This week’s readings have many great lessons for us. I doubt that the books of Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah are high on the list of most read. I am positive they are not as popular as Job and the Psalms. Yet they are there for a reason. Each one has something to tell us about God.
Tucked away in Micah six is a nugget that is especially relevant today. It seems that no matter where we turn someone or something is making demands on our time, talent, and money. We know this to be true in the world, but it also applies within the church. Not only are demands made, but we are constantly told how to do certain things. That is very evident when it comes to our service to God. I have seen congregations argue and even split over something so seemingly insignificant as the order of our assemblies, or whether communion was to be served from the back or front of the auditorium. Each side thought their idea of how things should be done was the only right way.
Micah’s message was one of impending destruction due to a lack of obedience. Then in chapter six, just after foretelling Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem he tells them what God wants and doesn’t want from them. Micah says burnt offerings of calves, or thousands of rams, or even tens of thousands of rivers of oil were not what God wanted. Going through the motions of worship, regardless of the scale, was not God’s desire. Those acts were only to help Israel, and to help us know who he is.
Mothers’ Day was just a couple of Sundays ago. Like many families, we honored Cyndi with a meal out, cards, gifts, and flowers. All those were nice and appreciated. But what she really wanted was to see her boys, and girls, to talk with them, to know they were OK, to hug them tight, and to spend time with them.
I believe God is much the same, but on a higher level than we can imagine. The burnt offerings and sacrifices were nice, even what God prescribed, but according to Micah, he mostly wants his people to live justly, love kindness, and walk with him. This same sentiment is echoed in James 1:27 when James tells us that pure religion is to take care of the weakest and most vulnerable and to keep ourselves clean from the filth of this world.