Christian life flows from what we have already received from God in Christ.
Ross shared with us last week...
Why do we do the things we do - attend church, sings songs, give money, involve ourselves in ministry?
People in Micah’s time took the sacrifices of calves and rams, offering of oil, things God had asked His people to do, and turned them into bargaining chips – to try win God over, rather than relating to Him in love and depending on his grace.
The way of the Christian is trusting in God’s goodness, rather than trusting in what we bring to God as a gift.
We finished at Micah 7:18-19 [speak of what God does, not us]
“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
Those verses lay the foundation for us in living out Micah 6:8. For when we respond rightly to the message of judgement, of the reality of our sin and turn to God in repentance, He will pardon and forgive and throw our sin far from us into the depth of the ocean, never to be brought up again. A wonderful picture. He does this out of His steadfast love. He delights not in anger, but mercy and love.
This is the foundation for Christian living - We are people who first and foremost are recipients – we have received abundantly, generously, from God in Christ, Micah 7:18-19. From this foundation we launch our lives - in response to His loving kindness. We have received from God, so when we read :
"He has told you what is good and what the Lord requires of you- to do justice and love kindness/ mercy and to walk humbly with your God" - we are inspired not by guilt, but rather inspired by grace.
Doing justice with loving kindness
Micah speaks of the opposite in this book, especially among the leaders. We see a people who DETEST JUSTICE, covet and steal, oppress, corrupt business practice, oppression of workers, and violence. They act as a nation of people lacking justice.
We are privileged in this country, although not perfect, to be in a relatively just society - business law, employment law, criminal law, all ensure justice is done for workers, consumers and victims of crime.
At an individual and church level, we can’t just say the state does it all. We know that there are gaps, and imperfections. Opportunities for us to do justice. We need to step in and deliver a person in a weaker position, where human-needs have been denied them. In the same way as the Good Samaritan - an individual who came upon an opportunity and chose to do justice to the beaten up victim. Whilst two others had the same opportunity to show loving kindness, they passed by. When the Samaritan saw the person in need, the first thing mentioned is that HE HAD COMPASSION. He had loving kindness. He was the one who showed mercy. He did what the Lord requires - To do justice and to love mercy, to love kindness - he had the right action and the right attitude. He had the heart for it.
We cannot solve all the worlds needs, such as hunger, strife and injustices, but it is required of us to have a compassionate heart, ready to step in to provide relief and see ways which we can reflect God who is concerned for the helpless and weak - those in need. Those who are vulnerable.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
We need to SHARE. Our food, home, resources, time.
“if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted.”
Jesus poured himself out for us. The opposite is to seek your own pleasure. If you pursue that, God can wash away all our hard earned efforts to keep ourselves in a good secure position in life.
Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
If we have food to eat and a roof over our heads, ultimately it is because God has provided it for us … He can take it away. So we rest in His loving kindness. His loyal love to us.
We can struggle with security and confidence, because we see life as so competitive and uncertain. If I help someone else, what about me?
When we really understand Micah 7:18-19, we have a position of security and confidence. We do justice from a position of security and confidence that we are in God’s care. We are secure in the knowledge that God has brought us into His kingdom as heirs with an inheritance. We belong to God. We will transition to be in His presence, which far exceeds the best thing this world can provide.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Rest in what we have received and continue to receive from Him, so that we are liberated, not trying to secure our lives. We can’t be more secure than we already are in Christ. We are liberated to show the loving kindness to our neighbour, as God has shown loving kindness to us. We have received from God, so we give to our neighbour. We have received abundantly, generously from God, we can do like-wise.
Therefore, I can pour out myself as I see opportunities to do justice for my neighbour.
Walking humbly with your God.
This is a prominent theme in the bible - walking with God.
Adam and Eve walked with God in garden in cool of the day
Genesis 5 - "But Enoch, he walked with God..."
Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
Joshua 22:5 Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Walking with God is doing His will, being on the same page, doing what He desires from us as we live.
Knowing what is important to Him, becomes important to us.
The people of God in Micah are not walking with Him. They have turned their backs walking with idols of nations.
For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels (Idolatry, evil, injustice- Naboth’s vineyard)
[ Future time from Micah’s day] “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”
He teaches us the way, so that we may walk with Him, walk in His paths. God is just, God is concerned.
Walk humbly with your God.
Once again, the more we grasp the truth and reality of Micah 7:18-19, the more we walk humbly with God. There is no room for independence, no place for pride, no reason to pick and choose how we relate to Him, but do so on His terms. We are to want Him to teach us His ways, we are to want to walk in His path.
Having a compassionate heart and doing this is not natural, not easy.
Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.