Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Micah, 2of2

~ The Gospel According to Micah ~

The entire Bible is about Jesus Christ and His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection. Through Him we have the Good News or the Message which mankind desperately needs. There is salvation (rescue from the coming judgment) for all who will admit their sin and turn to Him and accept the free gift of salvation which He provides. This is the core message of the Bible which is reflected throughout the entire Scriptures. The book of Micah is primarily a warning to the  Israelites that there is coming a day when God will judge man’s sin—but Micah also spoke of God’s solution for the people’s sin. What echoes of Micah do you see in 2011?

God’s “Job Description” for Mankind   

Micah  ~  Micah said, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

The Gospel  ~  Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48). 

Our “Performance Record” 

Micah  ~  All her carved images will be smashed to pieces; her ornate idol temples, built with the gifts of worshipers, will all be burned” (idolatry, 1:7). “Woe to you who lie awake at night, plotting wickedness; you rise at dawn to carry out your schemes; because you can, you do. You want a certain piece of land or someone else's house (though it is all he has); you take it by fraud and threats and violence” (evil scheming, coveting, oppression, fraud, extortion, violence, 2:1-2). Listen, you leaders of Israel—you are supposed to know right from wrong, yet you are the very ones who hate good and love evil; you skin my people and strip them to the bone” (hating good, loving evil, taking advantage of people, 3:1-2). Listen to Me, you leaders of Israel who hate justice and love unfairness and fill Jerusalem with murder and sin of every kind—you leaders who take bribes; you priests and prophets who won't preach and prophesy until you're paid. (And yet you fawn upon the Lord and say, ‘All is well—the Lord is here among us. No harm can come to us.’)” (greedy religious leaders, 3:9-11). “I will put an end to all witchcraft—there will be no more fortune-tellers to consult—and destroy all your idols. Never again will you worship what you have made, for I will abolish the heathen shrines from among you, and destroy the cities where your idol temples stand. I will pour out My vengeance upon the nations who refuse to obey Me” (idolatry, 5:12-15). “For your sins are very great—is there to be no end of getting rich by cheating? The homes of the wicked are full of ungodly treasures and lying scales. Shall I say 'Good!' to all your merchants with their bags of false, deceitful weights? How could God be just while saying that? Your rich men are wealthy through extortion and violence; your citizens are so used to lying that their tongues can't tell the truth!” (cheating, dishonesty, deceit, extortion, violence, lying, 6:10-12). “Woe is me! It is as hard to find an honest man as grapes and figs when harvest days are over. Not a cluster to eat, not a single early fig, however much I long for it! The good men have disappeared from the earth; not one fair-minded man is left. They are all murderers, turning against even their own brothers” (dishonesty, murder, 7:1-2). “Don't trust anyone, not your best friend—not even your wife! For the son despises his father; the daughter defies her mother; the bride curses her mother-in-law. Yes, a man's enemies will be found in his own home” (dysfunctional families, 7:5-6).

The Gospel  ~  We've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us” (Romans 3:23).

Our Choice of “Compensation”    

Micah  ~  Where is the god who can compare with You—wiping the slate clean of guilt, turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people? You don't nurse Your anger and don't stay angry long, for mercy is Your specialty. That's what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You'll stamp out our wrongdoing. You'll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean. You'll stay true to Your word to Father Jacob and continue the compassion You showed Grandfather Abraham—Everything You promised our ancestors from a long time ago” (7:18-20). 

The Gospel  ~  For the wages of sin is death (never-ending suffering with Satan in hell), but the gift of God is eternal life (endless rejoicing with our Savior in heaven) in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity He put us in right standing with Himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in Him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins He had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it's now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in His rightness” (Romans 3:24-26). “Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in Him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:7-11a). For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18).

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

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