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What the Lord Requires …

05.20.18 Nathaniel Wall

  1. What the Lord Requires …
    05.20.18 41m 21s
  2. Being Diligent
    05.13.18 40m 43s
  3. The Root of Happiness
    05.06.18 46m 05s
  4. Anxiety
    04.29.18 42m 54s
  5. Mission Sunday
    04.08.18 46m 27s
  6. The Glory of God in the Face of Christ
    03.04.18 45m 35s
  7. Unity and Hope
    01.28.18 46m 21s
  8. The Struggle is Real
    12.17.17 51m 10s
  9. Contentment
    08.06.17 44m 27s
  10. Value
    03.26.17 30m 37s
  11. Brave: People of Character in a World of Chaos
    03.12.17 43m 00s
  12. the Body of Christ
    01.08.17 32m 16s
  13. The Message That Will Change Your Life
    01.01.17 34m 18s
  14. Obadiah
    10.30.16 37m 24s
  15. 3 John
    10.16.16 48m 54s
  16. Haggai
    10.09.16 28m 19s
  17. 2 John
    10.02.16 39m 36s
  18. Philemon
    09.25.16 39m 04s
  19. The DNA of ABC
    08.28.16 51m 47s
  20. Baptism Sunday 2016
    08.21.16 34m 26s
  21. Addressing Fear and Anxiety
    08.14.16 35m 48s
  22. A Recipe for Victory
    06.19.16 37m 07s
  23. I Am With You Always
    06.12.16 39m 33s
  24. Mentoring the Heart
    05.22.16 40m 36s
  25. One Mind
    02.28.16 31m 00s
  26. Christmas Refuge
    12.20.15 44m 03s
  27. Your Christmas Gift
    12.13.15 38m 43s
  28. Bethlehem
    12.06.15 32m 23s
  29. Persecuted Church
    10.25.15 39m 57s
  30. The Most Counter Cultural Command
    09.06.15 38m 31s
  31. State of the Church
    08.30.15 43m 28s
  32. The Fear of the Lord
    08.23.15 37m 40s
  33. Baptism Sunday
    08.16.15 27m 41s
  34. Let Us Go To Him
    06.08.14 47m 49s
  35. The DNA of Alpine Bible
    06.01.14 46m 15s
  36. Preparing for Easter
    04.13.14 40m 26s
  37. A Heart God Desires
    12.01.13 34m 37s
  38. Evil, Suffering and God
    11.24.13 42m 23s
  39. Win the Worship War
    08.11.13 34m 13s
  40. Live For Christ and Living Like Christ
    08.04.13 36m 26s
  41. How do we keep from losing heart?
    07.28.13 41m 41s
  42. Bible Stories: Jonah and the Whale
    07.21.13 41m 06s
  43. Forgiveness
    11.25.12 46m 47s
  44. The Persecuted Church
    11.11.12 43m 30s
  45. Driven
    04.29.12 35m 58s
  46. New Year’s Resolutions
    01.03.12 33m 30s
  47. Baptism
    08.14.11 22m 30s
  48. The Passover
    04.24.11 38m 02s
  49. Go and Learn What This Means…
    12.05.10 33m 07s
  50. How Good is Good Enough?
    08.15.10 43m 57s

What the Lord Requires …

05.20.18 Nathaniel Wall Standalone Series

And I’m going to invite you to turn to the book of Micah, you know, one of those regular books you read out of the Scripture. If you have any trouble finding it, just go to the book of Matthew, first book of the New Testament. Go back about eight little books, and then you’ll find the book of Micah tucked away there in the minor prophets.

While you find that, I’m going to give you just a few thoughts of thanks to you as a church family. I want you to know that I’m a little bit under the weather today. I actually wasn’t even supposed to preach today. I’m actually the substitute today for someone else who was ill, and then, lo and behold, here I am now. If I fall over, or whatever, just give me a second. I’ll get back up.

Just as being gracious, let’s say to all of you this morning, I’m thankful you’re here, and I’m gonna show my love by not getting near you, okay? If there’s something you feel urgent to share with me, I will be up here after the service is over.

