Summary: Message for the first Sunday of the New Year. Can we live like we want then make it all up to god on Sunday? Will God accept our worship if our lives are full of sin?
In this, the first Sunday of the new year, this message is about putting first things first. Too often we get wrapped up in non-essentials and we put the cart before the house, we major on the minors, rather than major on the majors.
Read Micah 6:1–8
Naples, Italy, is a city on the verge of bankruptcy. There are problems with organized crime and an underfunded police department. So what are they spending money on? They have begun to DNA test dog feces so that they can prosecute residents who do not pick up after their dogs. In a city with so many problems, especially financial ones, it is strange to spend money on dog droppings. Tommaso Sodano, the vice mayor, says, “I know some people find it funny that with all the problems the city has, we would focus on dog poop.”
Many times in our quest to be disciples of the Lord Jesus, we, too, find ourselves majoring on minors. A goal for spiritual growth is to discipline ourselves to major on majors. (1)
Ancient Israel had the same problem. Micah was a prophet in Judah around 740-687 BC. He prophesied around the same time as the prophet Isaiah. Where Isaiah prophesied to the royal court in Jerusalem, Micah prophesied to the common people of Judah, to the rural, farming communities. But the many of their messages were the same.Even though the people were experiencing relative peace and prosperity, their sin before God was mounting up to grievous heights. Most of their sins were hidden behind a veil of religious activities. Oh they were a religious people to be sure, they were filling all the squares. They worshipped at the temple; they made all the required sacrifices; they knew and did all the rituals. They were very religious, but their hearts were far from God. They were sick and didn’t know it. It was like a patient telling their doctor to fix up their x-rays and test results so they appear to be healthy, and with the self-deceit, their condition only gets worst. Jesus spoke of them, quoting from Isaiah 29:
Matthew 15:7–9 (NKJV) 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
So God, through the prophet Micah, speaks to the people like in in courtroom setting, to plead their case against the charges God has brought against them:
Micah 6:1–2 (NKJV) Hear now what the LORD says: “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice. 2 Hear, O you mountains, the LORD’s complaint, And you strong foundations of the earth; For the LORD has a complaint against His people, And He will contend with Israel.
God was calling for outside witnesses to confirm that He had been just and righteous with His people and that Israel had been wrong in its attitudes and actions before God. The witnesses He appealed to were people everywhere, represented by “the mountains” and the hills. (2)
Micah 6:3–4 (NKJV) 3 “O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me. 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
God had every right to ask this question: “what have I done to you?” God is innocent. God is also righteous. He is asking the people to remember all the great things He has done for them. Through-out the Old Testament, there are many commands for the people to teach their children all the things God has done. The Word “remember” is mentioned 14 times in the book of Deuteronomy. That mighty book of Moses, part of those first five books of the Bible called the Law or the Tora, sums up the previous 3 books. Remember what God has done. Teach them to your children. Now God is asking them to remember. Remember the Exodus. Remember how God provided leaders for them and how God brought them out from slavery.
Micah 6:5 (NKJV) O My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled, And what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, From Acacia Grove to Gilgal, That you may know the righteousness of the LORD.”
Remember the events in the desert. The case with the Moab King Balak and their prophet Balaam is an interesting story. Read it in Numbers 22-24. Balaam was the guy who rode the taking donkey. King Balak told Balaam 3 time to prophesied and place a curse on Israel, and three times The Lord cause the curse to be a blessing. God is asking, “Do you not remember these things? How have I grieved you? Why have you sinned? We remember like the Israelites, We foreget, or rather we chose not to remember. Rather our question is often, not “Do I remember what God has done” but instead we ask, “What has God done for me lately?”