In The Presence of God
In The Presence of God
When we come to God in worship, how do we approach Him? Is it with reverence? Or with a fervent desire to please Him?
In this passage, the people come to God in worship but their perspective, their motivation is wrong. We can see three things concerning God’s care and concern for relationship with us.
I. He seeks to reprove us
This passage begins with a court scene. In this scene the Lord issues an indictment against His people. People are called to hear what the Lord is about to say.
The word “hear” is used in 1:2 and 3:1, signifies major section in the book.
HEAR—Shama means “hear, harken, listen, obey”
Calls for “effective listening or hearing”
ILL: When my Dad wants to get my attention he usually says something like “Do you hear me? Or “Are you listening to me?” He wanted to get my attention.
God says HEAR to get their attention, but there’s more…He wants them to respond.
Hear what?—The Indictment of the Lord.
This is a lawsuit oracle: Israel has broken God’s covenant.
The people are called to hear.
The mountains are called to witness.
INDICTMENT—God is calling on the mountains and the hills to:
testify to Israel’s continued unfaithfulness and to His abiding faithfulness.
When we say God’s covenant what do we man?—The Book of the Covenant: EXOD 20-23
Biblical covenants have several parts to them:
- Prologue—a brief history of tow the two parties came together.
- Stipulations—obligations of both parties
- Witnesses to the enforcement
- Sanctions—blessing and cursing
- Document clause—periodic review of the stipulations of the covenant.
Book of the Covenant:
- Directions concerning worship, i.e. prohibition against images and the form of the alter for animal sacrifice.
- Ordinances for the protection of Hebrew slaves.
- Laws concerning injustice:
- To man by man.
- To man by beast.
- To beast by man.
- To beast by beast.
- Laws concerning theft.
- Laws concerning damage to a neighbor’s property.
- Sundry laws against profaning Yahweh’s name, under which are included proper worship, avoidance of oppression and dutiful offering of first-fruits.
- Laws against various forms of injustice and lack of lovingkindness toward others.
- Laws concerning festal occasions.
- Warnings against certain wrong practices in their sacrifices.
- A promise of God’s continual presence with them
So then how did they violate the covenant?
The people were guilty of social injustices.
2:1—They “work out evil on their beds” and in the morning “do it”.
2:2—They coveted fields and homes and seized them.
2:9—They evict women from their homes and oppress children.
3:2—They “hate good and love evil”.
3:9—They “abhor justice” and “twist everything that is straight”.
3:10—They “build Zion with bloddshed” and “violence”.
3:11—Their leaders “pronounce judgment for a bribe”; priests “instruct for a price”; and prophets “divine for money”.
6:10—They are wicked men and their houses are filled with “treasures of wickedness”.
6:10, 11—They use false measures, false scales, and deceptive weights .
6:12—The rich men of the city are “full of violence”, they “speak lies” and their “tongue is deceitful in their moths”.
It is against such injustices that God brings His indictment before His people.
His actions are corrective.
APP: Just as He reproved the Israelites for breaking the covenant, He reproves us when we disobey Him.
II. He seeks to remind us.
God brings forth His indictment in the form of a question: “What have I done to you, how have I wearied you?”
Instead of bringing specific charges, He poses a question.
Yahweh is saying “What have I done to wear you out? How have I burdened you?
He calls on them to answer.
If He has been unfaithful to them, then bring the evidence forward. Since indeed they have no such evidence. He then calls them to remember His righteous acts.
When He calls them to remember—He has in mind remembering coupled with “appropriate external acts”.
There are two righteous or saving acts He reminds them of:
- Bringing them out of Egypt.
Moses, Aaron, and Miriam—in stark contrast to the leaders, priests, and prophets in Micah’s day.
- Bringing them into the Promised Land.
From Shittim to Gilgal—It was at Shittim that Balak tried to have Israel cursed and it was from here that God led them across the Jordan River.
Purpose—to remind them that God had always been and would always remain faithful even though they had not.
Nice that throughout vv.2-5 he addresses them as His people.
APP: Remember the righteous acts of God.
We constantly reflect on the Cross. The empty tomb, and the risen Christ. Why? Because it is the ultimate redemptive act.
We also reflect on the reality that we will be redeemed from this earthly existence to dwell forever in the presence of God.
But there is a danger:
We dare not regard these reflections as trivial.
The story should not lose its freshness.
We should not stop with salvation . It is not the end but the beginning.
III. He seeks to restore us
Section begins with a pivotal question.
How can sinful man come before a holy God?
God called them to respond to His indictment.
In response they seek to know what He expects.
They seek to approach God with meaningless and ever-increasing sacrifices.
From typical offerings—to thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of oil—to their firstborn.
What God expects is Justice, Mercy, and Humility before Him.
Its not about sacrifices, its about service.
Its not about how much is given, its about what is given.
1 John 2:3 “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments”
1 John 2:6 “the one who says that He abides in Him, ought Himself to walk in the same manner as He walked”
What does God expect? What does He require? Its you. Not just your body, but your heart. Are you willing to give your life over to Him? Do you need to renew your relationship with Him? Are you obeying what He says for you do? Be encouraged, there’s hope and there’s help. It’s all found in Jesus Christ if you will simply come to Him today, acknowledging your sins and give your life over to Jesus Christ. Let Him be Lord of your life.