“Do, Love, Walk” February 2, 2020

Posted by on Feb 8, 2020 in Sermon Archives

“Do, Love, Walk”

Micah 6:1-8/ Psalm 15

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Matthew 5:1-12

 

I have to say, the words of God written for us by the prophet Micah are a masterpiece. They truly are. Like most prophetic scripture, Micah 6 is the story of God attempting to steer his people in the right direction. The nation of Israel has lost sight of who they are and the plans that God has for them. They have missed the mark, so to speak, but this is nothing new. The history of Israel throughout the Old Testament is one continuous stream of goof ups and acts of disobedience to God which were always followed by things not working out so well. This, in turn, is followed by massive pleas for forgiveness with the hopes that the God of Israel will have mercy and come to save them once again. Funny, but I think of my own faith journey, and this sounds all too familiar; but back to the main point. Now through all of these cycles of raunchiness and righteousness, the prophets have stood by to remind God’s chosen people – to warn them – of how they are goofing up and what they can do to be right with God. Elijah brought threats of famine, Jonah brought threats of total annihilation; I could go on and on. But Micah is different. Micah’s appeal to Israel, and therefore to us, could be summed up simply by saying, “Alright, so you don’t like the way I’m doing things? Is that right? Well, as a matter of fact, I’m not so pleased with what’s been going on with you, either. So here’s what we’re going to do – we’re going to go to court.” (Micah 6:1 TLB)

Listen to what the Lord is saying to his people: “Stand up and state your case against me. Let the mountains and hills be called to witness your complaint. “And now, O mountains, listen to the Lord’s complaint! For he has a case against his people Israel! He will prosecute them to the full. Maybe the courtroom drama of the last few weeks have made me especially aware, but I love these words. (vs 2 CEB) Hear, mountains, the lawsuit of the Lord! Hear, eternal foundations of the earth!

          It’s safe to say that God was not subpoenaing the nation of Israel to a real Perry Mason type trial in a court of Law. But he was speaking to them in a language they could understand. These were a people devoted to the law. God was serious here. What better way to show that seriousness than to threaten to sue – – with the mountains and hills as my witness and the very earth, all creation, as the jury. So, in keeping with that theme, let’s go on. God’s opening statement starts with the words, “My people, what did I ever do to you? How have I wearied you? How have I made things so bad? He then reminds Israel of all the times he had saved them from their enemies, saved them from slavery, and saved them from death. He reminds them that he was the one who sent them Moses & Aaron & Miriam. He reminds them that he is the source of their salvation. This is no frivolous lawsuit – this is serious.

Next, the people finally speak, and here’s where things get a little murky because it appears that the defense doesn’t have a defense at all and are moving to make some kind of a plea.

(vs 6) With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before God on high? they say.

Then they commence to offer all sorts of extravagant stuff: thousands of rams, barrels of expensive oil. They even go so far as to say, (vs 7) Should I give my oldest child for my crime; the fruit of my body for the sin of my spirit? “What’s it going to take, Lord? How can we square this up? What do you want? What do you want!?”  /// “I don’t want your stuff,” is the reply. “You ask me what I want; I want the kingdom of God here on this earth – that’s what I want. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. The earth was created that this might come to pass. But to make this a reality, there are some things that I need from you, some things I require. The first is to Do Justice. And I’m not talking about thinking about justice, or believing in justice, or hoping for justice; I mean DO JUSTICE. The second is to love mercy. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t be ashamed of it, and don’t think it makes you look weak. Love mercy, love kindness. It is the greatest love you could ever possess. And lastly, walk humbly with your God. It is a walk that heals a shattered spirit; it’s a walk that heals a broken heart.”

“What does the Lord require of you?” The verb “require” is a translation of the Hebrew darash  which is not like a teacher requiring homework or a judge requiring punishment. No, darash is the way a child requires its mother’s love, like a plant requires the light of the sun. It’s a two way street. And if the life and ministry of Jesus taught us anything at all, his was a testimony that the Kingdom of God needs to be here on this earth. What a blessing to be a part of the body of Christ that we can help to make that happen.

Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Amen & Shalom

 

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