Summary: God longs to be in relationship with us, not for us to lean on our rituals.
Meeting God’s Requirements
Micah and Amos
Rev. Brian Bill
I’m not sure you’re aware of this but Tim Tuley has had a lifelong ambition to play one hole at Pebble Beach, California the way the pros do. This is a challenge because this green is on a small section of land that juts out into the water. It was something Tim had tried hundreds of times without success. His ball always fell short and plopped into the ocean. Because of this he never used a new ball on this particular hole but always picked out one that had a cut or a nick on it.
Recently Tim went to Pebble Beach to try again. When he came to the hard hole, he teed up an old cut ball and said a silent prayer. Before he hit it however, a powerful voice came from above: “WAIT...REPLACE THAT OLD BALL WITH A BRAND-NEW BALL.” Tim complied but was a bit reluctant. As he stepped up to the tee once more, the voice came down again: “WAIT...STEP BACK...TAKE A PRACTICE SWING.” So he stepped back and took a practice swing. The voice boomed out again, “TAKE ANOTHER PRACTICE SWING.” Tim swung away. Silence followed. Then the voice spoke one last time: “PUT BACK THE OLD BALL.”
What we’ve been learning in our current series called, “Profiting from the Prophets” is that none of us can hit a holy hole-in-one. We all fall short and the prophets are charged with reminding us of that fact. We’re turning a corner today as we move from the Major Prophets to the Minor Prophets. That doesn’t mean that the minor guys sing in a different key or that their message isn’t as important. It simply means that their messages are much shorter than Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel.
I should also point out that this series is a survey and is not intended to be a comprehensive study. I trust that you’re fleshing out some additional truths in your small group each week. You’ve also probably noticed that we’re not preaching from all the prophets in this series. That’s because I looked back over the sermon archive and picked the prophets that have not been preached from in the last several years here at PBC.
By the way, I love hearing how so many of you are reading along with this series. I received an email from someone this week who told me that she just finished Ezekiel. Someone else told me that she just completed the Minor Prophets. Today we’ll be looking at Micah and Amos. Here’s how we’re going to proceed. We’ll camp in one primary passage from Micah 6 and augment with material from Amos.
But first, here’s a brief bio on both of these guys. Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and focused his message on the southern kingdom of Judah. Amos ministered in the same time frame but spoke primarily to the northern kingdom of Israel. We don’t know a lot about these men but we do know that Micah was a country preacher and Amos was a shepherd and they were both called into service by the Lord to deliver messages that dealt with worship, justice, graft, corruption, and oppression of the poor. It would be fair to say that they were prophets to the downtrodden. Both books speak of justice and joy, as well as retribution and restoration.
Taking God to Court
With that very brief background, please turn to Micah 6. Have you ever been really angry with the Almighty and wanted to plead your case before Him? Look at verse 1: “Stand up, plead your case before the mountains, let the hills hear what you have to say.” God is giving His people a chance to bring their grievances before Him in a courtroom setting. But they remain silent. In verse 2, God speaks in His own defense and levels some charges against them: “Hear, O mountains, the Lord’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the Lord has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel.”
Let me pause here to say that the sooner we discover that we have no case against God the better because He’s the one who has grievances against us. Check out how He defends Himself in verses 3-4: “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.” Like us, the people had short memories and so God is reminding them of how He redeemed them from bondage, gave them good leaders and brought them to the land of promise. With all that God has done for them, how could they accuse Him? How can we?