Consider a lawyer as he sets forth God's case against the people of Israel and Judah. That was Micah's job. God did not like the sin that happened then, and He doesn't like it today.
The book of Micah was written to God's people, the children of Israel in the Northern Kingdom, and of Judah in the Southern Kingdom. It was written to warn them of the coming judgment from God but to also for them to repent. Throughout the book of Micah, the need for peace and justice is emphasized. We will look at a section during the trial of the people.
In verses 1-2:
The mountains are called to confirm the guilt of the people. We can see these “high places” is where the pagan alters were built by the people of Israel and Judah, and where they offered sacrifices to false gods. The mountains represent a great kingdom. The hills represent lesser kingdoms. In as such, this applies to the kingdoms all over the world. (1 Kings 14:23, Jeremiah 17:2-3, Ezekiel 20:28)
The Lord had a controversy with Israel and with Judah. God brought charges against His children for disobedience, idolatry, and sin in their lives. Religious leaders failed in their task to return the people to God. Spiritually and morally the nation had declined, along with their conduct toward God. So, in a sense, God is a parent scolding His children. (Hosea 4:1, Hosea 12:2)
If only the people would repent of their wickedness when confronted with their sins. This has been a continual issue throughout the ages. When will we ever learn?
In verses 3-5:
How could the people answer God's question of “What have I done unto thee?” God has always been patient, has always guided them, and given them ample opportunities to repent. God has not and will not do anything wrong. Man has failed. How do we respond to this question today? Has God mistreated any of His children? Has He left His children despondent and destitute? (Jeremiah 2:5, Jeremiah 2:31, Deuteronomy 3 2:15, Judges 10:6)
God brought them out of Egypt by using Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. God had given them instructions at the Jordan River before they entered the Promised Land, then again after they crossed the Jordan. These two sites were reverent places that represented God's love, His protection, and warning of possible troubles ahead of them. God is reminding them of what He brought them out of and where He was guiding them to. (Joshua 4:19, Joshua 5:3-9)
Now during the time of Micah, they had forgotten all that God had provided. The people had continually been short sighted, thankless, and refused to see how blessed they had been, even though God had been kind and merciful. They were self-absorbed and took God for granted. We should always be thankful and remember all the things God has done for us and brought us through. He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5, Exodus 20:1-2, Psalm 77:20, Numbers 22:5-6)
In verses 6-8:
Ritualist sacrifices, offerings and traditions do not please God. The people could not understand why God was displeased with them. The people had said that God told them how to perform the rituals and rites, but they did not realize that they were only performing from an outward perspective, not an inward one. All they could think of is “Haven’t they not done enough?”
The issue is not about generosity from a materialistic or financial viewpoint. It is not about what we have done outwardly but what we do inwardly. They even questioned about sacrificing their children, which God definitely does not condone. (Leviticus 1 :3, Leviticus 6:9-13, Leviticus 18:21, Leviticus 20:1-5, Isaiah 40:16)
Changed lives, fairness, humbleness, mercifulness, and to be justly is what God wants. We are to be a living sacrifice and to live rightly. A transformed life, a transformed mind, and a transformed heart is what we need. This is not about a works religion, for we cannot work for our salvation, it is a free gift from God. Outward display of doctrine without an inward encounter with God is useless. (Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 9:14, Jeremiah 4:4, Deuteronomy 10:12-13)
That is not only directed to Israel and Judah, but to all mankind worldwide. “To do justly,” that means having righteousness before God. “To love mercy,” not only the mercy of God but to others in our daily dealings. “To walk humbly with thy God,” being submissive to God's will. We cannot do this out of our own strength or without the help of the Lord. We must have the fruit of the Spirit within our lives. (Leviticus 26:41, Isaiah 57:15, Galatians 5:22-23)
So many people have tried to live by rituals and traditions, yet they still have an unclean heart. How often do we examine ourselves to verify if we are living the way God wants us to live? Are we fair and live a humble life? Do we show love and mercy to others? We must be born again. We must believe in His name. (John 3:7, John 1:12)
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