With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
During Advent, this time of preparation for the coming of our Lord, we want to honor God in all that we do and say. We want to offer gifts to the Christ child, as did the magi when they visited the manger. The magi offered symbolic gifts -- gold, the gift for a king, frankincense, the scent used in temple sacrifices which ascended to heaven, and myrrh, used to embalm bodies (expressive of Christ’s crucifixion). But what are the gifts that we should offer Christ?
The prophet Micah give us a hint when he asks, “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you what is good . . . To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:6-8).
The gift Christ wants most is . . . us. He wants our worship, which is more than just attending a service on Sunday. Authentic worship means “doing justice,” actively seeking what is right and fair for all concerned. It means “loving mercy,” practicing a spirit of grace, patience and kindness. Authentic worship means “walking humbly with our God,” seeking intimacy with Jesus and walking with Him in the direction He shows. In the coming days, our Advent challenge is to worship – but to worship not only with our lips, but with our lives.
Take some time to pray today. Pray that God would draw near to you as you seek to worship fully this Advent season. Pray for a constant awareness of God's presence and God's love as you go through your day. And pray that God would give you one little idea for how you and your family might give Jesus wonderful gifts by doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.