But thankful to share God’s Word with you this morning. And I want to say thank you to those of you that have taken time to love on our family the last couple weeks. My wife recently gave birth to our third son, and some of you just offered words of encouragement, stopped by just to show your support in different ways. Really want to thank you for the food. If I knew there was a possibility that I could eat like I ate this past week, if I could do that for the rest of my life, the Walls would turn into rabbits and we would have children all the time. So don’t tell my wife I said that, but we ate like kings and queens at our house, and it was just wonderful to feel love and appreciation from you as a church family.

And I want to say thank you too, this is a little late in coming as thanks, but recently we took an offering for our building project, thinking about the future of Alpine Bible Church. We have over $2700 come in for that, so thank you for everyone that just gave and care about … that you care about the future of our church and what God desires to do in us and through us.

Last thing I want to tell you before we jump into this book is next week we’re going to start a new series in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is … if you were in those scenarios where you’re stuck on a desert island, someone said to you, “You can only take one book of the Bible. What would it be?” For me, hands down, book of Hebrews. It’s that book that takes all the pieces of Scripture and really shows you how the Bible ties together and the elevation of beauty of Christ in this world and what he means for us.

And so we’re going to use this summer going through the book of Hebrews, understanding how God ties everything together in Scripture through that book, in Jesus, and really just use this summer to connect in our relationship with God. So next week, we will start that. I will tell you, if you’ve got friends that are just questioning Scripture, want to know what the Bible is about, trying to figure things out, the book of Hebrews is a beautiful place to jump in and learn about those things.

When it comes to the book of Micah, I’m going to give you a little bit of backdrop from a personal story as to why I think this book is important for us. This past week I had one of those great father moments that just melts your heart, makes you feel loved and thankful that you have an opportunity to love on your kids, as my youngest got injured, and he came to me and he was crying and I was holding him and just trying to comfort him. And he looks at me and says, “Dad, can grown-ups hold grown-ups?” I’m like, why do you ask me can grown-ups hold grown-ups. And he looks at me and he said, “Dad, ’cause I never want you to stop picking me up.”

He doesn’t know this, but my life as a father … at least I’ve never just stated this to him. I’m sure he knows it by my life and living before him, but my life as a father is about picking him up. And to be the kind of man that God calls him to be. And that happens by allowing God to pick me up and to be the kind of man that God calls me to be.

And you think when it comes to parenting, you really … It’s fun to enjoy the moment with your kid, but the big thing that God’s called you to is to keep in mind the end goal, right? What is it that you know that God has called them to, that place of maturity. What kind of person do you desire for God to make them and mold them into? And God makes you the instrument to be the greatest voice to speak into those lives to see change. And it’s not just with children. It’s in this world. And by walking with the Lord, God’s got you in a place to speak into this world and to see changes God works in your life.

And the book of Micah is a lot like that story. God wants to keep holding his people really despite them falling. God is constantly there with them. And when you read the story, you’re starting to see a picture of these southern tribes of Israel. There’s already been a civil war break loose, and the ten tribes of the north have already broken off, and the two tribes of the south are now on their own. They’re just these two together, and Micah and Isaiah are prophesying during this time. And you see the godly starting to become the minority. And their back is against the wall, and the people are walking away from God, and God’s using Micah to warn Israel that the Assyrians are going to come and ravage the nor … to take the north captive and ravage the south and Jerusalem. And then Micah warns them that Babylon’s also going to come and take the southern tribes. And this book explores accusations and warnings to Israel through Micah. God is speaking to them. And then he offers them restoration and hope.

Now I want you to know this. I don’t have time to go through all the book, through the book of Micah, but if we go through this today and you’re interested, if you pick up the bulletin today, there are some connection group notes, questions related to this passage that we’re going to go through. This is the last week for connections groups, by the way, our mid-week studies.

And on the back of it you’ll find an outline for the book of Micah. And it helps you think through the way that this book is broken out. But Micah’s no different than most prophets when you read them. They come with warning, and then they offer restoration, hope. Judgment, warning, restoration and hope.

And so when you open the book of Micah, first two chapters there’s judgment and warning, and then the last two verses of chapter two, there’s this hope, where God pictures Himself as a shepherd leading His people towards restoration in a pasture that provides for them. And then in chapter three there’s warning again, and the warning is led by Israel’s leaders, spiritually and politically, they’re corrupt. They’re leaning on the side of those that have wealth. If you’ve got money, you’ve been their ear, their bribed, they take advantage of the poor, and the poor are neglected and they’re helpless and hopeless. And God’s bringing judgment on them. He describes it in chapter one and two like Mt. Sinai. And God’s saying to them, in this judgment Babylon, Assyria’s coming. The temple will be destroyed.

