Monday, April 24, 2017

The Lord’s Controversy

Micah 1

One of my frustrations with so much that passes for good writing in the Christian blogosphere is that it is dedicated to simply reacting to the issues of the day. Look! Starbucks is attacking Christmas! I must respond! Look! Target is attacking my daughter! I must respond! Look! The Democrats are attacking prayer! I must respond! Such blogging satisfies a temporary emotional urge to vent, and gets attention if it is inflammatory enough and I understand that, but I desire to be different. I want to write something worth reading (whether anyone bothers to read it or not) and I want it to still be worth reading twenty years from now.

Because of this I tend to write connected series. I want to explore issues and topics in some depth. That is usually best done in a book but it can be done (carefully) in a blog as well. Further, in a blog it is free to one and all; books are not. Thus it is that I have written series on music, alcohol, urban ministry, soul winning, how to respond to hypocrisy in leadership, worship, how to pay a pastor, etc. as well as the gigantic series on the life of Christ that birthed this blog.

In this vein I begin a new series today, yet one that is different too. For the next three or four months on this blog I am going to walk you through a small, rather obscure book of the Bible. In a sense this will be like my first book, though substantially shorter. It will not be controversial. It will not be inflammatory. It might not even be interesting, frankly. What it will be is scriptural and helpful, if you care to read it. It will also give you a much better understanding of one of the books of the Bible that you probably don't have a clue about. Thus it is that I invite you to join me for a while as we explore the book of Micah together.

The foundational thought establishing Micah is that God has a problem with His people, Israel.

6.1 Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.
2 Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.

In this we notice two things. First, we see the depth of the problem that God had with them. The dictionary defines "controversy" as a prolonged and public contention. The original language has ideas behind it such as strife, quarrel, and legal dispute. This is not a light word. It is not a simple disagreement over something relatively minor. Additionally, God uses this strong word not once, but twice. In essence, then, we see that God has a big problem with the behavior of His people.

Understand this – that the Lord has a controversy with Israel, and that Micah is God's messenger attempting to deal with it – and you understand Micah. Over the course of 105 verses Micah will logically explain that there is a controversy, Who it is that has the controversy with them, why they cannot counter-claim against Him, what exactly the controversy consists of, who God blames for the problem, what will happen if they do not fix it, how they can fix it, and how God will ultimately deal with His people.

The second thing we notice immediately is Who exactly has this controversy with them. This is not just some quarrel between women at the market, or even between Israel and some neighboring political power. It is the Lord Himself who has a problem with their action.

1.1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.

The Lord GOD is Jehovah Elohim, the incredibly all-powerful and completely righteous and holy God that has a problem with them. And whatever they thought was going to protect them from such a one as Him was not going to stand a chance.

Does this not, then, reveal something to us that is critical to understand about God? Does not this, then, have some bearing on our lives nearly three millennia later? It must, beloved, and for me it is this: our God is a demanding God. If He gives us a set of directions or commands He expects to be obeyed. In the fullness of time He will not let the world get away with any sin, but beyond that, He will not even let His own slide. He is too good a parent for that. What He requires of His people will be required, not ignored. He will call us to account for our actions. We will not get away with it.

The Lord has a controversy with His people now and again. Wise would we be to heed it.

1 comment:

  1. Look forward to reading your blog, "The Lord's Controversy". Amen on what you have said thus far and "oh me" as well. I for one need to be reminded that "God is a demanding God."