Summary: So, what does the Lord want from us? Nothing. He’s done everything and continues to do much for us. God isn’t like that impossible boss or teacher; he’s a loving Father who graciously provided salvation for us. That knowledge will lead us to stop mutterin
Did you ever have a teacher or a boss for whom you just couldn’t seem to do anything right? I had an art teacher like that. Now I admit, art is not something that I especially excel at but I did always try my best. In spite of my efforts, this teacher never seemed to be satisfied with any of the projects I completed. It was as if she expected all her students to be little Rembrandts and Michelangelos. Finally, out of frustration I felt like saying, “What do you want from me?!?”
I wonder if we don’t feel that way about God some times. We strive to be good people. We come to church, bring offerings, even sign up for different service opportunities. Yet week after week through the sermon and Bible readings it seems as if God always urges us to do more and to be better. Out of frustration have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m trying my best! What does the Lord want from me?” What does the Lord want from you and me? Let’s find out.
The prophet Micah, who wrote the words of our text, lived at the same time Isaiah did. Perhaps you remember from previous sermons based on Isaiah how this was a low point in Judah’s history. Misled by wicked King Ahaz, the southern kingdom of Judah was now perhaps worse off than it was in the time of the Judges when everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Ahaz himself was a religious opportunist, worshipping whatever god was honoured by the superpower of the day. He had even closed the Lord’s temple, built pagan shrines on every street corner in Jerusalem, and sacrificed his own children to the idol Molech.
Ahaz’ subjects weren’t much better. Corruption at the courts and among the priests was common. Prostitution and incest was rampant. And the rich were growing richer at the expense of the poor. Well God had had enough. Through his prophet Micah he said to the people, “Stand up, plead your case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. 2 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. My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me” (Micah 6:1-3).
With the mountains and hills as the jury God demands that his people explain their actions. This wasn’t the first time that mountains had witnessed such proceedings between God and his people. Earlier Mt. Sinai had looked on as God gave the Ten Commandments to Israel, and before that Ararat had witnessed God’s promise to Noah never to send a worldwide flood again. This time, however, the mountains and hills would not just watch what was going on but give evidence against God’s people, for they had littered the hills with their pagan shrines.
So was there anything Israel could say in their defence? Was there any logical reason for their unfaithfulness? No, God had not burdened them. He had not done anything to warrant the kind of treatment he had received from his people. On the contrary, he had always protected and provided for the Israelites. God went on to remind his people of that. “ 4 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. 5 My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD” (Micah 6:4, 5).
What had God done? He had not only rescued the Israelites from slavery but had provided able leaders in Moses, Aaron, and Miriam for their journey across the desert. He had also protected them from evil like the time Balak, king of Moab, hired Balaam to curse the Israelites. Every time Balaam opened his mouth to curse, God caused blessings to pour forth. In their journey from Shittim to Gilgal God held back the flood-stage waters of the Jordan River so that all the people could cross over into the Promised Land on dry land. There in the Promised Land the daily blessings of manna stopped but God provided food for the two million people by allowing them to eat the fruit of the Promised Land just as he had promised they would. No, God had not burdened his people but blessed them every step of the way.
In the same way has not God blessed our every step? Think of how he has not only rescued us from the slavery of sin, but also provided able leaders like our parents, Sunday School teachers, and pastors to guide and direct us in our life. He has kept evil from harming us like the time we got lost in a dangerous part of town, or became separated from our parents at the mall. God even directs and controls nature on our behalf as he did for the Israelites. Think of how many blizzards or storms you’ve had to drive through yet have never gotten into serious trouble? On top of all that God provides our daily bread, soup, milk, pasta, steak...is there anything that we lack?