The Lord’s ways may seem foreign to many of us. Quite honestly, he can be a hard character to understand. Some questions that we may want to ask God are: Why would you do that? Why are you the way you are? Did it have to be that way?
Those are good questions. And although some of them may seem like they are unanswerable, I can tell you that they are not.
The Lord makes his desires clear. The first thing that he desires is faith—the act of showing that we believe in him. And what better way to show faith in Jesus than to trust him to keep us alive? That’s why he asks us to tithe to him. That’s why he asks us for a percentage of our money.
And God says that tithing is good. But that isn’t all that he asks of us: “He (God) has showed you, O man, 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).
Other than tithing, the Lord has shown us many good things. He has shown us how to build relationships, how to train animals, how to build houses, how to drive cars, how to believe in him, how to enjoy life, how to give, how to show kindness, how to deal with stress, how to defeat our enemies . . .
What’s interesting is that God requires certain things from us because he has shown us good, but the irony is that out of what God requires of us comes more good things. We can’t sustain friendships without mercy. We can’t sustain civilization without acting justly. We can’t have any kind of relationship with Jesus if we do not humble ourselves in prayer.
In fact, it is hard to build any kind of good life without mercy, acting justly, and prayer, because if we are constantly taking and not giving, if we are constantly attacking and not forgetting, our lives will become a constant battle. Nobody will like us, and we will attract all kinds of evil.
Evil causes war. Good may cause fights. God may cause fights, but good never fights with good. God never fights with good. Evil, however, will pick a fight with the good, the bad, and the ugly. And as long as evil lives in the hearts of men and women, the potential for war will remain great.
The heart of Jesus does not want to fight. It never has. However, that doesn’t mean that Jesus has never battled. That doesn’t mean that God has never fought to uphold justice. That doesn’t mean that God has never fought to give his people better lives—to give his people freedom from oppression and greed. But just because God fights for what is right does not mean that he enjoys fighting. He would rather not have to fight.
And I think that is what the majority of us believe. Sure, we have to fight, but it would be nice if we didn’t have to. It would be nice if everybody would learn the good ways of the Lord so that their hearts would turn to Jesus, and, at last, they would understand what the true meaning of love and mercy is. They would learn what the true meaning of life is, because all good things come from Jesus.
What is the true meaning of life? To love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbors as we would love ourselves.
Here is a good passage that shows what the heart of Jesus wants:
Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; (but) we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. (Micah 4:2-5)