And then in chapter four this hope comes again, where God will rebuild this temple, and God will bring the people back to this New Jerusalem. And then in chapter five it starts talking about this messianic king who will come and he would be born in Bethlehem, and he will restore his people. At the end of chapter five, the final justice will take place and the removal of evil. And behind every warning, there is hope and joy.

And then in chapter 6 … and once again between chapters six and seven, offers these warnings and this hope. In chapter six, he starts to talk about the leaders of Israel again and how they’re taking advantage of people, both spiritual leaders and political leaders.

And then God, in Micah, sort of gives this theme verse of what His desire is for His people. Kind of the statement of, if God’s people would live this way in the midst of adversity, they could see real change in the hearts of the environment around them. I mean, you ever get to that place where you might feel like you’re the only one? You kind of put your feet in the ground and you want to stay where you’re at and you want to fight, but you look around and you might feel like you’re the only person in that battle. Sort of your back’s against the wall and you get that pessimistic attitude. “Well why don’t I just join the rest of the crowd because at least I’ll be with the crowd.”

And God really makes this statement in Micah 6:8, in the midst of this judgment statement of what He desires for them to be. How they can be difference-makers in the world around them, and he says this. “He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness” … some translations say mercy. “And to walk humbly with your God.”

To see the Lord work in your life and through your life, I think this passage nails it beautifully for us. And that’s really what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about thinking about being a father. And not only being a father to lead my kids, but how God leads me in my life. I think this section of Scripture really puts the target for us in where God desired us to strive and live, to watch Him make a difference in the world around us. So God comes back to this passage of Scripture and he highlights this for Israel.

Now let me just be devil’s advocate for just a minute because I want us to see how this is relevant for our lives. We could ask the question, I think it’s fair to ask. This is Old Testament, we’re Christian. I read New Testament. So how does this Old Testament passage become applicable to my life? Because this is talking to the Jews and I’m not a Jew. I wasn’t born a Jew. And so here I am, New Testament, so this passage doesn’t really apply to my life because it’s talking about the way that God desires for them to live in the Old Testament.

Let me just … It’s a fair question. I don’t think everything God told Israel to do in the Old Testament we should be doing today. Let me give you an example why. Old Testament, God tells us in the very beginning, first three chapters of the Bible, a messiah is going to come. He’s going to rescue us in our sin, right? And so we were looking for that messiah. And along the course of Scripture, very early on book of Genesis, chapter 12, it tells us that the promise is coming through Abraham, right?

And the minute God marks an individual person, he’s marking this people group. He’s identifying exactly where the messiah would come from. And if you want to stop the coming of that messiah, what are you going to go against? I’m going to kill Abraham, right? I’m going to kill God’s chosen people. I’m going to attack them. And what you see in the Old Testament is God creates this theocracy through these individuals that become therein the nation of Israel. And God works in them and through them to bring this messiah. And so you see a theocracy where God rules a people group.

New Testament, different, because the blessing that came through God’s chosen people, Abraham, it was told in Genesis 12, Genesis 15, Genesis 17, Genesis 18, that through him all nations would be blessed. That God’s desire, while pointing to us where the messiah would come from, is to bless all nations, all people groups. And so no longer is God just stuck to the nation of which the messiah would come, but God has infiltrated all nations. And so now, rather than take up arms to defend and protect the line of the messiah, God calls his people to put down their arms and proclaim the goodness of Christ.

Now I think there’s a place for military. I don’t want to get into all that. I’ve got to leave that right there for now. But I just want you to see that in the Old Testament there was a way of thinking that’s not quite the same way into New Testament because God’s revelation has progressed in how the messiah has worked. He’s come through this people. Now he’s blessed all nations. And that’s where we find ourselves. So how is this passage relevant?

I tell you, when you look at the statement of Micah 6:8, you’ll find that what God is speaking to in this verse, it’s talking about our actions, but the actions are derived by the heart. So if you think about this in this terms, it’s saying, this is what God requires of you to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.

So I’m going to look at it like this. The first two things is more what God desires for us to do. Justice, love kindness. And then He gets to speak more to why. Humbly with our God. The God is speaking to the nature of our heart.

