“What Does God Require?”
Let us briefly look at Micah. Why briefly? Well, that is all we know about him. Just a little bit, a brief note.
We know that he was one of the twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament. These are twelve short-winded prophets. Each prophets is only a few chapters long. We know that Micah was a contemporary of Hosea, Isaiah, and Amos and Micah said similar things that these prophets said.
Like other seventh and eighth century prophets, Micah was concerned that Israel had turned away from God in ways that fundamentally broke the covenant between God and God’s people.
Israel had become a place where the poor suffered needlessly and the powerful put the pursuit of personal, material things ahead of their loyalty to God. The only way for the people to repair that breach was to work for justice – for a restoration of society. It was a common theme among the prophets of the Hebrew Bible that societies not based on fundamental justice would fail under the weight of their own misdeeds. Micah is clearly talking about social justice. There are parallels to Micah’s time and our own contemporary society.
We know that Micah was preaching at what I call, the “end of the good times” and just before his nation fell apart. There had been forty years of prosperity and peace. During times of prolonged prosperity and peace, people often forget God, ignore God, drift away from God. People get caught up in “the good life” and slowly begin to forget God and God’s ways. It was just before the end of the good times, just before the fall of Israel and Judah. In other words, the prophet Micah spoke to the people of God just before their country and their life began to fall apart.
Micah’s words to the people at that time were both simple and eternal. What does the Lord require of you? What God required of people in those days of Micah are the same things that God requires of us today. In our sermon this week, we will focus on reading Micah’s words with integrity and responding with the conclusion: we are called to set aside our own narrow self interest in favor of God’s agenda. We are called to have a radical faith that often stands in tension with culture. When we put our own culture ahead of God’s Kingdom, as was done in Micah’s time, it clearly frustrates God. God intends for us to be more and do differently. Yet, God doesn’t give up on us. God sends prophets to bring us back into relationship with God. Let us recommit ourselves to hearing the words of Micah anew so that our lives and life purposes are more in line with God who calls us to help build justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
See you Sunday,
Rev. Mary Anne Glover