Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Micah 6:1-8

In church on sunday we started going through the minor prophets. We learned about the famous verse in Micah "what does the Lord require of you...."

First of all- this church is SWEET. Its in a classroom at a college in town and the seats are so comfy and its small (maybe 50ish people) and it feels like every week is a family reunion. We sing beautiful hymns and songs i've never heard and have coffee breaks were we 'go connect'.  I'm talking like i've been going forever but really last week was my 3rd sunday :) 

So Dave gives us background of the passage and whats happening. Its a court scene with God as the prosecutor, Israel as the defense and creation as the jury. The charge is that Israel has grown tired of God and wants to go their own way so  Israel is asking "God, what does it take to make you happy?"

God says "hey people....what have i done to you? how have I burdened YOU? I took you from Egypt, took care of you in the 40 years you were wandering about, sent good men and women to lead you, saved you from people who wanted to destroy you!"

And Israel responds sarcastically , adding to the laws "What do you want God? What do i need to give to come before you? Do you want me to give you burnt offerings? Will thousands of rams please you? Want some 10 thousand rivers of oil? ....(and the kicker...) How about i kill my firstborn for my transgressions?" 

To this God gets a little ticked and says "ok- thats enough- you KNOW what i require of you but here, let me tell you yet again. 3 things guys- act JUSTLY, LOVE mercy and put aside your pride and walk humbly with me." Thats it.

Those 3 things can't be separate though. They are one and to walk humbly with God, we must be doing the other 2 as well.
Mercy without justice is chaos. Justice apart from mercy is cruel. And pride of oneself above God is destructive. We need to be justice DOERS not peace talkers. Acting justly doesn't only apply to situations AFTER the injustice has taken place. We must be actively seeking to help people to spare them from acts of justice- acting justly before any injustice even takes place. 

There were 8 levels of charity according to Jewish law back in the day. (level 8 being worst, 1 being best)
8- giving to the poor unwillingly
7- giving to the poor gladly
6- giving to the poor after being asked to
5- giving to the poor before being asked to 
4- giving to to someone you don't know but the recipient knows you gave it to them
3- giving to someone you know, but the recipient doesn't know you.
2- giving to someone you don't know and the recipient doesn't know you either
1- strengthening someone by giving a loan, making a partnership, finding them a job etc, so that you help raise them out of the poverty they are in and no longer will be in need. 

Interesting stuff. I came home from church and did what i normally do...check the blogs, and i read Katie's blog about Sumini's sister Zuula and i just sat at my desk and cried. At the end of the post she asks her readers one question "are you doing what makes your heart sing? are we living generously and expansively?"

She closes with this verse that sums it up nicely. "Dear dear corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as i can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!" - 2 Cor 6:11-13 (the message)

To live openly and expansively, for Christ, requires us to care for those around us. The ones that are visible and the ones we have to look a little deeper to see. We need to act justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with our God. 

Nana Cameron- You can get to your dear Katies blog by clicking HERE. love you!

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