We look at the Old Testament and New Testament, the character of God is made known throughout both sections of Scripture, that God does not change. The same God of the Old Testament is the same God in the New Testament. God hated sin in the Old Testament. God hates sin in the New Testament. And the New Testament picture is just over a few decades. In the Old Testament, you’ve got hundreds of years spanning out and a lot more narrative told. In the New Testament, you have that same God that hates sin. I mean, you look at Revelation, for crying out loud, Jesus comes back with a robe dipped in blood and a sword that comes out of his mouth, right? I mean, that is a powerful god.

And when Ananias and Sapphira lie in the book of Acts, God strikes them dead immediately. It’s the same God, old and New Testament. But what you see in this passage is the character of God communicated to us, and what He desires to live out in our lives. So that’s where the application is still made in our lives.

If you want to dab a little deeper in this in Scripture this week, I would tell you Romans chapter 2 to chapter 4, really. Romans 11. Galatians 3. Good passage to look at. But just consider this. Romans chapter 2, verse 29. “But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, but the spirit, not by the letter, and his praise is not from men but from God.”

So if you’re catching what it’s saying here is Jews thought they were Jews because of what they did outwardly, ritualistically. But what God is saying in this passage is no, true Israelites are the ones that are turning their hearts to God. It’s not the circumcision on the outside. It’s they laying down your life on the inside, the circumcision of the heart, the giving yourself to the Lord.

Galatians 3, Paul says the same thing in verse 6. “Even so, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” God said to Abraham, “Through you, I will bless all nations belonging to the seed of Abraham.” And then verse 3, “The Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham saying the nations will be blessed in you.”

So when it comes to passages like Micah 6:8, it’s the reflection of the character of God and, therefore, I think the application still makes its usefulness in our lives. What’s this passage saying to us? To live justly. New Testament, James 1:27 talks about justice. To love mercy or kindness, Titus chapter 3, verses 1 to 5. To walk humbly with God, James chapter 4, verse 10. Same character of God in the Old Testament re-spoken into the New Testament to call God’s people.

What God is saying to His people in the Old Testament, today, in the midst of the perversion of life, when it comes to the way you steward your life, God cares. God cares. And not only does He care, but God can use you to make a tremendous impact in this world.

I was crunching numbers this week, and I just tried to think, in the scope of our lives, what God allows to pass through our lives that we can all relate to, what we all typically have as people living day to day. God gives on average, most of us, 27,000 days on earth. Most of us will make somewhere in the range, there’s different estimates on this, but somewhere in the range between two to four million. And all those things that God gives us in this world, whether it be days, whether it money, or whether it be talent, whatever it is, I think that the proper focus to have as we come to a passage like this is to understand that none of it really belongs to us. And all of it was created by God’s hand. But rather, what God allows us to do is to be stewards of it. And so what Micah’s reminding us of is when it comes to the way you steward your life, that God cares.

And so he tells us these two things he desires for us to do. And I want to get to the last part of why, and that’s humility. But He says this, “That we would do justice.” What the Lord requires of you, to do justice. What does it mean in our lives to live justly? And to do justice? When it comes to understanding justice, I think most of us in our typical mentality, we think about talking about being fair. Someone’s not fair to you then, by God, you’re going to quote this verse. You better be just, ’cause this verse means I get to do justice. Now give me what’s fair. Right?

But when it comes to Biblical picture of justice, it’s much broader than just you getting your justice. In fact, this word for justice, Old Testament talking about God, really even today it’s more of a … it’s a scandalous way to think about God. Especially Old Testament times, because picture of God in the Old Testament is that God loved those that seemed favored in life. If you have, it’s because God loves you. If you don’t, it’s because God’s against you. And in both cases, you are receiving justice.

And so there was this, God blessed me because I’m something great, or God hates me because I’m something just cursed in this world. And when you read about the Biblical picture of God, God in His justice is one that defends the poor, the orphan and the widow. This was a different concept in the way people thought about God. In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons in the New Testament the church took off in such a wildfire fashion.

In Rome, a lot of Rome was slaves. Women were degraded. They weren’t allowed to carry a testimony in the court of law if somebody violated them. And yet when you read into the New Testament, you see God giving worth, value and meaning to all people. In fact, the book of Genesis is written to slaves who were freed from Egypt, finding identify now, being made in the image of God. And so when God talks about justice, He’s not just saying, “Okay, you go get your justice.” But when God talks about justice, He’s picturing Himself as a father who’s picking up a child in the midst of the desperation and brokenness of life. The widow and the orphan and the fatherless, those that are in suffering.

