Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 25

God’s Lawsuit Against Judah

by

Today's Text: Micah 6:1-16, Jeremiah 22:3, Colossians 3:12-17

Scripture Reading: Micah 6:1-16, Jeremiah 22:3, Colossians 3:12-17

They say women love a man in uniform, but they may not have been talking about the Boy Scouts. Unfortunately, no one relayed this message to my kerchief-wearing, popcorn-selling, Eagle Scout of a little brother.

With socks to his knees and badges across his chest, he’d proudly hold up his fingers, reciting the Boy Scout motto every night before brushing his teeth. His newfound pack became his identity, and while it didn’t earn him a swarm of girlfriends, it certainly brought the shy boy out of his shell. He threw himself into first aid, emergency preparedness, environmental science, and camping, checking off as many merit badge requirements as possible.

In Micah 6, that’s exactly what the Israelites were hoping for: a checklist for how to please God. They had failed at manufacturing goodness for themselves, and their idols hadn’t produced any fruit. Assuming the answer was to work harder, they wondered when God would ever be satisfied with what they had to offer.

Israel wanted to earn their ranking in faith through burnt offerings, year-old calves, rams, and streams of oil, but even these expensive gifts were not an equal trade for righteousness. And the instructions God provided were not what they expected.

“Mankind, he has told you what is good
and what it is the Lᴏʀᴅ requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.”
- Micah 6:8

Upon hearing these words from the prophet, I bet the Israelites were ready to tie their kerchiefs around their necks and get to work achieving their merit badges with God. But looking at the specific commands, we can guess they became a little confused when they realized everything had already been accomplished. Their assigned tasks were not primarily about their own sacrifice, strength, or anything else the Israelites could offer. They were simply called to mirror the character of God.

Instead of just giving them rules to follow, He pointed forward to the work He’d later accomplish on the cross.

We, like Israel, forget that the only merit we have is the blood of the Messiah.

We can only act justly because we have been justified through Christ.
We can only love faithfulness because He defined it for us on the cross.
We can only walk humbly because His footsteps went before us.
We can only be with our God because Christ joined us to Him.

The only thing left on our to-do list is to worship the God who does not change. May we fear His name alone.

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  • Kristen Clegs

    In many ways it is so much easier to DO than to BE. Israel would rather sacrifice a thousand rams than be just, offer them thousand rivers of oil than be faithful, give up their firstborn than walk in humility with God. They thought in terms of trading goods and services for righteousness; they didn’t understand that God wanted their hearts, and that a heart belonging TO God reflects the heart OF God.
    Instead of stressing about all the things we have to do to please God, let’s just study God. Our souls will be caught up in His glory, our hearts won by His love and grace; AND THEN, sisters, He will use us and work through us. When we are full of Him, He will provide opportunities to pour into the lives of others.

    • Kylee

      So true Kristen – how many works am I willing to offer up in an effort to please God! Yet when push comes to shove, more often than not I am lacking mercy/faithfulness, & I am too proud of those works to be humble about my minute-by-minute need for God. He is not a checkbox on my day’s to-do…Help me God, to know you deeper!

  • I don’t know… the days switch between actually applying the word to our lives and platitudes like today. What does it mean to do justice? What about the passage from Jeremiah 22? We need to dig in more, sisters.

    • India

      I don’t disagree that today’s devotional didn’t delve into digging up how to specifically apply Micah 6:8 to our lives, but maybe today’s devotional was encouraging us to dig in ourselves?… what do the verses in Jeremiah encourage your heart towards with regard to Micah 6:8? In my life, I’ve felt God unearthing the deprevity of my spending and how much need there is around me… and how I’m not answering that call. Do I really love justice and faithfulness when I drive past that homeless person to my favorite lunch spot without stopping? Could I give up additional room in my budget for the next year so that ministries in my church can flourish? And my time… oh my time, there is so much more I could give to further the kingdom of Jesus. Praying that this platform touches and encourages your heart like it has mine!

    • Becky

      When I think of what it means to do justice, I think also of speaking up for those without much of a voice in our country right now. Immigrants and refugees and the poor. Speaking up, advocating, supporting ministries and agencies that are already doing the work.

