Micah 5:1-7:20, Revelation 7:1-17, Psalms 135:1-21, Proverbs 30:5-6
Today is the 16th day of the December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it’s wonderful to be here with you today as we continue our journey through the Scriptures this year. And it seems as if, more often than not at the end of the year, we’re entering a new book almost every day. Today isn’t one of those days. We began the book of Micah yesterday in the Old Testament and we’ll conclude it today. And we are settled into the book of Revelation, which is the last book of the New Testament, and for that matter, the last book of the Bible. So, we’re reading from the God’s Word Translation this week. And today Micah chapters 5 through 7.
Okay. So, we encountered some poignant things, not only for the season, the time of the year that we’re in but…but actually for the entirety of our lives every single day and we found that the book of Micah today because Micha was exploring what God really wants. Like, what does God really want. What are the core expectations here? And, so, we’re in a season where we’re doing what we can to give everybody in our lives what they want. So, considering what God wants, that's…that’s fair. He gave us the gift of eternal life. What does God want that we might be able to give him as a gift for Christmas? But before we can explore what God might want we need to look at what God doesn’t want. And before we can think about what he doesn’t want we have to consider some sad questions that God asked through the prophet Micah. And we can certainly listen to these questions and say, “well, God’s talking to ancient Israel.” And that would be true. But we can also listen to these questions and ask them of ourselves. So, God asks. “My people, what have I done to you? How have I tried your patience? Answer me.” Sit with that for a minute. Maybe even push pause and sit with that for minute. “What have I done to you? What have I done that your tired of me? Answer me”. That gets profoundly disruptive when you’re not just thinking about how unsettled you are. In having this kind of unnamed angst about God changes the whole dynamic when you consider God’s present and it is you and Him and you are alone and He is asking, “what have I done to you? What have I done to make you tired of me?” That changes things, doesn’t it? That’s disruptive. But, you know, if we were to replace my people in this Scripture with our own name then it would be even before disruptive. But we wouldn’t expect God to be asking those kinds of questions - “Are you tired of me? What have I done?” These kinds of things we ask God. We don’t expect Him to be asking them of us. It’s like in Micah God is saying to the people, “what other hoop is there that I would need to jump through to get your attention? What else do I need to do to prove that I love you?” And that is a heartbreaking thought, that the Creator of life and Sustainer of life would ask those kinds of questions and ask for an answer. That’s pretty sad. And God went on and listed a number of ways that He had been caring for and protecting His people all along and they still betrayed him. So then Micah starts talking, “like what would we need to do? Like, what would…what rituals of worship would we enact here? What sacrifice…like what are we gonna do?” God has just asked us this question that is so profoundly revealing and so profoundly sad. “What else do I have to do to show you that I love you” is basically what God is asking. And, so, Micah’s responding, “like, what do we need to do? Like, is more sacrifices gonna fix this? Is that gonna show him that we’re repentant? And is…is that…is that what he wants?” Because we need to give God what He wants. Is this what He wants, for us to just amp up our sacrifices and rituals and worship services? Because the people had been…as rebellious as they were…still kept obeying the law as the centerpiece of their culture. And, so, that’s where they would turn. Let’s just do that better because that will give God what He wants. So, Micha’s pondering this. “What should we bring when we come to the Lord’s presence, when I bow in front of the God of heaven? Should I bring him a year-old calves as burnt offerings? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with endless streams of olive oil? Should I give Him my firstborn child because of my rebellious acts? Should I give him my young child from my sin?” Micah’s building it up here. “What does God want from us?” And was that what God wanted? Does He just want them to offer more sacrifices or obey the law better? Was that what he wanted? It’s not what God wants. It’s not what he wanted then, it’s not what he wants now. Micah says, “you mortals, the Lord has told you what is good. This is what the Lord wants from you, that you do what is right, that you will love mercy, and that you live and walk humbly with your God.” There you have it. That’s what God would like for Christmas and for every day that you breathe the life-giving air that He gives you moment by moment, to do what is right, to translate that from Hebrew literally means that we act justly. And he wants us to love mercy, which is not the same as occasionally being merciful. He wants us to love mercy, and he wants us to walk humbly with Him, to move through our lives aware that He is within us and around us and that we are in His presence, and we cannot escape His presence, and in knowing that understanding that we have a role to reveal His love that He has shown us to all our brother and sister human beings throughout our lives. This is what He wants. But if we pause again and just ponder for second and just think, “okay, you know, I see this is a heart issue and I do want to give my Father what He wants. If we think about it, this is what we want too. Because what we’re talking about is wholeness. And this Christmas season can leave us feeling anything but whole. It can feel like we’re fragmented and pulled in every possible direction. The rhythm of our year, it gets disrupted around this time of the year. And, so, sometimes those stretching and fraying that we feel brings up deeper questions inside. You start asking, “what’s the purpose? What’s the meaning of all this” and it starts to creep in. And it’s important in these times to remember that God may be in that, shaking us, inviting us deeper. So, we’re…were working hard to give those that we love things that they want and it might be important to remember that what God would like is that we act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with Him and we can give Him this, if we simply pay attention.