In these verses that lead up to one of the most oft-cited passages
from Micah, the prophet lets the people of Israel know
that God is lodging a complaint against them. God calls upon
creation to sit in judgment—from the high places of the earth
(the hills and mountains) to its foundations. Creation listens
while God challenges and laments.
The charges against the people offer a narrative of redemption.
God has redeemed the people from slavery and sent them
leaders and prophets. When foreign rulers tried to use the
prophet Balaam to turn God’s power against the people, Israel
actually received blessing through God’s own word.
What an amazing message! God’s deep care and concern for
the people results in God’s taking repeated action to call them
into relationship. God also enlists creation to call them back
from ways that undermine the essence of who they were created
to be. God continues to call them, as God called Abram, to be a
blessing to the nations.
Hearing the actions taken by the Holy One of Israel confirms
one aspect of divine character: God persistently works to reclaim
the people God has called.
As people created in God’s image and claimed by God
through baptism, we could well ask ourselves: What testimony
would God offer about the times God has reached out to gather
me in—as an individual and within a community of faith? In
the narrative from Micah, God asserts that these acts matter, that
they are part of a relationship, and that they set the context in
which a faithful people are empowered and expected to live lovingly
and justly. God’s lament urges Israel to remember God’s
acts so that they can live as people of the covenant.
May we remember the many times you have called us into relationship, O Lord, and may our lives reflect our own commitment and love in response. Amen.
The four texts for this Sunday join in warning the people of God that they should not be confused or intimidated by appearances or by how the larger society values this or that. A faithful hearing and responsiveness to the God of the Bible may not fare so well or look so good in terms of the world’s standards of judgment. But what is required and blessed is a community ordered according to the covenantal commitments, shaped by God’s gracious promises, and attuned to what Paul called the “foolishness” and “weakness” of God.
• Read Micah 6:1-8. When have you sensed God’s anguish over human injustice?
• Read Psalm 15. Where do you need to speak truth from the heart, do what is right, be without blame, or be reconciled?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. How have my limited expecta- tions of how God works caused me to miss God’s action in my life or the lives of others?
• Read Matthew 5:1-12. Which of the Beatitudes do you feel most blessed by? Which best describes your life of faith?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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