Sermon Seed: Micah 6:8

Micah 6:8

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To do justly, and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God”

This verse describes, as clearly as any other passage in the Old Testament, the Good Life, the godly life.

It well describes Joseph the carpenter. Matthew tells us that “Joseph [Mary’s] husband was a righteous man and was not willing to put her to shame…” (1:19)

Joseph was a righteous man. But his was a certain sort of righteousness. Some “righteous” people love to show-off their righteousness by putting down others and particularly by denouncing notorious sinners and putting them to shame. Joseph certainly had a good opportunity to do this. His fiancee was pregnant and he knew that he had nothing to do with it. Even if she did tell her side of the story it’s not likely that he would have been convinced by her strange tale of angelic visitation and a virginal conception.

What was he to do? He knew that he had to break off the engagement. But he could have done so much more, so much worse. The option of public stoning, granted by the law of Moses, was not likely available to him. But the option of public shame was. He could have made it widely known that Mary was not, as the people of Nazareth believed, a “good” and “godly” teenager but rather a common slut. After all she was guilty. Wasn’t it his duty to be the righteous watchman who would call the attention of the good people of Nazareth to this cancer in their midst?

Joseph’s righteousness didn’t work that way. His righteousness was real. His righteousness was Micah 6:8 righteousness. His righteousness worked itself out in MERCY. “Joseph… was a righteous man and was not willing to put her to shame

He loved mercy. And in this he showed himself , already, to be a follower to Mary’s Child who went on to say “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”.


~ by puddleglum on November 28, 2005.

2 Responses to “Sermon Seed: Micah 6:8”

  1. This is beautiful. Thank you!

  2. I see that Scot McKnight just posted something in which he makes a similar point (

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