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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Micah: Israel's Judge (Part 9)

Listen to what the LORD says: "Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. "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.
Micah 6:1-2

This is a strong opening. God is making a case against Israel. God is obviously going to be the judge in this case, but who does it say the witnesses are? The mountains, hills, and the very foundation of the earth. Hosea, who prophesied around the same time Micah did, also speaks of a case against Israel:

Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Hosea 4:1-2

Hosea gives us a bit of insight on why God is bring a case against Israel, which helps us understand why God is so angry.
Micah chose to omit the details of Israel's sin, but he still has something really important to say in the verses spends 

"My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.

Micah 6:3

God wants to know what he did from them to sin against him. And he is a judge who does have a right to make an inquiry. What has God done to Israel, but love them?

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. 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."
Micah 6:4-5

Balak and Balaam's story is in Numbers 22, but Balaam is mentioned in many places.

No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation. For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim to pronounce a curse on you. However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.
Deuteronomy 23:3-5

When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.
Joshua 24:9-10

because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.)
Nehemiah 13:2

These three verses are about how God protected Israel by his power. In Micah 6, there two examples of how God protects and delivers Israel, so this is obviously an important story. A donkey saved Balaam's life and then God used Balaam to bless Israel. 

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? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 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.
Micah 6:6-8

Micah is hitting on an important point here, but he's a bit more subtle about in than others.

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Mark 12:33

But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
Hebrews 10:11

Micah is saying that God has told us what to do, so why aren't we doing it?

Some Christians sin and sin over and over again because it's ok, God forgives our sins. God loves us no matter what. But that's the wrong attitude about life. Yes, God forgives us, but obeying is better than a sacrifice. If you are one of those people who thinks sin is fine, your wrong. Just remember than Jesus suffered for you. He was whipped, beaten with a staff, mocked, slapped, spat on, they divided up his cloths by casting lots, and even crowned him with thorns, which formed to remind us of sin (Genesis 3:18).
Jesus suffered for you. Every time you sin, you beating, spitting on him and even as your adding to the load of sin Jesus died for, Jesus has already forgiven you.

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Luke 23:34


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