Thursday, May 6, 2021

Micah 6:6-8

Micah 6:6-8
English Standard Version 

  How do you earn God's love and favor?  
  There are any number of ideas.  In Micah's time, the right sacrifice might have been one idea, in the hopes that the Lord might smell the aroma wafting to the heavens and be pleased with the one who thought to give it.  Or perhaps the Lord might exact a higher toll, thinking that a better price would secure more favor from God.
  No, that's not the way to God's heart.  God's heart is reached because God opens that heart to us.  And because God does so freely, out of grace, we are freed to live not out of obligation but out of gratitude, choosing to love and serve one another because we have been graciously accepted by God.  You are defined by what God has done.  You have been accepted regardless of what you have done.  Therefore, treat one another with kindness, seeking justice, turning to God in humility and gratitude.  
  What else is there?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Micah 5:1-5

Micah 5:1-5 
English Standard Version 

  And they shall dwell secure, the prophet writes.  
  Secure.  
  That sounds wonderful.
  Throughout you'll life, I imagine you'll battle insecurity.  Some people fight against food insecurity.  Others fight against monetary insecurity or housing insecurity.  There's job insecurity, where you jump from job to job or live in anxiety of losing your current job.  There's mental insecurity, where you maybe feel like you're not good enough or don't have the resources to overcome what you need to overcome.  There's relationship insecurity.  
  I could go on.
  In God, you will dwell secure.  Every need will be met.  The strength of the Lord will be great to the ends of the earth, meaning that all opposing forces will have been banished from existence. 
  Security.
  And God will be your peace.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Micah 4:6-7

Micah 4:6-7 
English Standard Version 

  Imagine you're a kid, and you're picking kickball teams.  You pick the strongest and fastest first, right?  You want to win, so you figure out who the best athletes are, and those are the ones being picked first.  The weakest kids get picked last, because they have the least chance of helping the team win.  
  When God is picking the remnant, those who will be built into a strong nation, who does he pick?  The Lord gathers up the lame.  God collects those who have been driven away.  The Lord will reign over a kingdom comprised of the weak.
  From the world's perspective, this doesn't make any sense, but God doesn't work the same way the world does.  We fully realize the strength of God when we accept our own weaknesses.  We can't earn our way back to God through whatever strength we have, but when we look to God's strength, we realize that it doesn't matter how strong or weak we may be.  The strongest champion in the world is on the same level as the weakest beggar in the world -- this is the beauty of the Gospel.  None can brag about themselves or their own achievements or their brilliance or cunning or wisdom -- the Gospel is the great leveller, and we'd be wise to remember that we aren't any better than anyone else on this planet when it comes to earning God's love.  We're all weak, but God is building a kingdom rooted in God's strength.
  May this knowledge help us be more compassionate and gracious towards those who are weak in the  eyes of the world.  May we see the treasures in one another.  Look in the eyes of one another, from the powerful to the individual begging for money by the offramp on the freeway, and see the humanity in every eye, and remember that God's Kingdom will gather the weak.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Micah 4:4-5

Micah 4:4-5

  I once visited a refugee resettlement organization near Atlanta.  The families there had to be convinced that there weren't any lions in the nearby forest, because they were accustomed to fearing lions in the woods.  That's one thing Atlanta doesn't have.
  Every person on this globe has a set of things they fear.  Some live in fear of their lives every day.  Some fear for their future, while others fear for their ability to provide for themselves or their family.  There are lots of fears we can set aside in America, but there are unique fears to living here as well, and the percentage of people on anti-anxiety medication is a testament to people living in fear.  
  One of the hallmarks of the Kingdom of God is that fear will be banished.  You'll be able to sit under your own tree and live in peace, true peace, lasting peace.  No one will make you afraid.  
  Imagine what that would be like for you.  What fears would disappear?  What could you set down?  How would you relax?  
  God wants to give that to you.  God's desire is for us to start living into that now.   The promises of God aren't meant simply for a brighter future -- they're intended to comfort us and give us the peace and joy of living into those promises in the present.  So close your eyes and rest under that fig tree for a moment.  Rest into God's peace.