RM: This past month, in the daily lectionary readings, it took me through the Old Testament prophet, Micah. And as I read and reflected on it, I got a few reflections that I wanted to share with you. I think it's important for people today who are studying this and other Old Testament books to consider that God intends for us to hear these truths and consider their applicability, even for today, though they were written so long ago, 800 B.C. Paul tells us in the New Testament that the Old was “written for us.” And, I’m suggesting that Micah is perfectly relevant for you and me, right now.
I feel like a lot of Christians today read an Old Testament book like this and feel honestly that it was written in such a different time and maybe even that this God speaking was some primitive view of the much nicer, more modernized God of the New Testament, or that maybe his responses to them were appropriate for that time because they were dealing with such different matters and had different dynamics relevant to their circumstances and lives.
However, I want to suggest that our circumstances and dynamics today for the individual Christian, and how we are to live our lives, couldn't be more similar, and therefore that what we hear (the same) God saying, even in his tone and emphasis, is exactly what our New Testament, modernized ears need to hear today, through this book of Micah.
God gives two main messages through this prophet: Judgment and Forgiveness. But we need to understand that even His judgment for his people, the true believers that would have been first hearing this prophet (like good king Hezekiah), is actually loving discipline, a "severe mercy" some call it, which always serves to make us even more faithful and beautiful in the strength we gain through his fatherly discipline of us. And I submit to you that believers of our modern day need the same courageous love of our God, fearlessly pursuing us, gently but occasionally painfully, in order to make us more aware of our blind spots, our true hearts and pursuits, to keep working into us that which is so vital and yet can be so underdeveloped, which is a deeper trust and love and abandonment for God.
And what scares me, in our day of severe political correctness, is that we have attained a low threshold of tolerance toward a more robust spirituality like this and toward a stronger Fatherly view of God like this. We can be tempted to feel now like the only credible version of God that we should listen to is a wimpy expression of Christianity, which is then less effective in really causing lasting, needed change, digging deeper inside of us, calling us to more honesty, and instead results in less transformation. ...as Micah is calling us to in his letter.
We should not be offended by the God who tries to speak to us today through Micah. We should listen, trusting in his tenderness and in his willingness to go to the Cross for us. ...and trusting that God's correction is wonderfully going to lead to more growth, liberation, and joy. It's just so easy to be blind and unaware of how desperately we might still need a much deeper and much stronger trust and love for Him. Our God is a strong and tender Dad, not imperfect like our earthly versions, but perfectly loving, always sacrificing himself in his fatherly pursuit of our growth and ministry. He intends to find a way to get maturity and joy into his true children. Father help us. We trust you!
So, if you haven’t read Micah in a while, I recommend it and beg you to trust as you read, that this is the true God, speaking to you, his true child of today. And that he says it, in his perfect and beautiful love for you.
Your servant and friend,