. . . What does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Caesar Augustus (63 bc–ad 14), the first emperor of Rome, wanted to be known as a law-and-order ruler. Even though he built his empire on the back of slave labour, military conquest, and financial bribery, he restored a measure of legal due process and gave his citizens Iustitia, a goddess our justice system today refers to as Lady Justice. He also called for a census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for the birth of a long-awaited ruler whose greatness would reach to the ends of the earth (Micah 5:2–4).
What neither Augustus or the rest of the world could have anticipated is how a far greater King would live and die to show what real justice looks like. Centuries earlier, in the prophet Micah’s day, the people of God had once again lapsed into a culture of lies, violence, and “ill-gotten treasures” (6:10–12). God’s dearly loved nation had lost sight of Him. He longed for them to show their world what it meant to do right by each other and walk humbly with Him (v 8).
It took a Servant King to embody the kind of justice that hurting, forgotten, and helpless people long for. It took the fulfilment of Micah’s prophecy in the Lord to see right relationships established between God and people, and person-to-person. This would come not in the outward enforcement of Caesar-like law-and-order, but in the freedom of the mercy, goodness, and spirit of our servant King Jesus. Thank God for Christmas!
Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus, please help me do right by others and everyone You bring into my life. Help me to treat everyone with justice and loving mercy. Amen.