In Psalms 68, verse 5, it says this. “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely. He leads out the prisoners into prosperity. Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”

That’s why James says in James chapter 1, verse 27, “Pure and undefiled religion is this, to care for the widow and the orphan.” That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 25, in verse 35, “When I was thirsty, you gave me a drink. When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was naked, you clothed me.” And as Jesus is speaking there, the rest of the people go on and they say, “God, when were you thirsty and we gave you a drink? And when were you hungry that we fed you? And when were you naked that we clothed you?” And Jesus says, “What you’ve done unto the least of these, you’ve done unto me.”

God’s justice is much deeper than your justice. You see that. True justice has a lot to do with the shalom, the peace, of God. It doesn’t just mean you find it, though God desires for justice against sin. It also means that you carry the characteristic of God by fighting for those who are too weak to find the justice themselves. So you can compare this idea of justice in Scripture … Look, in Isaiah chapter 58, verse 6 and 7, it says it like this. This is in the NIV translation. “Is not this the kind of fasting I’ve chosen: to loosen the chains of injustice and untie the chords of the yoke to set the oppressed free and to break every yoke? Is not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter. When you see the naked to clothe them and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.”

What the Lord is saying here in this passage in Isaiah, He’s talking, when you see the wanderer, you help them. This is talking about a foreigner. When you see a foreigner. And then he goes on and describes that foreigner as being of the same flesh and blood. Saying that there isn’t multiple species or multiple races in Scripture. When the Bible talks about people, there is only one race. It’s the human race. And God is saying to his people here that true justice is to look at the foreigner in his need and for all of us to care for that. That is the emulation of the character of what God is. It’s not just about your justice, but about equal treatment for all. It’s about a special concern for the vulnerable.

And look in Zechariah chapter 7 verse 9, “Thus has the Lord of hosts said, dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother. And do not oppress the widow, or the orphan, the stranger or the poor.” This is quite contrary to the day of Micah and the understanding of God. In Micah’s day, the leaders are oppressing those that are without to benefit themselves. They take bribes and lean to the wealthy, neglecting the widow and the orphan and foreigner. God is saying, “That is not me. That’s not true justice.”

So the mark of his character, mark of his people, what we find within God’s people, is equal treatment, special concern for the vulnerable. And if I took it one step further, it’s in fighting for those who are weak. It’s this idea of generosity. It’s to understand that many of us, in our lives, the reason that we are where we are is only by the grace of God. God determined when you would be born, where you would be born. And the things that pass through your life, they could have very easily been in someone else’s hands. But you’ve become stewards, right? And to what end?

In the book of Micah, I can see, even people with a godly heart, they look at the environment around them and they say to themselves, “Well, they’re pursuing theirs and their own. What’s the use for me? I’ll just do it for myself.” And God shares the characteristics of Himself in fighting for the weak and the vulnerable, even to the point of generosity, right? I already read Micah, or Isaiah 58 verse 6 and 7, how you look out for people, but in Leviticus 24 verse 22, “There shall be one standard for you. It shall be for the stranger as well as the native for I am the Lord your God.”

This idea of justice, not just for self, but in the blessing of what God does for you in your life, to understand that God has put you in positions and given you certain things to exercise in this world to demonstrate the just character of a God who defends the fatherless and cares for the widow.

Then he goes a little further and says to love mercy and kindness, right? Micah 6:8, to love mercy or to love kindness. You understand what this word mercy maybe directly relates to in the book of Micah and Micah’s people, at this time, would have been completely justified for God to judge them. But God’s merciful.

You know, I think about this in the scope of being a parent with a child that just says, “Pick me up.” When it comes to the idea of parenting in this world, I think there’s a vast different to understand what God is doing in this section of Scripture, when it comes to understanding punishment or discipline, right? We talk about punishment, it’s all about wrath. We’re going to look at this phrase, for God bringing out anger in a minute and distinguish this, but it’s all about wrath and punishment.

