Lent 2022 Day 26
Thu 31 Mar
Micah 6:1-8 The Lord’s case against Israel
1 Listen to what the Lord says: ‘Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. 2 ‘Hear, you 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.
3 ‘My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. 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 plotted and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.’
6 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? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, 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.
Israel’s sin is an affront to the created order. The mountains and hills become the arena of God’s accusations against his people. The earth reverberates to the sound of the voice of the Lord, and he will be heard.
The Almighty God presents his case as a plea. He doesn’t need to do that – he is the Almighty One, enthroned on high amid the cherubim, whose voice commands the waves and shakes the trees and mountains. Even in his righteous anger he still presents a case. Through the prophet Micah he asks his people what he has done to deserve their abandonment of and faithlessness towards him.
What about the prophet Balaam? He spoke God’s words to king Balak (Numbers 22 onwards), and thus avoided a war with the Israelites. God had taken them to the Promised Land. They left Shittim to cross the Jordan, and landed in Gilgal. It wasn’t long before they started misbehaving (Numbers 25:1-9).
God performed great and wonderful deeds when he saved his people from slavery in Egypt, yet this defining mark of their history had been forgotten or rejected.
Micah then relays God’s message that he actually does not want sacrifice. Even though God had set up a system of sin-offerings and had laid it down in the Law, his pleasure is not in receiving sin-offerings, but in the humble behaviour and attitude of his people. He requires that they, and we, act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. I sometimes wonder whether a little more humility might be exercised in place of pomp in some of our worship services.
What does it mean for you to “walk humbly with your God”?
How does our church live in a just way?
Do considerations of justice and mercy feature in the way you vote?
Father God, I seek to do what is good, and to live by the standards you laid out through your prophet Micah. Teach me how to temper justice with mercy, and to apply humility to every aspect of my life. Amen.