Summary: Obedience to God is a hard pill to swallow, but God has a perscription that will make us both whole and holy. Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.
Greg and I have had quite the week. It all started last week. Max was playing with
another dog on the ice and snow and took a terrible tumble. By the end of the day he was
hurting so we started giving him aspirin. But things only seemed to get worse. So on
Monday we took him to the vet. It turns out he came close to rupturing a disk in his back.
So the doctor gave us several pills and instructions that we were to keep Max still for 2-3
weeks. Have you ever tried to get pills down a dogs throat? It is not a pretty sight, we
have to fight 3 times a day to give them to him. We do it because we care for Max’s
welfare, but for him it’s a hard pill to swallow. But you know, there is another problem to
this situation, the pills work well, too well. Max is still injured, but now he is unaware of
the pain, He doesn’t realize the damage he can do to himself. Now we have to fight to
keep Max still. We have to corral him so he doesn’t harm himself more. We won’t let
him play, or chase things, or even walk more than a few 100 yards. We do it because we
care for Max’s welfare, but for him it’s another hard pill to swallow.
That’s the way life is, sometimes isn’t it. We can be in a difficult situation, and we aren’t
even aware of it. We will blithely go our way thinking everything is fine, until someone or
something pulls us up short. In the life of Israel God often had to wrestle with his people
to keep them from hurting themselves. God was not being mean, God did it because he
cared, but for Israel it was a hard pill to swallow. Todays reading in Micah opens with
God saying “I have a contention with my people.” God is wrestling with Israel over their
action and attitudes. They think everything is just fine. They are observing the religious
regulations of the law, even if they aren’t keeping up with all the other standards for being
the nation of God. They see themselves as God’s chosen people, but in God’s eyes they
are hurting, and don’t realize the damage they are doing. So God gives them a
prescription, really the essential elements needed to be the people God desired them to be.
Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God. Three little pills, not much to
swallow, right! but boy it’s hard to get them into Israel’s life, and ours Let’s see how easy
these go down.
First God tells them they must do justice. That doesn’t seem to hard does it. If someone
does something wrong, take them to court and let the judge decide. But of course it’s not
that simple. To do justice the way God means it here is to give to each person what is
their due. It is to figure out what belongs to whom, and give it to them. That’s not so
hard when we are crying for Enron executives to give back the money the workers were
denied, but what about when we are called to do justice here in our community, or in our
church. It’s not always easy to give up our wealth to give others a fair wage, or to give
up our investments to support the church’s desired mission. It’s not always easy to let go
of power so others can lead, or let go of our authority so that others can make decisions