Thursday, February 25, 2016

Seeking Reconciliation

Micah 6:1-16

“Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.   Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD'S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.” (Micah 6:1-2)

For hundreds ofyears, Israel had done as they pleased, worshipping other Gods and ignoring God’s commands, ignoring his efforts to work things out and denying any responsibility for the problems.   In a final effort to get their attention, God is publically declaring his complaints against Israel to the mountains and nations around them in an effort to work things out.     

“O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.  For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.  O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.” (Micah 6:3-5)

What has God done that they found other gods more attractive?  What are they so upset about?  What God remembers is freeing them from slavery in Egypt, and using Moses and his siblings to teach them.  They need to remember how Balak wanted Balaam to curse them and Balaam told him he couldn’t because God loved them and was determined to bless them.  They were like a dissatisfied wife who has forgotten why she married her husband.  All they remembered were the problems. 

“Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  The LORD'S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” (Micah 6:6-9)

Reconciliation was not going to require sacrificing their children or giving up everything they had.  He wouldn’t even be pleased with them giving thousands of rams or a lot of money.  His demands were not excessive.   All he is asking is that they do what they agreed to do.  They need to treat other people fairly, to show mercy, rather than being vindictive, and to put away their pride and recognize God’s authority.  They don’t need to worry about losing their identity, because God will make others to recognize them. 

“Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?  Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?  For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.” (Micah 6:10-12)

Reconciliation in marriage requires that they guilty party put away pictures of other man or woman, and gifts they have given and stop staying out late, going to bars and dances without the mate.  In the same way, God was saying they needed to get rid of the reminders of those other Gods and stop doing the things they did when with them.  They would have to stop cheating their customers.  They’d have to quit using intimidation and violence to get their ways, and stop lying.

“Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.  Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.  Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.” (Micah 6:13-15)

Their insistence on continuing those things would result in God refusing to give them the things they wanted.  The food they received would not be satisfactory, and they would be repeatedly shamed in front of others.  Their efforts to make things happen will fail, and what they get will be taken from them.  They will put out all the effort to make things better, but it will not happen. 

For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.” (Micah 6:16)

Instead of doing what God had commanded, they were keeping the commands of king Omri, and copying the actions of Ahab.  They were following the advice of these wicked kings, completely ignoring God’s instructions and the agreement with him.    As a result, God is going to withdraw and leave them alone.  Other people will point at them as failures, and they will held responsible for Israel’s breakup.

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