Micah 6: 1-8
Years ago, in the small town of Catlettsburg Kentucky, there lived several town-drunks. These men where classic characters, each unique in his own way, and from time to time they found themselves arrested and eventually in front of the City Judge.
My father was the Fire Chief and in Catlettsburg, in those days, the city operated its own jail, and my father also doubled as the Police Dispatcher and City Jailer. He told me this true story:
One of those town-drunks, Sy Billips (fictitious name), was arrested and brought before Judge Vernon Dinkle.
Now when you were found guilty of public drunkenness, it usually meant a fine and some jail time. On this particular day, the Bailiff called Sy’s name and asked him to stand. Judge Dinkle said, “Mr. Billips, You are charged with Public Drunkenness. How do you plead?”
Sy, having been in this spot many times, knew full well what awaited him, so he decided to try a diversionary tactic. He said, “Your Honor, if you don’t mind, I would like to try myself”. The judge was intrigued, so with a sheepish grin on his face, he said , “OK, let’s hear it.”
Sy proceeded to call himself every kind of despicable name that came to mind. He said, “Sy you are a low down, no good pole-cat of a man, who has abandoned every responsibility you ever had. You have spent you whole life thinking of nothing but your own selfish desires. And now here you are, once again, throwing yourself on the mercy of this court.”
Sy went on, “But you will not find mercy today, because you do not deserve it.” And he looked up at the judge and said, “Your Honor, I find myself guilty as charged, and I sentence myself to a $100.00 fine and 30 days in jail. And I pray that God will help me understand the wickedness of my ways.”
Judge Dinkle was visibly impressed, he said, “Sy, I think you really mean it this time. I commend you for your forthrightness.” At which, Sy interrupted the Judge and said, “YOUR HONOR, I AM NOT FINISHED YET.”
“I SUSPEND MY SENTENCE!”
Like Sy, we sometimes find that we are so pre-occupied with ourselves that we are blinded to the fact that God requires that we walk humbly with Him, that we love justice, His not ours, and that we love kindness. That was the case when God delivered his indictment against Israel through the Prophet Micah.
Sermon ending tie in………………………………..
Israel was guilty as charged and so are we…..But we can’t ‘Suspend our own sentences” as Sy Billips did…..Only God can. And he did this in Jesus Christ. Not only that, he paid our fines and served our sentences as well.
How can we not walk with God? How can we ignore His Justice, and how can we not be Kind to those around us?
Richard Brown - First Presbyterian Church, Catlettsburg, Kentucky
Contributed by Dennis King on Jul 5, 2016
Psalm chapter 145 verse 14, “The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” For salvation do we have to memorize the Bible? No! Must we obey all 613 Commandments of the Jewish Mitzvot or the 10 Commandments? No!