Summary: Going to Court with God Micah 6:1-8 Intro Novelists and dramatists often use courtrooms scenes as material for their stories. Prosecutors and defenders try their cases before jurors and judge. Both call for witnesses. The audience gets caught up
Going to Court with God
Novelists and dramatists often use courtrooms scenes as material for their stories. Prosecutors and defenders try their cases before jurors and judge. Both call for witnesses. The audience gets caught up in the process. The tension builds until the verdict is passed and the sentence is given.
The prophets often used courtroom drama as well. Micah’s 8th century BC contemporary, used a courtroom scene in the first chapter of his book, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Look at the courtroom terms in our Scripture reading of Micah 6:1-8: “Contend,” “controversy,” “plead.” Micah structured his address according to a familiar covenant lawsuit pattern. God brought his peope to trial for having broken their covenant with him.
Periodically, the Lord brings his people to court for rebelling against him. Let us follow the action of God’s courtroom drama. We need to see if we are guilty before the Lord. If wo, we have time to repent and mend our ways.
I. God summoned his people to go to court (vv. 1-2)
a. God invited people to plead their cases.
i. Micah, speaking on behalf of the Lord, issued a summons to the people of Israel: “Hear ye now what he Lord saith: Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear they voice. Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord’s controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth.”
ii. Metaphorically, Micah used “mountain,” “hills,” and “strong foundations of the earth” to represent the whole world as witnesses.
b. God gave his reason for calling the defendants and witnesses.
i. “For the Lord hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.”
ii. God had a charge to bring against Israel
iii. They had promised to obey him, but they disobeyed.
iv. Whenever God’s people disobey him, he summons them to bring the problem to him in repentance.
II. God reviewed his relationship with his people (vv. 3-5)
a. God summarized the good things he had done for Israel throughout their history
i. When God’s people were enslaved in Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants” (v. 4)
ii. When God’s people needed leaders, God gave them gifted ones. “And I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (v. 4).
iii. When the security of God’s people was threatened, he rescued them.
iv. “O Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal” (v. 5)
1. God made explicitly clear his relationship with his people.
2. Their failures could not be blamed on him.
3. The fault is not with God, but rather with his rebellious people.
b. God reminded his people of their rebellion.
i. “O my people, what have I done unto thee? And wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against me” (v. 3)
ii. The historical recitations should have convinced Israel that God had done what was just.
iii. Israel had no right to rebel against the Lord.
iv. Israel’s first step in restoring their relationship with the Lord was to remember the great things God has done for them.
1. The drama of the courtroom continued:
a. Witnesses had been summoned
b. A history of God’s relationship with his people had been reviewed
c. Now God sought to help his people.
III. God sought to help his people get right with him (vv. 6-8)
a. God’s people expressed a desire to get right with him.
i. Israel did not argue the charges.
ii. They did not dispute the evidence presented in the courtroom.
iii. Instead, the accused addressed a question to the court: “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (vv. 6-7).
1. The defendant desired to restore the relationship with God.
2. Would sacrifice in the temple restore the relationship?
3. Would the Lord be pleased if Israel’s firstborn son were offered as a sacrifice?
4. The people were willing to do almost anything to restore the relationship.
b. Micah told how a person can be right with the Lord.
i. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with they God?” (v. 8)
ii. Let’s examine carefully each expression in God’s requirements.