Summary: True worships relates, it is a relationship, not rituals. True worship obeys. To obey is better than sacrifices. True worship impacts. It changes your life and influences others.
God has chosen to bless His people Israel and through them, the world.
• They were set apart to worship God and be His witnesses to the nations.
• But sadly, the people have gone astray.
God was pleading His case, calling the mountains and hills to be His witnesses.
• 6:3 “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.”
• Have I stressed you out? Have I burdened you so much that I drove you away?
6:4-5 says, look at what I’ve done. I saved you from slavery in Egypt. I gave you leaders to guide you out. When King Balak asked prophet Balaam to curse you, I stopped him. I’ve helped you overcome all obstacles on your journey out.
• I have been faithful to you. I did not let you down. I have kept the promise I made to Abraham, that his descendants will be blessed.
• You are if you would only stop and think, try to recall and remember.
God has been the faithful one. He has kept His promises. It’s sad that we need prompters to remind us of that.
• We live busy and cluttered lives. We lose sense of His presence and His concerns.
• We need to be deliberate in making time for God, to think about His Word, His workings in our lives, and His concerns.
• How do you do that? One way is to join a small group. Share what God is doing.
This recounting reveals God’s faithfulness, but sadly, against the backdrop of Israel’s unfaithfulness.
• “But what happened to you?” You can almost hear God asking. “I kept my part of the deal, but what about you?”
• Have you been faithful to your faithful God? Have you kept your promise to Him?
TRUE WORSHIP RELATES
True worship is an encounter with God. It relates. It is a communion.
Israel has left Him. What they’ve got now is religion, not a relationship. They’ve the look of it, but no substance.
• You have the look of a Christian, but your heart is not with Him. This is scary. If it can happened to Israel and the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, it can happen to us.
• Where is your heart today? Where is God in your life?
Micah 6:6-7 paints a sad picture: “With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? [THE BEST] 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? [used in cereal offering, A LOT]
• I come with the best sacrifices, in terms of quality and quantity…
• Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” [even so my firstborn, copying the pagan worship of the Canaanites]
This was really sad. The Lord puts it this way to prophet Isaiah (contemporary of Micah) - Isaiah 29:13 “The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
• They have all the outward forms, but their hearts were far from God. They were living in sin and living religiously.
• Prov 21:2-3 “All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart. 3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”
So what does God really wants? What does He expects from the people?
God is looking for RIGHT LIVING, not the rituals; the RIGHT HEART, not the forms.
• 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
• This line was very similar to what Jesus said, to the Pharisees in Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
• They were not without God’s Word. They were not ignorant of God’s ways. They knew it but they failed to keep it.
• Sound familiar? It’s all too familiar, right? We all struggle with that.
TRUE WORSHIP OBEYS
God says, the best worship you can give Me is not the offering of the best calves or the most, thousands of ram, but to do what I have shown you.
• The best worship we can give to God is to live in obedience to His Word.