April 17, 2012

Today you should read: Micah 6

I want to give particular focus on two verses that really caught my attention today from Micah 6.

Micah 6:3 (NASB)

My people, what have I done to you,
And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.”

This verse is convicting and haunting because I wonder how many times God has asked the same question to me. “Rich,
what have I done to you, and why do you act as if you are tired of me?” I think of all the great acts of kindness, grace,
and mercy that the Lord has performed toward me, yet I still forget about God at times. Even though He has done so
much for me, just like He had done for the Israelites, I live sometimes as if He is not worth my complete surrender.
There are times where I practically forget that God exists and I go through the day as if I have to “make it all happen.” I
am, unfortunately, much like the Israelites at times.

Though, the verse is convicting, it also gives me a great reminder that God’s grace and mercy is bigger than all my
shortcomings. Because of Christ, I am forgiven of my sin, and I have the opportunity to turn from my sin and be in right
fellowship with God. Henry Blackaby, in his book Fresh Encounter, says, “Repentance is one of the most positive words
in Scripture! It means there is hope for fallen sinners.” I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy.

Micah 6:8 (NASB)

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

In verses 5-7, the Israelites were asking what God wanted from them. Should they perform a bunch of religious rituals
to make God happy? Should they try to buy God’s mercy with a thousand rams and rivers of oil? Should they present
their firstborn children to God for their sins? Well, verse 8 says what God requires: do justice (or act justly), love
kindness, and walk humbly with God?

God didn’t want their religion, money, or good deeds; He wanted their hearts to be fully dedicated to Him. This verse is
powerful to me. One thing I have battled with during the past 12 years of vocational ministry is feeling like my good
works and efforts are what will keep God appeased.

For example, if I have a “good ministry day” (whatever that is), or if I read a certain amount of Scripture per day, or if I
have a productive day, then God will be happy to call me His child. But, God doesn’t desire all of those things from me.
He simply wants me to walk humbly with Him, recognizing that I am weak and He is strong, and it is only through Him
that I can ever do good deeds.

Can you relate?

I know it isn’t true, but, sometimes, I think I am the only one who deals with this stuff. Can you relate to my reflections
on verses 3 and 8? If so, share your thoughts below. Let’s grow together.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

April 16, 2012

Today you should read: Micah 5

The book of Micah is a book that rebukes false hope and speaks of where true hope lies. Micah was written during the time of the emergence of a wealthy upper class. It was a time when the rich continuously got richer and the poor got poorer. The rich upper class would take advantage of and enslave the poor to their own glory. The hope that they had was one of status and riches to the point prophets and priests were being paid off and telling the people what they wanted to hear and had no regard for the Lord. Because of this, judgment was coming down on Israel from the Lord. However, the judgment will not last forever and God will provide the hope and keep his promise to his chosen people Israel.

Micah 5 begins by pointing to the hope of a savior, a new David. He will come from the small town of Bethlehem, he will rule of Israel and shepherd his flock. His name will have the majesty and glory of the Lord his God. In him his people will be secure. He will rule to the ends of the earth and He will be their peace.

Now we have the advantage of hind sight. We know who Micah was talking about. He was pointing the people to the coming of Jesus. Matthew used this passage in Matthew 2:6, to give evidence to the wise men of who Jesus was to be.

The statement that I would like to draw your attention to is v.5, “And he shall be their peace.” As I pointed out earlier, the people of Israel had their hope in riches and power. Their peace came from a security in wealth. Micah is telling them that their peace is going to come from Jesus. Why couldn’t their peace come from God and him alone? Well in a sense it ultimately does but they struggled with the same problem that you and I struggle with called sin. The priestly sacrificial system that God had established at this time was meant to be practiced in faith but it was temporary and foreshadowed the coming Messiah.

I am not letting Israel off the hook. They should have found their peace in God and followed the law he gave them through Moses. However, one could only follow the law by faith; which Israel was lacking.

Micah is pointing Israel to the hope that you and I now know about in Jesus Christ. In Romans 8:1-5, Paul explains the difference in the law and grace given in Christ:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

So the question is where do you find hope?

Israel knew about a coming Messiah but they did not put their hope in him. We now know about Jesus but knowing about him doesn’t mean that we have hope in him.

