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"BUT AS FOR ME"

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Studying God’s word is one of the most important things that you can do on a daily basis.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of that we do not know it all yet and we need to keep studying.
So I want to start with a little exercise to see how many well known phrases you can tell are in the Bible or not. So keep a mental tally and see how many you can get. (12 Phrases)
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Bible or not). “A drop in the bucket” (Bible or not?). “By the skin of my teeth” (Bible or not?), “A scapegoat” (Bible or Not?), “To the ends of the earth,” “labor of love,” “No rest for the weary” () “at their wits’ end.” () “nothing but skin and bones,” “Rise and Shine (), “seeing eye to eye” ,
So how do you think you did? How many of the 12 were from scripture? Actually all of them. Is it not amazing how much just single phrases have lasted.
I wanted to do this to show how just one phrase can reveal a powerful principle and stick in our minds and be remembered as the one that we are going to study today but again...
Studying God’s word constantly and Knowing God’s word are vital to having a consistent and close relationship with Him.
One of the things that I have always hoped my preaching would do is encourage people to engage God through opening up His word daily. Not just to say they studied but to hear what God has to say to them.
If you commit to doing this with a humble and open heart I guarantee your life and relationship with God will be changed.
Studying God’s word is so powerful because it gives you so many truths to use in your life. Sometimes even one phrase can become a stronghold for your spiritual life.
For example: “Be strong and courageous” can help us when we face fear. “Fight the good fight of faith” when we are facing a hard battle with trials. When we are tempted, “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you will bear.” Or “God is near to the brokenhearted” when we are hurting emotionally. “If God is for us, who ____ __ ________ us?” When we are facing opposition.
There is a single phrase from Micah chapter 7 that is powerful for when we need to do what is right when so many others are not.

“But as for me” is about Personal Conviction!

In the middle of Micah’s telling of the sins of Israel in chapter seven he stops and in verse seven talks about Himself in contrast to Israel.
Micah 7:7 ESV
But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
This is a statement of Micah’s personal conviction to trust in God because He knows God will hear. He starts by saying “but as for me” which sets Him apart from else.
The main message is about Micah’s trust in God for the future. This verse is very powerful because it speaks great truths to us about how we should trust in God and if we really trust we are willing to wait.
We will wait because we know that God hears us and we hope that He knows the right timing for everything and is ultimately in control.
This may be a declaration you need to make right now concerning something in your life. Sometimes you have to be different and not get worried.
You may need to say, “everyone else is worried and stressed but I’m going to trust that God has heard my prayers and will work things out just in time.
It would be easier to trust and wait if everyone else was being calm right? But everyone else is not calm. People get worried easily. People are anxious about things. You know what I mean right?
It is almost like we automatically go to worrying about the negative possibilities instead of praying for the positive. And we even say things (I’ve done it, we all have) I hope such and such (insert terrible outcome here) doesn’t happen. Have you ever done that?
It is like putting a worry in the form of a positive statement. It’s worrying about something but making it sound like your not. The terrible outcome is still the main focus. Hope is a positive thing. Let’s hope God is going to work it out and be expectant that He will and pray.
Sometimes we try to start off positive and people start giving their negative input and it tempts us to go right along with their negativity and unbelief.
(ill: you have faith and trust that God is going to work but people start talking negatively about what might go wrong or the difficulties or obstacles…give specific example....)
Like the 12 spies: we can choose to go against the majority with our trust like Joshua and Caleb or we can allow the people who are focused on the negative persuade us.
BUT AS FOR ME” is a statement of PERSONAL conviction and trust in God.
OUR TRUST IN GOD SHOULD BE JUST THAT: OUR TRUST IN GOD! It is not dictated by whether or not others are trusting in God or not.
Think of all the things that would have never happened if certain individuals in scripture allowed the majority to determine their personal level of faith.
David would never have defeated or even gone up against Goliath! He would have been scared like everyone else.
Peter would have never stepped out of the boat and been the only other human being besides Jesus to walk on water. (For a minute anyway).
Jesus would not have done the miracles, raised the dead or gone to the cross.
Paul would not have suffered the persecution that He did when no one was with Him. And on and on we could go.
The point is that if our trust is our own God can do great things through us despite what others are doing or not doing. (God may work great things through you if you would let go of what the majority is doing or not doing because of a lack of trust in God.)
Micah’s faith, hope and serving God did not depend on what others were doing or not doing.
Israel was involved in Idolatry and trusting in worldly things because they did not trust in God. It is no different today. People are trusting in things rather than God and it dictates HOW THE LIVE THEIR LIVES.
Trans: So if your faith is your own you are willing to say...

“But as for Me” is Not About Popular Opinion!

