MICAH 5:1-7:20 | REVELATION 7:1-17 | PSALM 135:1-21 | PROVERBS 30:5-6
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Micah is a man on a mission and continues to tell it like it is.
The Lord’s case against Israel is laid out plain for all to see. He tells them:
2 “Hear, you mountains, the LORD’s accusation;
listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the LORD has a case against his people;
he is lodging a charge against Israel.
And what do the people have to say for themselves? Is there a defense in the house? How exactly might atonement be made?
There’s a running list of things that could be done, but would that be sufficient? Alas, it will not. These questions all precede the answer that is eventually provided:
6 With what shall I come before the LORD
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
The Lord has been patient with his people, but Israel’s guilt and punishment must run its course. Could there be a worse curse against these people? This is, sadly, the punishment that they must bear:
14 You will eat but not be satisfied;
your stomach will still be empty.
You will store up but save nothing,
because what you save I will give to the sword.
15 You will plant but not harvest;
you will press olives but not use the oil,
you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.
Israel’s misery is finally self-evident. But just when you think all hope is lost, Micah voices the regret and remorse that must come forth from the lips of his people:
7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.
9 Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the LORD’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
And finally, there is an appeal to God’s mercies:
18 Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
in days long ago.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Revelations, the fantastical imagery of John’s visions continues. It is reminiscent of the type of dreams that Daniel used to have.
This passage bears testament to the human diversity of God’s people. No longer is Israel the only one who has the pleasure and the privilege of calling herself a child of God. With the new plan and the new law (in the coming of Christ), there are people from every corner of this planet who may do the same. “A great multitude” is how it is described. John writes:
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
And if there was ever a doubt about the mercies and compassions of this God, here is unequivocal assurance:
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
Turning next to our Psalm for the day, we find the psalmist offering a simple yet beautiful praise in this verse:
3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
And then, he points out — as he has done many times before — the futility of worshiping gods made by human hands. He says:
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
16 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
17 They have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
May it be that you place your trust in the Living God.
And finally, a couple of verses from the book of Proverbs, authored by Solomon, wise king of Israel:
5 “Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.