Romans 10:9-10, speaks about how one comes to know Jesus. However, it is easy to get caught up in the act of praying a prayer and confessing that we want him as savior but not understand that in our hearts we must make him “Lord.”

If he has never been Lord of your life then I would examine your salvation. I challenge you with the words of Jesus himself:

“If you love me you will keep my commands.” John 14:15

Posted by: Chad Wiles

April 14, 2012

Today you should read: Micah 4

His plans are unknown…

A turning point.  That is exactly what Micah chapter 4 is.  In chapters 1-3 we see judgment and doom, but in chapter 4 we see a collection of hope!

God is discussing how one day the people of God, who He has dispersed because of their sin, will be brought back.  The other nations, who sought to destroy Israel, even though they were being used by God to do so, will fail in their attempts and will be punished for their sin.  God will once again show His faithfulness to His chosen people.  This goes further than Israel’s current predicament.  It points to the One who will come and ultimately gather God’s people back to Himself, once and for all!

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

The opposing nations of Israel, mainly the Assyrians, thought that they were tough.  They were destroying nearly every last piece of God’s nation.  Israel was desperate and well aware of the impending threat.  This time of trial and pain that God allowed seemed to be proof that God had abandoned them.  Yet God had a purpose.

God allowed the discipline of Israel for the good of His people.  God’s intention was to bring them to a point where they recognized they needed Him, where they would look to Him and they would rejoice in His mercy.

God sometimes allows trials in our lives to increase our faith in Him and cause us to need Him more than anything else.  He wants to be the one to fulfill our needs.  When we look to other things to fill our needs, God will remove them, so that He can take the place of those God-substitutes.

Israel had a lot of God-substitutes.  So God removed them by allowing trials.  Soon enough though, His people would look to Him out of need, and He would fulfill their needs and recapture their hearts.  In the trial, it’s hard to see this.

Israel didn’t see it, and the invading nations didn’t see it.  Look at verses 11-12 with me:

“Now many nation are assembled against you, saying, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.”

But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan…”

God was saying, “Although the other nations think they have conquered you and although it may look like I have abandoned you and you are defeated, you don’t know my plans.  You don’t understand my ways.  I am doing this for your good, and you will see soon enough.”

  • What trials are you going through?
  • What has God allowed to conquer you?

God has plans and ways that we don’t understand, yet we can trust that He has our good as the goal.  The only thing we can do in these times is trust Him.  Show your faithfulness to Him even in the midst of trial.  He will show His faithfulness right back.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

April 13, 2012

Today you should read: Micah 3

“You can’t have it both ways.” Have you ever heard that before? I know I have. I think most of us, naturally want that. We want to love and follow God but we are often tempted to straddle the fence between loving God and following the world. I think we see that very clearly in this passage in the people of Israel.

Throughout this passage the prophet points out to the people that they are doing evil while praying and asking God to be with them and bless them (verses 1-4 and 9-11). The people disobeyed God and lived however they wanted to and then they would turn to God in times of trouble and ask for His blessings. What they didn’t realize is that God is not some genie for them or for us to just come to and drop our wishes on.

I think the whole passage really hinges on verse 4. God has just told the people that they devour His people and then they turn and ask for His protection and deliverance in times of trouble. Then, in verse4 He asks a tough rhetorical question, “Do you really expect him to answer you after all the evil you have done?”

That is the question posed for us today. Now, we know that, in Jesus we have grace and forgiveness. But, if we are to come to God in our times of need then true repentance must precede that. We cannot live life time and time again as we wish and then just throw up a “My bad, sorry about that, won’t happen again” to God and expect to receive anything from Him. If we live in sin day after day, if our Monday through Saturday is filled with worldly living and “divided loyalty” we should not expect to receive anything from God on Sunday (James 1:5-7).

But praise God that we can to Him in true repentance and He will, as the father did to the prodigal son, take us back with joy. God does not want empty words or a “try harder” spirit. He wants a “broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17), He wants someone who says “God my sin is wrong, I am want to turn away from it and turn to you. Help me. Give me strength and courage to do so.”

What sin is it that you need to deal with in this way today? Do it now.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd