Religion isn’t always a good thing and religious people are not always good. Pascal wisely said “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” Examples would be the extermination of the Jews by Germany or the Holy Wars that were fought so savagely. Many of man’s greatest atrocities have been done in the name of religion. This is what made Micah to call Israel to repent.
God’s chosen people were hiding their evil behind a cloak of religion. They tried to appease a just God with elaborate offerings. But Micah asked: “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:7) Religious activity means nothing to God unless the heart is pure. Only after sin is forgiven and justice is done do sacrifices please God.
Man has not changed much since the days of Micah. He is still trying to buy God off with huge gifts of “good works” Yet God still calls for man to be loving, merciful, and just in his dealings. He asks for a right relationship with the Creator and reminds us that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” will be saved. Only those whose lives are righteous and good are worthy to be called His chosen ones.