But when you talk about discipline, it’s about love. It’s about understanding who God has called you to be, right? When I discipline my children, it’s not because I want to bring the anger of wrath against them. It’s not because I hate them. It’s not because I just want them to feel the pain because they’ve done something that I despise. I understand, my kids are going to stray from God. But God has called them to so much more, and I love them. And because I love them, I think about the end goal of what God wants to produce in them. And so I discipline them towards that cause, right?

That’s what the book of Micah is saying here. This idea of mercy. It’s not this pouring out of wrath, the destruction of everyone, but to understand, there is a place for God’s mercy to be made known because God is calling us to something in this world, and when it comes to the Micah in this story, it’s this way of God’s judgment coming. But there’s also this restoration and hope that this continual promise because God is a merciful God. And this is what he says in this passage. He says, “Love mercy.”

I like “do justice” and I wish it said, “do mercy.” But “Love mercy.” Do I love mercy? When everyone else around me is going the opposite direction, it’s easy just to make the excuse and join in with the crowd. But do I love mercy? Do I love kindness?

Now, for those of you who’ve watched the news this week, you know the greatest news story that could have possibly happened probably in the last decade. The royal wedding, right? Took place. And I did not watch that. I want to be a part of that club that would like to continue to proclaim that. But my mom did. And I was sharing with her this passage this morning, and she said to me … When she watched the ceremony, she said you know one of the most beautiful things that she enjoyed in that ceremony, of which I didn’t want to listen, but I’ve got to maintain my status in this club of not watching it. But she said that the way that the minister spoke, whoever it was, I don’t know, but about the power of love. What changes people, right? Guilt, nagging. The grace of God and love, right?

Think about what Jesus has done in your life, what changed you in coming to Christ, to see such a savior that loved you so deeply that you embrace him. You think about Micah’s people in this day, what God requires of them, to do justice, to love mercy. Love’s the greatest force to change in the heart.

And then he says, “To walk humbly with our God.” I think this verse, while God tells us what we are to do, justice and mercy. When we talk about walking humbly with our God, this verse tells us really why we’re able to do justice and love mercy. This word for being humble, this is really the only time in the Old Testament this Hebrew word for humbleness appears. There’s one other time where it appears as an adjective, but this word means modest. But when you consider humility in Scripture, there’s different words that are used for humility, but this idea for humility in Scripture … Humility is the language of God. If you want to get near God in your life, humility is the language.

You’re going to see, I’m going to show you in just a moment, we’re going to back up and look at two verses where they ask the question, “Okay, God, we know your judgment is coming against us in the book of Micah. Now what can we do? How can we do this list of things, what we can make it about, in order to get you to do what we want again?” Right? And so it’s all about just making this God against sin happy so they can make life all about them again. But God’s language is humility.

Let’s just say this maybe from another way. God will never speak into my life without humility. The laying down of myself. Humility’s the place where God finally comes to me and frees me.

Martin Luther, when he led the Protestant Reformation, and he tacked the 95 theses on the door. The very first statement that he led with in tacking those theses, he said this one. “When our Lord and master Jesus Christ said repent, he willed the entire life of the believer to be one of repentance.” I know when we say the word repentance in our culture today, we don’t necessarily have healthy views of what that means, but this is really what it means. Surrender. It’s really about laying yourself down and not asking God what He can do based on what you want, but rather why He created you and what he desires for your life. In humility, I no longer seek God because of what I want, but because of who He is.

I think our society, we get ethics and morality and purpose and meaning, I mean everything in life, messed up on this phrase because we don’t understand humility before God. We see ourselves as God. And we define life as what I want and see God as the obstacle for me to achieve it. And so we divorce ourselves from Him. And if we remain religious at all, it’s simply to come before God to make Him give me what I want, but life is about me. And humility becomes the place where we recognize that, no, life is about Him.

I didn’t create me for my purpose. But rather, He created me for His purpose. Now when you say all that, there’s this war I think that happens with inside of us that just wants to buck against that naturally. But here’s where that war stops. When you recognize He is good. And no matter how great of dreams you can dream while you make yourself your own god, God far out exceeds them all.

There is this place of asking the question, what will you trust. Yourself? Or Him? You look at the story of Micah and see how that plays out for the people, right? I’m after me and mine to the destruction of yourself and your people. Versus what God says in Micah 6:8, “Pursue the Lord in humility to the benefit of all people.”

