Summary: In the end- what the Lord requires of us is all very simple: to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God
Micah 6:1-8. WBC 15.05.04pm
I remember well a conversation I had with a previous neighbour a short while ago, now. It was one of those rare times when it had snowed. I knew him because his son was a Christian and I passed him in the street weeping snow off his car. Seeing me he said "thank you God" (kind of Eyore style) as he swept a load of snow off. "And thank you God for yesterday!"
When I asked him what happened yesterday he said "yeah- your God sent all that rain... and the electrics of my car just drink that stuff in... yeah, and thanks God for that great big puddle that when I hit it just washed out my electrics... and then your God sent all this disgusting snow"
Actually.. he was a good bloke... at least you knew where you stand with him (I wonder if he’s ‘come through’ for the Lord, now?).
"It’s funny how God gets the blame...rather than your car... or your driving", I said. "I’ve heard the problem with these cars is mainly with the NUT holding the wheel"
... sort of thing.
We went on to discuss other things from there.
It’s funny how God gets the blame for things... and of course in a way everything IS His fault.. but especially when we’re ’far from Him’ He gets the blame for things that are our own making.
Illustr: or in Phillip Pullmans’ case (subtle knife) – God gets the blame for what others have done. He’s a very hurt man, Pullman. God gets the blame for the dumb things the church has done. I’m surprised someone of his brain/ability isn’t able to discern the difference – but, as of yet (at my stage of reading) he can’t
God gets the blame. Or we doubt His loving hand because we can’t understand His working in our circumstances.
This is the situation here.
"My people, what have I done to you" (V3)
It’s in between 740 and 680 BC and Micah- who lives in the South near Jerusalem- brings God’s message to the 2 nations of the Jews: Israel (N) and Judah (S)
- but mainly the N Kingdom as they are the ones about to be… or being… ransacked by the Assyrians. And somewhere in this period (722BC) Samaria falls.
Israel thought they had a claim.. or a charge.. against God for the things happening to them- "I mean, why do you put these burdens on us, God?! Why do you reject the sacrifices we offer? How can you allow these Assyrians to threaten and assail us... we don’t deserve this kind of thing!"
- The situation is that Samaria .. and even Jerusalem.. are in moral decline.
- Amos, a generation earlier, tells us of the rot setting in in Samaria.. and inside information given us by Isaiah (a contemporary) and Micah tell us just how bad things are:
- The gap between rich and poor had broadened to the point where landowners were now dependent on the elite rich. Dishonesty ruled as even the judges were corrupt. The religious leaders weren’t much better.
Things LOOKED good, religiously, as the gifts made to the temple were pretty lavish
- but there was little evidence that some loved God.. or their neighbour.
- Ahab’s false religion had permeated the whole nation in just over a century
- (Ahab was the wicked king of the N who had given Elijah such a hard time.)
- As an accompanying sign of this spiritual decline the power of Assyria overshadows the book and the fate of (particularly) Israel..
They think it’s God whose let them down.
- But God protests His innocence: "What have I done to you?" "HOW have I burdened you?... TESTIFY AGAINST ME!"
In reality they had wronged God... and what we have here in chapter 6, really, is a courtroom scene.
God tells Micah (V1) to “state his case before witnesses”.. “before the mountains”
- (which have been around long enough to have seen the whole thing..)
Micah speaks to Judah and particularly Israel in V2 saying "the LORD is lodging a charge against Israel"
and in V3
GOD TELLS IT LIKE IT IS
His aim is to rebuke Israel, and to woo them back.
- He LOVES them and He fires straight at their heart.
- He calls them "MY people" twice.
- He calls them to look back and reflect on what He’s done for them in the past. To "count their blessings"- then they’ll see just how much God has been with them.
I don’t know how you feel, tonight- half way through your teaching practice… or preparing to leave college and set up in the world… or back from a great weekend away… or just having lost someone close to you… or worrying about your job situation… or considering some huge hurdle in your life