Thursday, August 18, 2022

            Micah was a prophet to Judah and Israel whose time paralleled that of Isaiah.  The name Micah means “who is like Jehovah?”  His name alone tells us that his highest allegiance was to God alone in declaring a word or message that the people of Judah and Israel needed to hear.  Perhaps the best-known verse is Micah 6:8 which says, “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.”  We learn from this verse that justice, mercy and humility are never wrong.  We always serve the purposes of God whenever we endeavor to live out those virtues.
            Though Micah made it clear that God’s judgment and punishment were looming, he also offered hope to the people.  Near the end of his prophecy, Micah said, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?  You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.  You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19).  Some very important truths stand out for us to see in these two verses.  First, God is incomparable and without equal.  There is nothing to which we can compare God.  There is no person worthy of such comparison.  The ways of God and character of God stand without equal.  Any understanding or ideas we might have about God are not complete and imperfect.  And what we know about God, as revealed in Scripture, is only because God has chosen to make that known to us.  We would not discover that by ourselves.
            Second, God is the only One who can forgive.  We are sinners—probably no one would debate this reality.  While we may sin against others, all sin is ultimately committed against God because God is the One who determines right and wrong.  Remember what David said when he was confronted by Nathan about his sins.  David made his confession in this way, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so, you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:4).  Recognizing that God alone can forgive underscores the importance of regular examination and confession.  We want to be rigorous in dealing with sin.  We want to acknowledge it and ask for God to deliver us from it.  We are not to allow sin to linger in our lives.  Rather, we want to feel and think the same ways about sin that God does.
            Third, God is merciful.  He delights in showing mercy, Micah said.  The Lord is willing to offer grace and mercy to those who seek it and call upon His name for it.  We should be just as merciful toward others—offering forgiveness when others seek it and ask for it.  When sins are confessed and owned, we can then move toward mercy and reconciliation.  Remember how seriously God takes sin—He offered up His Son to die for sin because sin had to be judged and punished and could not be excused or dismissed.
            And fourth, God remains compassionate at all times.  We never have to doubt the depth and sincerity of God’s love.  It is real and it is enduring.  God’s love is not conditional or contingent as we sometimes are about our love and how we express it.  We can count on the presence of His love.  He does not always love our behavior or the things we do but He does love us and is at work to redeem and reconcile us.  Micah is a short prophecy—only seven chapters long that could be easily read in one setting.  Spend some time with Micah and let his prophecy speak to you with the same freshness and relevance that it did for Judah and Israel many years ago.  Have a great Thursday!

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