Summary: What we learn from the empty religion of the Israelites
A. If you’ve ever taken any time to study the Bible (particularly the Old Testament) you may have noticed that it is not written in chronological order.
a. Sometimes that makes Bible Study a little difficult, because it takes a little work to put what you are reading in the context of when it was written.
b. Instead of being broken down chronologically, the O.T. is divided into sections.
c. 1st 5 books called the Pentateuch (5 scrolls) – also called The Law
d. History – Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Nehemiah, Esther, Ruth
e. Wisdom Literature – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Eccl., Song of Solomon
f. Major Prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
g. Minor Prophets – Last part of the O.T.
B. I really don’t like the term Minor Prophets, because it makes it sound like they are less important.
a. Only thing minor about them is that those books are not as long as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
b. What they have to say is just as important as what Moses writes in the Pentateuch.
C. Awhile back I began to feel convicted that I was treating the minor prophets like they didn’t have anything important to say.
a. Read through those books on my journeys through the bible over the years, but I had never taken the time to really study them.
b. Realized I had very seldom even preached out of those books.
D. So, several months ago I began to read through the Minor Prophets very slowly, trying to find context, overall theme, and application.
a. The product of that has been the messages I’ve brought the last several Sundays.
E. This morning we’re going to continue that by looking at what God says through the prophet Micah.
F. Turn with me to Micah 6:1-8, and let’s take a look at what the Lord requires
II. Breaking it Down
A. Micah wrote at a very schizophrenic time in Israel’s history.
a. Chapter 1 tells us Micah was active during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
b. That means Micah’s ministry covered a period of about 60 years.
c. He wrote about the same time that Isaiah wrote his book, and about 20 years before Israel was invaded by Babylon and the Israelites were sent into exile.
B. I say Micah wrote at a very schizophrenic time in Israel’s history, because Israel was struggling with its identity.
a. Jotham, the first King Micah served under was a good king, who walked with God.
i. However 2 Chron. 27 tells us that while Jotham walked with God the people did not.
b. Ahaz was not a good king.
i. He worshipped false gods, and even sacrificed his own sons by burning them alive.
c. Hezekiah, on the other hand, for the most part was a very good king.
i. He repaired the Temple, reinstituted Temple worship and sacrifices, and demanded the people worship God.
ii. However Israel was constantly under siege during Hezekiah’s reign.
iii. Sennacherib, the King of Assyria threatened to invade and even camped his armies around Israel.
iv. It’s a great story that I don’t have time for today, but God miraculously gave Hezekiah victory without Hezekiah even having to lift a finger.
C. But, in spite of having a good king, Israel had a huge problem, and God sent Micah to call them on it.
a. Hezekiah may have convinced them to repair the temple and begin sacrifices there again, and apparently the people did.
b. But there was a problem.
c. They did only what they were compelled to do.
d. While it is true that right actions lead to right emotions, right actions must be accompanied by sincere desire.
e. That was the problem with Israel.
f. They had fallen into an empty kind of religion.
g. The N.T. addresses this very thing when Paul talks about those who have a form of godliness, but denying its power.
D. This, I think, is the number one danger in the church, especially in America, today.
a. Empty religion.
b. Religion that fills pews, but makes no demands of the believer.
c. Religion that goes through the motions, but doesn’t truly desire a mighty move of God.
d. Religion that wants the benefits of a relationship with God with none of the requirements that go with the relationship.
e. Religion that goes through the motions.
E. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ why are you here today?
a. If you’re a seeker, and you’re not really sure about this whole Jesus thing yet you get a pass for the next few minutes.
b. Everything I’m getting ready to say begins with relationship.
c. If you don’t really have a relationship with Christ then doing the things I’m getting ready to talk about won’t do you any good.