Not only is this passage saying that God cares about the way you live, but he also cares about why you live that way. Why do you do what you do? Why do you want mercy and justice? To feel good about you? Because of the goodness of your God, right?

In humility, we come to Him. In Micah 6:8, you see this contrasting of thought between religious mentality and living really in relationship with God. And so these people know, they see in verse 6:8 what God has said to His people. But just previous to this, they see God’s judgment and they say, “Okay, God, what can we do? What can we do to get back to where we just want to do what we want to do to make you happy?” And so Micah 6:7, it says, “With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to him with burnt offerings with yearly calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams and in thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

Religion. What do I do? And based on what I do, what can I get? It’s all about what? But what God points to here in this idea of humility is quieting the harp before this king who desires to rule all things, including me, and the question isn’t really what can I do because when I do all of these things, I can do all of these things and never really give my heart to God. “Okay, God, get off my back.” Right? “Here’s your oil. Take your goats and get lost.” But never connected.

What God is saying in these passages, it’s about not what, but who. Who I know and who I can bless. So who I know is Lord determines the scope and picture that I have of me and therefore my life and the things I possess and what God has given to me, and in turn, in knowing that God, how I can bring justice and mercy in this world because he has brought justice and mercy to me in being one who defends the fatherless and the weak, that I might know Him and share Him.

When it comes to the way you steward your life, God cares. Because it’s a greater reflection of where you are in your relationship with him. Is God really your ultimate prize? The mark of humility is the demonstration. And when humility is lived out in our lives, we see this attitude of justice defending the weak. And this loving mercy, loving kindness. We can’t wait to bless the life of others because of the way God has blessed me. It’s not about me and mine and what I get. It’s about His glory lived out in my life as I’ve connected to Him in humility with the relationship before my God, that His glory be made known in the one that He has created in His image.

And so when I examine my life, I can no doubt see I fail, right? I mean, if I just said to you, “What if in the quietness of your room when you’re left to just your thoughts, what kind of things do you think about? Where does your heart go? And what do you dwell on? What if those thoughts were just exposed to the world? What if everyone in here knew them? What would people think of you?”

It’s pretty incredible to see a God whose loving kindness never ends, right? When I think about the kind of person that might rest in my heart, I examine Micah 6:8 and I just think about this passage of what God calls us to do. It says this. “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God.”

I don’t always do justice. I don’t always love kindness. And I don’t always walk humbly with my God. I fall. But you know what I need. I need a father to pick me up. To think about what he’s called me to into this world. Forgive me. Dust me off and let me live for that glory. To see what I can’t see in myself. And when your back feels like it’s against the wall and everyone else might not stand with you, to understand that greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. And this is exactly where Micah ends. The character of a father to a father, thinking about a son who’s going to be a father. And this is what is says. “Who is a God like you who pardons sins and forgives the transgressions of the remnant of His inheritance. You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”

Let me just say this about anger. Sometimes when we think about anger, we picture God as this one that just kind of blows his lid. But when the Bible talks about anger, God is not one that just blows his lid. We painted another picture last time, we’re saying about this reckless love. From our perspective, God’s love of total abandonment and sacrificing his life for us, it looks completely reckless. Like why would you do that. I can’t fathom it. Right? But to God, his love wasn’t reckless. His love was completely stated in Scripture from the beginning, that God knew that he would give his entire life for you.

And the same thing with anger. God doesn’t just reach this boiling plot and just blow his lid and tell everyone to hide. God knows the beginning from the end. God’s not ever disappointed with you. There’s nothing you’re ever going to do that’s going to disappoint God because He already knows everything you’re going to do before you do it. What anger is saying when it talks about God is there’s this level of sin that he will tolerate, and then God will bring this discipline. Why? Because He loves you and He understands who He’s called you to be.

And that’s what the book of Micah is communicating to the remnant, to God’s chosen people. “You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us. You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be faithful to Jacob and show love to Abraham as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in the days long ago.”

God’s already showed you in the beginning, you belong to Abraham. In Christ, you are the seed of Abraham. So what’s the passage say to you? That God has called you to such beautiful things in this world and that God is a God that picks you up for this battle that you may strive in him. How? Well it starts in humility. “God, I’ve failed. God, I’ve sinned. But God you are good. You are a good, good father, and you love me now, and you’ll love me in the future. And you will keep picking me up.”