“He has told you, O man, what is good. And what is Jehovah requiring of you? Only to exercise justice, to cherish loyalty, and to walk in modesty with your God!”—Micah 6:8, New World Translation.
“He has shown you, O mortal, 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.”—Micah 6:8, The Holy Bible—New International Version.
Meaning of Micah 6:8
The prophet Micah explains that it is not too difficult for humans to please Jehovah a God. (1 John 5:3) What God expects of us is summarized in this verse in three meaningful expressions. The first two primarily involve a person’s dealings with fellow humans, while the third involves his relationship with God.
“Exercise justice.” God asks his worshippers to do what is just and fair. This involves thinking and acting in harmony with God’s standards of right and wrong. (Deuteronomy 32:4) For example, those who follow God’s standards do their best to treat all people honestly and impartially, regardless of their background, nationality, or social status.—Leviticus 19:15; Isaiah 1:17; Hebrews 13:18.
“Cherish loyalty.” This expression could also be rendered “love loyal love.” (Micah 6:8, footnote) In the original Hebrew, the word for “loyalty” implies not only being faithful in a relationship but also showing kindness and mercy to another person, going beyond the rule of law. God asks those who want to please him not only to show kindness and mercy but also to cherish or love these qualities. This means that his worshippers should find pleasure in helping others, especially those in need. Joy comes from giving.—Acts 20:35.
“Walk in modesty with your God.” In the Bible, the phrase “to walk” can mean “to follow a certain course of action.” A person walks with God by following the life course that pleases Him. Noah is a good example. He “walked with the true God” because he was righteous in God’s eyes and “proved himself faultless among his contemporaries.” (Genesis 6:9) Today, we ‘walk with God’ by living according to the teachings outlined in his Word, the Bible. This requires that we modestly accept our limitations and acknowledge that we depend on God for all things.—John 17:3; Acts 17:28; Revelation 4:11.
Context of Micah 6:8
Micah was a prophet in ancient Israel during the eighth century B.C.E. At that time, the land was full of idolatry, fraud, and oppression. (Micah 1:7; 3:1-3, 9-11; 6:10-12) Most Israelites were ignoring God’s requirements, which were set out in the Law given to Moses, called the Mosaic Law. At the same time, many wrongly believed that they could earn God’s approval by merely performing religious rituals and offering sacrifices.—Proverbs 21:3; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6, 7.
Centuries after Micah’s time, Jesus restated that his Father takes pleasure in those who show love, justice, and mercy but that He takes no pleasure in those who merely engage in outward displays of devotion. (Matthew 9:13; 22:37-39; 23:23) Jesus’ words help us to understand what God expects of His worshippers today.
Watch this short video to get an overview of the book of Micah.
a The name Jehovah is an English translation of the Hebrew name for God—the four letters יהוה (YHWH), known as the Tetragrammaton. This name is rendered “LORD” in this verse by the New International Version. For more information about Jehovah and why some Bible translations do not use that name, see the article “Who Is Jehovah?”