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Decisions: Do the Right Thing

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One time, when I was about ten, my sister made me super mad. I don’t remember why. she probably was making fun of my outfit or something. But, I decided that she needed punishment for what she had done. And we lived in Maryland at the time, and shell necklaces we’re super cool. So she had this shell necklace that she loved. So, I stole her shell necklace from her room, laid it on the ground in the garage and smashed it with a hammer. It was NOT the right thing to do. It was WAYYYYY outside of God’s moral will.
Quick Review: moral will. God wants you to do the right thing. But, what is the right thing?

Do the Right Thing

Micah 6:1–12 NLT
Listen to what the Lord is saying: “Stand up and state your case against me. Let the mountains and hills be called to witness your complaints. And now, O mountains, listen to the Lord’s complaint! He has a case against his people. He will bring charges against Israel. “O my people, what have I done to you? What have I done to make you tired of me? Answer me! For I brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to help you. Don’t you remember, my people, how King Balak of Moab tried to have you cursed and how Balaam son of Beor blessed you instead? And remember your journey from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, when I, the Lord, did everything I could to teach you about my faithfulness.” What can we bring to the Lord? Should we bring him burnt offerings? Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Fear the Lord if you are wise! His voice calls to everyone in Jerusalem: “The armies of destruction are coming; the Lord is sending them. What shall I say about the homes of the wicked filled with treasures gained by cheating? What about the disgusting practice of measuring out grain with dishonest measures? How can I tolerate your merchants who use dishonest scales and weights? The rich among you have become wealthy through extortion and violence. Your citizens are so used to lying that their tongues can no longer tell the truth.
Just briefly, before we split for discussion, I want to walk through the big picture of what Micah does here, but we’re gonna go a little backward.

The People Were Unjust

We’re gonna talk more about what justice means later, but for now, let’s just look at what they did: They got rich by cheating other people. You know how you go to the grocery store and when you buy meats, it’s like four dollars per pound, and then you throw it on the scale and it weighs it out and tells you how much those particular burgers cost? This would be like if Kroger made all those scales add a pound. That means, every time you buy a burger, Kroger is stealing four dollars from you. Which might not seem like a big deal, but they were doing it for bread, which is like what ancient people ate just to survive.
The rich got rich by lying and cheating poor people out of their needs. They didn’t act justly. They just did whatever they could to get ahead. And, we don’t have time to get into the whole thing, but the prophets in the Bible talk a lot about justice and for them, it’s all wrapped together with following God. When you’re unjust, you’re rejecting God.

The People had Forgotten (or rejected) God’s Goodness

If you jump back to the beginning of the passage, you see God’s bringing evidence of judgment on the people, and he asks this really interesting question: “What have I done to make you tired of me?”
It’s like God is saying, hey, listen, maybe there’s a chance this whole thing is my fault. Like maybe I did something that would give you good reason to just totally reject my plan and my commandments.
But then, he follows up and the answer is obviously no. Look at all the stuff God has done for Israel. What are they thinking??
(Aaptiv Illustration)

The People Hope to get God with Religion

So, the people are like, well, what are we gonna do? And they come up with a great idea. Let’s do a sacrifice! And somebody else is like, no way, let’s do a special sacrifice. And then somebody says, no, I’ve got it. Let’s do a special sacrifice, but let’s use 1,000 bulls and 10,000 rivers of olive oil. That’s a lotttttta sacrificing.
And then, they jump one farther and say, what if we sacrifice our firstborn son?! And you and I go whoaaaaa hold up. That is a pretty big jump. So, imagine the people in Grapevine and Denton and Fort Worth and Northlake all worship a different God from you guys. And when they’re gods get mad at them, they sacrifice their kids and poof everything gets better! So, that’s what we should do.
But this is clearly wrong, and not to mention against God’s law! So, they’re trying to get back to God, by breaking God’s law? Seems like that won’t work.
Question 1: If you’re not sure what the right thing is, how do you figure it out?
Question 2: What is a time in your life when you have done the wrong thing? Why did you do it? Did you think it was right at the time?
Question 3: Do you think God is going to accept the Israelites sacrifices? Why or why not?
Micah 6:8
Micah 6:8 NLT
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Remember, they’re wondering out loud if they can come back to God with these escalating sacrifices. And what’s the answer? NO. He says, you already know what is good. And what is it? It’s to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly.
Here’s the problem with you and I: we know what good is, but we redefine it to fit our needs. Remember, in the garden of Eden. What was the sin? They ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They wanted the ability to decide what is good and what is bad. When we sin, we choose bad over good, but we say that it’s good.
This is, like super deep-seated in our lives. But the good news is that Jesus fixes it! He always does the right thing—even when it gets him killed. He loves mercy, and like everything he does is in humility. He perfectly encapsulates this idea of “justice.” That’s what this verse is talking about. So I want to finish with a video about it.
What we need instead is to do the right thing. We need to line our lives up with God and seek the same kinds of things he seeks. That word for “right” here
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