaac’s brother, so these are Joseph’s cousins.


Genesis 37:36

Now the [a]Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.


Now his cousins have done him wrong. How wrong is it to sell your own cousin into slavery in a foreign land? But Joseph soon forgave them. There is evidence of that in the fact that he worked hard for Potiphar. He worked so hard that Potiphar made him the head of his household. He was the supervisor over all the other servants or slaves. Things rocked along pretty well for a while, but because Joseph was so good-looking Potiphar’s wife decided she would go after him. “Lay with me” she would say over and over until she was frustrated that Joseph would not. The day came when Joseph and Potiphar’s wife were alone in the house and she demanded, “Lay with me.” But Joseph had a strong determination to do what God requires, to do what’s right, and he ran away leaving his outer coat. This gave Potiphar’s wife the opportunity to lie about Joseph and she accused him of rape. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Potiphar had Joseph put in prison for the false accusation. So Joseph has now gone from being a slave to being a prisoner. But we find evidence that Joseph made mercy his first concern when it came to Potiphar and his wife. They had done him so wrong. Yet Joseph keeps a good attitude and works hard for the warden. Now the warden puts him in charge of the prison.


The Pharaoh {King of Egypt} sends his butler and baker to prison. While they are there they both have a dream that troubles them. The butler goes to Joseph and Joseph interprets the dream. This is recorded in the fortieth chapter of Genesis. He also interprets the baker’s dream and the dreams come to pass just as Joseph says. Joseph asked the butler to put in a good word for him, but the butler forgets all about him when he gets back to Pharaoh’s palace. So now Joseph has to one more time find it in his soul to forgive.


First his brothers, then his cousins.. Potiphar and his wife now the chief butler. Take a look at who that is. His family … Someone in the workplace … a complete stranger. Joseph made mercy his first concern in all these incidents.


So God was able to promote Joseph. When Pharaoh had two troubling dreams the butler remembered him and told Pharaoh about him. Joseph was brought to the palace, interpreted the dreams, and promoted to Prime Minister all in one day. As a result of Joseph doing what God demands – Do what’s right, make mercy your first concern, and humbly obeying God – the whole world was saved from a severe famine and the lineage of Jesus Christ was preserved.


On the other hand, sometimes we find ourselves not doing what is right. Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.


There is a story in II Samuel 11 and 12 about David, the man that the Bible says was a man after God’s own heart. In this story David commits adultery with another man’s wife and then murders the man to cover up his sin. The woman becomes his wife. She got pregnant during the affair and the baby dies at birth. This crime was one that would get you the death penalty in David’s day. But listen to what the prophet Nathan says to David when he confronts him. “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” In other words, God made mercy His first concern when David confessed his sin. Here he had committed a crime/sin that was worthy of death, but David found mercy.


If God requires us to be merciful it is because He himself loves mercy. When we confess and forsake our sin God forgives us. And all through the New Testament we are instructed to forgive others just like God for Christ’s sake forgave us.


It may not always be the easiest thing to do, but no matter what anyone does against you, I want to encourage you to make mercy your first concern. Forgive that person the same way that God forgives you.



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