The words might be bewilderingly spoken in frustration, through a voice broken by the tears of trial or temptation, or from a puzzlement borne of a lack of adequate information. But, many times over, men have asked the question posed by Moses in Deuteronomy 10:12. “What does the Lord your God require of you?” What does He want from us anyway?
Micah knew what the answer was not. Rhetorically, he asks, “Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Mic. 6:7). The obvious answer is “no.” The first idea is finally and logistically prohibitive. The second idea, though the greatest sacrifice a human could make, is spiritually repulsive to God. So, if we cannot pay our own debt, what does God want from us?
He wants an AWE (Dt. 10:12–”Fear the Lord your God”). He rejects flippant, heartless, lackadaisical, bored, and faithless approaches, but He praises the one who falls before Him in godly fear (Heb. 12:28). God calls such “blessed” (Ps. 128:1), “life-giving” (Pr. 10:27; 14:27), “preserving” (Pr. 16:6), “growth-inducing” (Ac. 9:31), and “persuasive” (2 Cor. 5:11).
He wants an ACT (Dt. 10:12–”Walk in all His ways”). Lip-service (cf. Isa. 29:13) apart from living sacrifice (Rm. 12:1) sickens God! Notice, He does not want partial obedience. He expects us to walk in all His ways! We do not get to follow God on our own terms. He wants full obedience!
He wants an AFFECTION (Dt. 10:12–”love Him”). This is the first, greatest command (Mt. 22:37). God modeled the kind of love He wants reciprocated (1 Jn. 4:19). He is not satisfied with a cold, aloof “relationship.” Jesus is proof positive that He wants intimacy and closeness.
He wants an ATTITUDE (Dt. 10:12–”Serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul”). Man wants to receive. He wants to be “king of the mountain.” He wants happiness and fulfillment at the price of another. God wants us to give, humble self, and consider what others need (Ph. 2:4). In fact, He calls this “great” (Mt. 20:26-28).
He wants an APPLICATION (Dt. 10:13–”Keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes”). Intellectual assent, alone, is insufficient. He wants His truth to live in our lives! He wants His will to play out in our thoughts, words, and deeds (Lk. 6:46; Mt. 7:21ff).
Why does God want all of this from us? The answer is simple, profound, but not surprising, the better we understand God. Moses says all of these divine expectations are “for your good” (Dt. 10:13). God wants from us only what will help us be the very best individuals we can be. That is not possible unless we are spiritually OK. More than anything, that is what God wants for us!