Our social media newsfeed is now being populated with promising politicians whose primary concern, according to their TV ads, is to bring an end to our poverty. These promising politicians claim to be interested in helping the masses in their dire time of need and are making assurance of their willingness to stoop low, be one of us, make us feel like we are indeed their ‘boss’.
Welcome to the comedy of our democracy.
And when I say promising, what I am referring to are their many promises, and not their leadership potential.
We have become a breeding ground for politicians who have been professing much and performing little. But is the conduct-creed disparity applicable only for politicians? Or has it already been ingrained in our system?
The prophet Micah, in his ministerial time, has seen all the illnesses of his generation. He was sent to declare God’s message to a generation where there is rampant corruption. Obviously, his message of rebuke to the people is never welcome. In fact, a person who tells people what is really happening in the world is not welcome. Yet the Lord’s message has to accomplish its purpose in the lives of the people.
Through Micah, the Lord has declared judgment against Israel and Judah for their oppressive deeds to the poor. The wealthy keeps on amassing wealth for themselves, leaving the poor helpless. Land grabbers deceive those who are unfortunate to defend themselves. There was manipulation on the economy to favor the greedy. As a result, those who have very little end up with even less.
Worse, their leaders aren’t even concerned with the welfare of the people.
Her heads judge for bribe,
Her priests teach for pay,
And her prophets divine for money.
Yet they lean on the Lord, and say,
”Is not the Lord among us?
No harm can come upon us.”
– Micah 3:11
So the Lord, in His righteousness, has to pound the gavel.
“Therefore because of you
Zion shall be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins,
And the mountain of the temple
Like the bare hills of the forest”
– Micah 3:11-12
Is this scenario familiar?
The Lord isn’t pleased with the corruptible lifestyle of the people in Micah’s time. And He holds no different standard when it comes to us. He gives a warning not to condemn us nor annihilate us, but for us to come to repentance. When God gives judgment, often He delays the execution, not because he is indecisive but because He is merciful. He doesn’t want His beloved people to perish in the first place. So He has given us our hope, Jesus.
The problem with the people in Micah’s time is that they claim to be the Lord’s but their actions prove them otherwise. They brag about being God’s chosen nation yet they are not even living up to God’s instructions. What really, does the Lord require of them? Likewise what does the Lord requires of us?
“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly
To love mercy
And to walk humbly before your God”
– Micah 6:6-8
Do justly – The people of Micah’s time have been earning money through unjust practices, thus jeopardizing their integrity and testimony. This is a direct affront to the righteousness of God. Remember that the Lord upholds justice and He doesn’t want people to take advantage of others.
Love mercy – God is close to the brokenhearted and he cares for the poor so much that’s why he wants His people to be His eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet that will take care of these unfortunate people. However, this is not the case with them. Rather than getting help, they were beaten, harassed and worse, robbed by their own people.
Walk humbly – When humility is absent, the people elevate themselves to a point that they think they no longer need God. Micah’s contemporaries think to themselves that the Lord doesn’t care so they will just take matters into their own hands. They became proud of themselves and insulted God in the process.
In these three areas, the Lord wants us to represent Him in a world where there is too much corruption and materialism. Our religion is not a title that we brag before about people to show our spiritual status. There must be no disparity between our creed and our conduct.
Again, God is not a God who delights when people gets punished because of their sins. He is a compassionate God, One who desires the best things for His children. That is why He warns people of the impending judgment should they continue sinning. His mercy and compassion doesn’t contradict His just nature. He cannot say He loves us and allow us to continue living our sinful lifestyle.
The good thing about Micah’s ministry is that the people who were lending him a deaf ear at first eventually did listen to him. Even King Hezekiah, the king of Judah that time, was deeply impressed with his message. He led the people in repentance and a measure of blessing soon followed.
Likewise, in our own sins and failures, God offers us his forgiveness. He doesn’t leave us without hope. We may be drenched in the mire of moral corruption or materialism, but there is no depth of sin the forgiveness of the Lord cannot reach us.
“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
– Micah 7:18
God is indeed a compassionate God.