Continuing our study of Micah, and our theme of “Coram Deo” (begun here) we are in Micah 6 this week. This chapter as a whole, but especially the typically isolated verse 8, will remind us that God does not want mechanical adherence to the Law. And He absolutely despises our attempts to hide the “little” ways in which we try to carry on as though it did not matter.
6:1-2 nature as a witness, impartial and unbiased though groaning. This calls attention to the greatness of their sin (also employed in Deut 32:1, Is 1:2).
6:3-4 By questioning His people, God would reveal to them how ungrateful they were for His mercies! How He cared for them, loved them, led them, did miracles among them…they forgot. What would your response be if God asked “how have I wearied you?” Would you remember the cross? Would you remember the many moments His indwelling Spirit brought you comfort, and brought you along the path of sanctification? Would you remember the many delights He has shown in His creation, and in His sustaining power? Would you only remember how things didn’t play out according to your own plans, and how difficult life is in this fallen world?
God then reminds them of the magnitude of His work in their lives. Remember being slaves in Egypt? Remember how God handled Pharaoh and his army? Remember how He did not even allow a pagan prophet to utter a curse against them (which would have encouraged Moab to war against God’s people!).
6:5 cf Psalm 145:17-18. His ways are good, we must be willing to see our life from this perspective. His ways are righteous, therefore He would not even allow a pagan prophet to falsely prophecy. Why? The ‘curse’ of Balaam would not have had power, but it would have encouraged Moab to terrorize Israel.
Were Sacrifices Pointless?
Micah 6:6-7. Does God really mean that He hates these sacrifices, and that they are meaningless? NO! The question is not “why do we do pointless sacrifices?!!” God instituted these; so we know they have purpose. When performed by rote, that “obedience” is meaningless.
True obedience comes from our heart, our innermost being. Bringing the offering should lead them in humility, in submission to God, in the recognition of their need that He alone has the power to meet.
Consider each question: would simply making a sacrifice suffice? How about I increase the quantity? How about my firstborn??? Firstborn already belong to the LORD–see Ex. 13:2, 12. These questions made them think, they needed to stop and think: can I sin and then just offer the proper sacrifice, and then go on sinning?
The discussion around these verses was delightful! Revisit these classics: Deut 10:12-18.1 Sam 15:22; Jer 7:21-23; Hosea 6:6; Amos 4:5, 5:15 & 22-24. Hebrews 10; Matt 12:7; Mark 12:33. Then ask yourself the questions, what does God desire? What does true repentance look like? Did His Justice demand a sacrifice? What did the sacrifice of Jesus on my behalf really do in my life?
Righteousness, Love, Humility
6:8 look back on 2:8-11 and 2 Chron 28:5-11 and 3:9-10 He is telling them this–because they do not get it! They need this simple reminder, that they have not been walking with their God; they have forsaken Him, they have left the ancient paths (Jeremiah 6).
Do justice. See Ezekiel 18. Again, there can be no true justice apart from righteousness–the standard set by God, not man. We cannot ‘do justice’ if we do not submit that He is righteous, and we need His righteousness. We fall short, but He offers redemption. We do justice only when we walk in this reality; only when our inward man is being conformed to Christ. The heart matters, the actions that are truly just will stem from a heart leaning into Him.
Love kindness; or love mercy.
WALK! Walk humbly–admitting you need Him to hold you up, Him to direct you, Him to teach you and lead you, Him to use His rod and staff…admitting He deserves all the glory; and that you find Him glorious, and that your greatest joy in life is to be His and to be with Him. Prov 11:2
6:9 Fear = willingness to listen when He calls. Remember, Coram Deo, living in the true fear of God, knowing He is ever-present, knowing He alone is good, and most powerful, and full of mercy and grace, and that you belong to Him. How different from It is sound wisdom to live in that fear, and awe; yet the wisdom of Ecclesiastes taught us to be afraid and seek wisdom elsewhere, be afraid and just eat drink and be merry. Here, Micah is speaking to those who have not rightly feared God. Verses 9-16 discuss Israel’s commercial sins: lying/cheating/stealing in business.
6:11 a real question, because if ends justify the means–then yes. But with God, unchanging NO!
6:13 very clear: because of your sins. Justice does not let you off; you deserve the consequences of your sins–ultimately, God’s wrath and eternity in hell.
Omri, founder of Samaria and all the false religion there; Ahab who led the way in violence and idolatry. Micah was telling the people that they WALK in their devices. Contrast to 6:8, walking humbly with God. There is always the question before us: who are we serving, in whose ways are we walking? Apart from abiding in the Word, you will be fooled into thinking pagan ways can be acceptable to God, or that God does not care about the ‘little things’ just the Sunday morning things.
Christ bore our reproach on the cross–we know this now. But this people steeped in their sins were told they would bear their reproach. Americans (most Western thinkers really) try to do away with all shame. But shame has brought many to repentance. This people will bear their shame, their reproach, and out from among them God will preserve a remnant. Spend some time in these verses: Hebrews 10:10, 11:26, 12:2, 13:13; Is 53:4, 1 Peter 4:14
Remember also God’s gracious dealings: Jer 2:6-7; Hos 11:1, 12:13; Amos 2:10
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash