Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘humility’

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

I keep wondering why people keep losing focus on the big picture. People tend to dig in and drill down to the details and seek the nitty gritty. That somehow usually leads them down the road to what are called minor details. But when the details become a distraction, I often am reminded of that notion that the devil is in the details. Ain’t he, though?

We can get lost on that fact that God is talking down to Israel and Judah. We can get caught up to God calling them out of their name. We have to see beyond God pleading with them to return to Him with repentance and a rejection of other gods. We have to see the big picture is that God was wronged by both Judah and Israel and that this prophecy is part of how things play out between God and them as their inevitable punishment is on the way. If we lose sight of he big picture here, we will continuously wrestle with the minor details and miss the message that God has for us to glean from this Old Testament prophecy.

How God Responds to Sacrifices

“. . . Your burnt offerings are not acceptable nor your sacrifices sweet to me.” (v. 20, NKJV)

Think about what God is saying right here. He just finished sharing how this nation has refused to return to Him. In fact, He shares that they are not even ashamed of the abomination that they committed against Him. He shared that he had set watchmen to sound the trumpet, but they had hardened their hearts and refused to listen. Check out verses15-17 in chapter 6 to see what I am saying.

Compare this to God’s sentiments in Isaiah 1:10 regarding sacrifices and offerings. If you lined those verses up side by side, they might pass for twins or at least kissing cousins. They are so similar in the subject matter and the sentiments of God’s seething rage and fury. In essence, He is not impressed with the ritualistic displays of the so-called holy nation. Nor is He interested in their sacrifices and burnt offerings, even new moon celebrations and similar activities. God basically says that they can keep all of that.

What God Truly Desires

God’s desire is for more than sacrifices. God’s desire extends beyond burnt offerings. Even though it might be the first born or the best of the best from among your flock, it is not at the top of God’s list for what he wants from us.

Take these two verses to Hosea 6:6 and Psalm 40:6. These verse share that our offerings are not worthy of God’s attention when our hearts are not in the right place. Amos 5:22 says that God will neither receive or regard these offerings. In the following verse, he says he doesn’t even want to hear them sing their songs. In verse 24, He simply speaks on justice and peace. In Micah 6:8 adds: “And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

What does this tell you about ritualistic religion and relationships?

What is God’s desire?

Doing Just as God Desires of Us

We cannot offer God anything in place of what he desires from us. All of what we bring forth is futile and meaningless unless we have sought to fulfill the desire of God. We cannot expect Him to be pleased with our outward activity if we have not cleansed and cleared out a place for Him in our hearts. God desires to be in a relationship with us as His people.

God back to chapter 4 and the calling for the people of God to circumcise their hearts. Look at this chapter where it is said that: “Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. . .” (v. 10, NKJV). Keep in mind that the circumcision was a sign of the covenant between God and His people. It was an outward sign of a spiritual commitment. What God is saying is that our spiritual commitment and connection with Him should be binding like a covenant and it should keep us tied to Him beyond the outward trappings of offerings, sacrifices, and the semblance of symbolic worship.

“And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” – Matthew 12:7.

Think about it as we read chapter 6 this week. Be sure to tune in to our midweek livestream Bible study discussion on this chapter on Wednesday at 11 AM PST via YouTube. Look at it as a boost to your Bible reading and Bible study as you seek to devour the Word on your own.

Check out last week’s Bible Study session with Pastor Powell & myself

Read Full Post »

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

Oftentimes, Christians see issues of their days and times and superimpose them into the biblical prophecy of the Last Days and point out the most likely public figure who fits the bill to be the Antichrist. This is usually a futile exercise in trying to give it a name and a label rather than trying to deal with the matters of the day.

Black Lives Matter & Protests for Social Justice

Is it still a question for some who believe if Black Lives Matter or not? I wish that I could say that it is an unfair question, but there are plenty who profess the love of Christ who find it difficult to love all of God’s creation and creatures, including their fellow man.

Look at blog posts from others that speak to the fact that Black Lives Matter has to be defended or justified as a statement. I read posts from folks like Cynthia Reyes and I feel like the depths of the despair experienced by countless people of color has been echoed in the kindred voice of another in the blogosphere. I read Thinking Moon’s post and realize that we both share a love for Toni Morrison (and she picked my two favorite works by her, too), but we both have two entirely different walks on this earth as a person of privilege and a person of color.

Christians do not have to hold a come to Jesus meeting about coming to an agreement about protests for social justice, police reform, and Black Lives Matter. We do need to acknowledge that there is a problem within our communities and across our nation in the United States that has captured our attention in the midst of a major health pandemic. We do need to agree that, despite many of the best intentions of good Bible-carrying believers, many Christians will not act on such matters until the pastor, the shepherd of the local church, has shared spiritual words of guidance on these same matters. The matters of today have come before the altar of the house of the faithful and await a word from on high as heavenly light from above shine upon them like a spotlight.

Doing What’s Right is Right

Seeking social justice is right. It is biblical. It is the Christian thing to do. The words in Micah 6:8 said for us to “do justice.” Naturally, English makes for a poor translation but I think we could get the point. Our measure for our religion is a matter for how we treat others. The question to answer is: Are we doing right by what the Lord calls us to do?

Aretha, the Queen of Soul, said it in a secular sense when she spoke a Do Right Woman and a Do Right Man. Could you be considered to be one who is in the business of doing right, especially doing right by others?

Jesus used a parable to speak about the “least of these.” He pointed out that the way to do right by the Lord was to do right by others. He depicted through this parable a way to do right for those who could not do you a solid and pay you back. He let us get a glimpse of what it truly means to be godly and gracious, by showing that we can show compassion towards and offer comfort for the hungry, the imprisoned, the naked, and the others that life seems to easily overlook.

And What Does the LORD Require of You?

And what does the LORD require of you? It is inserted in a retort in this passage due to the insinuation by the people that the Lord is asking them to do the impossible. The notion that the people presented to the prophet was that the Lord was being too hard on them in what He sought from them.

. . .but to do justice

We can say a lot but our actions speak louder and in greater volume than our words. We can say that Black Lives Matter is trending on Twitter and will fade away like the chants of “No justice, no peace.” The truth is that justice is right and we are called to do right as claim to love our neighbors as ourselves.

. . . and to love kindness

Kindness is like love. It’s all action and feelings. It’s not double talk. It comes down to our interaction with others, especially those who do not look like us, sound like us, or even believe what we believe.

. . . and to walk humbly with your God

Humility is a lost art. It is as ancient as things like respect and righteousness. To “walk humbly” requires us to humble ourselves. I believe C.H. Spurgeon said it best when he is quoted as saying: “Every Christian has a choice between being humble and being humbled.”

What will be your choice today?

Read Full Post »