Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly…
What does God want from us? What kind of offering is good enough for the King of all creation? Kids might at times wonder what it means to be children of the Lord, or what (if anything) we should do or give to Him. This lesson focuses on the concept of offerings and sacrifices rendered to God. The truth is that God does not desire things, but our hearts. We can give Him our love and our actions, but we also know that He loves us and provides for us no matter what.
“Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly…” These are powerful and meaningful words, but it’s important not to misinterpret them as a call to somehow earn God’s approval. God wants us to remember that nothing we bring or do can match His strength and power, nor does it need to. “Walking humbly” means recognizing that He does the work. We want to live for Him and serve Him, but we have all we need in Christ.
Bible Passage: Micah 6:1-8
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade (Children Age 6-12 Years Old)
Lesson Materials Needed: Construction paper, markers, stickers, scissors, tape/glue, string, paper plates or bags, pipe cleaners/string, offering plates, (all optional, depending which activities you choose to use).
Lesson Introduction: This lesson looks at a message from an Old Testament prophet, reminding us that God desires us to live in kindness and humility, valuing justice and mercy. We offer to the Lord not money or earthly goods, but our hearts and lives. To get started, select from one of the following openers, or select another of your own choosing!
- What is it worth? Consider offerings and monetary goods. Look at a few items and have students guess what their value might be. Does God require something of value from us?
- (Older students) Act, love, walk… discuss the concepts of justice, mercy, and humility. Discuss what each of these terms means, as they relate to the passage. Provide examples of each theme, and invite students to identify which they correspond with.
- Remembering…Have students crouch down in a group. Call on one at a time to jump and recite one thing that God has done in their lives. Recall as a group how He has loved and served us, and the many blessings He has provided.
- How do you walk? In honor of the “walk humbly” component of the passage, have a “goofy-footed relay” where students take turns walking back and forth across a playing space, but using different silly ways of walking (duck-footed, tip toes, fast feet, toes in or toes out, super slow, etc.).
Explain that this lesson discusses what God provides for us and wants for us as believers. Living as a child of God is not about things that we do, but what Christ has done. Even though God gives us everything we need and grants salvation, it’s still wonderful for us to value justice and mercy, and to walk in humility and love for our Savior.
Ask: What do you think God wants most? Is it possible that there is anything He needs?
Bible Lesson for Kids: Micah 6:1-8
Use whatever translation best suits you and your audience. This passage reflects on what God has done for His people, and reminds them that it’s not what we do or give but who we are that matters to the Lord. Older students can take turns reading. Or for any audience, consider reading out loud, pausing to discuss elements.
Explain that this passage takes place in the Old Testament with the prophet Micah, who spoke to God’s people with messages of hope and assurance of reconciliation with God. If necessary, remind students of who prophets were and why they were sent from God, or describe who Micah was. Begin with the opening verses of the passage, where Micah gets the people ready to hear God’s Word:
Hear what the Lord says:
Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.
2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord,
and you enduring foundations of the earth,
for the Lord has an indictment against his people,
and he will contend with Israel. -Micah 6:1-2
Ask: What would you do to announce something important?
Explain to students that this passage contains words from a prophet named Micah, who was sent by God to proclaim His messages to the people. Micah spoke on behalf of the Lord, reminding them of who God was and what He had done for them.
“O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I wearied you? Answer me!
4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
and redeemed you from the house of slavery,
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.
5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised,
and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.” -Micah 6:3-5
This component of the passage might be slightly more challenging for younger audiences, but can at least be paraphrased. Throughout the Old Testament (especially when the people become rebellious, forgetful, or ungrateful), God comes to remind them of all that He has done for them. Even though we do not always do the same things the Israelites did, we still have a tendency to sometimes forget all of the blessings we have. We can get caught up in wanting what we don’t have, rather than focusing on what God’s already done for us. Now, as then, it can be good to recall the great things God puts in our lives, when we find it tempting to want more.
Ask: What are some blessings God has placed in your life? How can you remember these great things, and how can you use them to be a blessing to others you know?
Explain (or remind) to the class that in times of the past, people came to God with special offerings. They might burn animals or sacrifices for God, or promise a portion of what they had to be devoted back to Him. There was a time when the Lord desired and demanded such things, and when all people were expected to provide certain sacrifices.
Now that we have Jesus, who became the ultimate sacrifice and shed His blood for our sins, we no longer need to worry about making sacrifices or burned offerings.
In the time of Micah, though, people wondered what the should bring to God, or what He might want of them.
“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
Micah goes on to answer his question by explaining what it is that God truly wants of us…it’s not a matter of material possessions or burnt sacrifices. It has to do with the attitudes of our hearts and what’s on the inside. It has to do with recognizing what God does for us, not just what we might do for God…
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? -Micah 6:1-8
Here is what God requires: to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. What does this mean? “Doing justice” refers to caring about others. We should care about treating people fairly and seeing that God’s will is done. We should value what God does. Loving kindness, in a similar way, means that we understand how important it is to be kid and to know God is gracious and merciful. Walking humbly with God is very important. It means that God is sovereign, and we realize He is responsible for every good thing we have. Being humble means knowing it’s not about us, but about the Lord. If we walk humbly, we know that ultimately we are not the ones with the most power. God does every good and gracious thing for us, and we can place our hope and confidence in His strength.
Remind students that it’s good to value justice, kindness, and mercy. But above and beyond that, we should be aware that God is the one who works in and through us. He gives us all we need, and our salvation and help come not from our power, but His.
Ask: Why are these things more important than offerings or sacrifices? How can you show God that in your life you “act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly”?
God loves us ore than anything else. He loves us because He has made us and values us. We want to do what is right in order to continue pleasing Him, but we also realize that our salvation and hope come not from what we do, but who we are as children of the King. Live daily in God’s presence and rejoice in the hope He brings!
Pray: Thank God for His many blessings, and ask for His help as we walk and live in His word and promises.