    • Jenna S

      I heard from a wise person recently that “our doing must flow from our being” – when we learn how to BE with God (and who we are in Him, because of Him) and rest (which doesn’t necessarily mean sitting back and doing nothing! I think it is more accurately simply letting go of the worry and anxieties we carry when we are trying to be in control) in Him, the doing will come without the checklist pressure of earning His approval.
      But I agree with you! We have a responsibility once we are in covenant with God to do as He commands – so what DOES it mean to do justice? :) I think to some degree it is for each person to discern in their own lives, but we must spur one another on to love and good deeds! So thank you! :)
      Also, interesting note – the original Hebrew for the word translated in Michah 6:8 as faithfulness or mercy is the word “hesed” which has no English equal. It is the fierce loving kindness, steadfastness, and covenant loyalty that God feels and acts toward His people. Worth a word study… I know I have only just begun to understand it…

    • Cathy

      I hate & ❤️ Simplicity simoultaneously. Jesus taught repeatedly “Love your neighbor.” Who is your neighbor…all the children of God. 100%! That’s everyone made in his image…the poor, the bad, the different…the ones not like us, who disagree with our views. He kept it simple and showed us what real love was…. you have to dig pretty deep sister to see where our sense of justice falls short. It is a tall order to love our neighbor…just spend a little time in prayer & I imagine God will show each of us how to love better!

  • Carleejanae

    Wow! Powerful to say the least. In this season of dwelling I feel I am not doing enough to please God, but actively worshiping him is far greater than anything else. Just wow.

  • This really spoke to me where I am today…. I always loved studying Israel because God shows me how much I behave like them. Earning the merit badges is right up my alley! This was such a good reminder -because my human soul always wants to forget what Christ has already done for me and that God has already set His plan in motion and all I am called to do is love others like Jesus does and worship God with my life like Jesus did. Right now my husband and I are trying to start our family and it’s been so easy to get caught up in trying to “plan” a new life ourselves. Unltimately God has this all planned out so I don’t need to worry! :)

  • Caroline

    This! Always! So good —>

    “We can only act justly because we have been justified through Christ.
    We can only love faithfulness because He defined it for us on the cross.
    We can only walk humbly because His footsteps went before us.
    We can only be with our God because Christ joined us to Him.”

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • I’m going to turn on some praise music as well. However I need it to enlighten my soul right now. I have made some hard decisions and I have to go talk to some people today. Please pray for me.

  • Thankful for this timely word ❤️

  • churchmouse

    After reading Kaitlin’s powerful devotion, I’m turning the praise music up real loud this morning. There’s nothing I can do to earn right standing with God. Jesus has done it all. So… What else is there to “do” but worship Him?! That’s all that’s on my to-do list.

  • “…And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”
    Lord, forgive us and our nation for all of our wrong-doing and our hearts towards “the least of these.” Allow us to lead others by example by the way we love, welcome, and serve these people, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.

  • Tricia C

    I accidentally read Colossians 2 instead of 3. I thought this verse in Colossians 2:14 was appropriate for the verse in Micah 6:2. Colossians 2:14 says, “He canceled the record of charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.”
    Praise God that Jesus was enough! He was enough to cancel the charges God had against us.
    Thankful this day that even though I don’t deserve for those charges to be gone, Jesus took them upon himself anyways.
    Have a blessed day Sisters! Xoxo

    • Laura

      That is one of my favorite verses because I get such a clear picture of what Christ’s total forgiveness looks like.

  • What a beautiful narrative Tina! Thank you!

  • Amen. Amen. Amen.

    Oh Kaitlin, I just loved these truth filled words…

    We can only act justly because we have been justified through Christ.
    We can only love faithfulness because He defined it for us on the cross.
    We can only walk humbly because His footsteps went before us.
    We can only be with our God because Christ joined us to Him.

    There is nothing I can do in Truth, apart from Him.
    He is my direction…
    My hope…
    My merit..

    Praising with a thankful heart my God, who gave His son, Jesus, that I, Tina, through His death and resurrection, need only worship Him and Him alone in the way I do life… to act justly, to show constant love, and to walk humbly with Him, my God..
    Amen.

    Blessings Dear ones….with love.. xx

  • jude munday

    this was so helpful this morning. I find it so easy to persue ‘meaning’ and ministry instead of resting in relationship.

    • Sharon McConnell

      jude munday. I am learning that real ministry only comes out of intimate relationship with Jesus — pursuing Him before and more than anything else. When I sought ministry, I was continually frustrated. Seeking Him has brought about more of Him having more of me and then ministry flows freely out of that because He is free then to do whatever He wants in and through this earthen vessel.

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