MICAH IS NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO USED THE PHRASE “BUT AS FOR ME.”
You have probably already thought about the other much more well known person who used this phrase long before Micah did:
Joshua 24:15 ESV
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Just like Micah, Joshua was not concerned with majority or popular opinion. He was going to serve God no matter what the rest of Israel did.
What is incredible here is that these people were not people who did not know about God. These were not pagans, they were supposed to be God’s people as they claim to be. (It is kind of like the majority of Americans claim Christianity but their lives and even beliefs are far from Christian.)
This conviction to do what was right even if it wasn’t popular is what made Joshua a great leader. If a leader looks to what the majority wants always then they are not leaders but followers in a position…this is why so many politicians are horrible leaders that do not make change happen.
JOSHUA LED ISRAEL TO DEEPER PURE DEVOTION TO GOD BECAUSE OF HIS STAND.
What happened when Joshua said “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord?” The people were convicted to follow God only and put away any false God’s.
We need leaders today in our families and in the church to be willing to boldly live out and say what they stand for despite what the popular opinion is. Why? Because others will follow.
Scene from the movie Braveheart: William Wallace is talking to Robert the Bruce (a Scottish Nobel) who had great influence over many people. William has led a revolution and battled and become a Knight and is trying to unite the Scottish clans so that they can win their independence over the English. William knows that Robert’s influence is needed. He tells Robert to unite the clans and then He says, “If you would just lead them, they would follow you, and so would I.”
When we are willing to lead we might be surprised at how others would be inspired to follow us as we follow Christ.
What is incredible is the impact Joshua’s leadership had on the people.
Joshua 24:31 ESV
Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.
BUT WE NEED TO BE WILLING TO SAY “BUT AS FOR ME” NO MATTER IF ANYONE FOLLOWS OR NOT!
To do what Joshua did you have to accept the fact that popularity or majority do not matter.
Micah faced a time when
Just because people claim to be followers of God does not mean that they actions follow. For example Israel in Micah’s time.
Israel in Micah’s time.
What is incredible here is that these people were not people who did not know about God. These were not pagans, they were supposed to be God’s people as they claim to be. (It is kind of like the majority of Americans claim Christianity but their lives and even beliefs are far from Christian.)
Israel in Micah’s time: The people had their false prophets that were opposed to MIcah saying everything they wanted to hear and they justified the wrongs that they did. Notice ,
Micah 2:6 ESV
“Do not preach”—thus they preach— “one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.”
Now really catches your attention and relates what is happening today very well. Before we read what would you do if I started preaching that God is going to bless you and make you rich and give you plenty of wine and beer? Micah says people love that kind of prophet.
Micah 2:11 NIV
If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ that would be just the prophet for this people!
This is because the people would love Him because their own desires are what’s first. And some of the preachers in our culture are very popular for this very reason.
It is not bad to preach God’s goodness but it His standard and judgment must be a part of it as well, especially when people are not following it.
THE CHURCH AND CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE CAREFUL THAT OUT OF AN EFFORT TO BE RELEVANT AND REACH PEOPLE THAT THEY BLEND IN INSTEAD STANDING OUT AND LEADING.
Trans: When we stand on our convictions and faith we hope that people will follow but...

We need to learn to say “BUT AS FOR ME!”

“BUT AS FOR ME” is what we need to learn to say!

WE NEED TO LEARN TO SAY “BUT AS FOR ME” NO MATTER IF PEOPLE FOLLOW OR NOT!
You can say it how ever you want. Maybe you need to think of a way that sounds more modern. For example; “they might be but not me,” “everybody else might be doing that but not me,” “not this guy,” “not today,” (Ha) whatever...
Our young people really need this right now because school is challenging enough as it is. It is so much easier to go along with others and fit in than to stand out and stand up for what is right and say “I do not care what everyone else is doing or has done.”
When things are being talked and bragged about in the locker room or in a group our kids need to be taught not to be ashamed to say “not me” and no that’s not right. They need to know they do not have to act like others just to be liked.
They need to know they are supposed to stand out for doing right. Not just our kids but all of us young and old. If we will God will work through that.
We need to stop looking to culture or the people around us or even family as to how we should live and learn to say “But as for me” I will do what God’s word says.
SPECIFIC EXAMPLES:
So many people do not care much about taking their families to worship God and be a part of what His people are doing but “me and my family, we are going to make God, worship, Christ’s church and His word our first priority.”
Our culture might not take the Bible serious but “as for me” I know its God’s word and I’m going to know it and live by.
So many others might be trusting in and running after money and stuff but I am going to trust in God and find my fulfillment in Him.
We need to learn to not care what everybody else has that we do not and say “as for me I know Christ would have me to be content, not covetous.
How will anyone ever notice a difference in us if we look, act, dress, talk, overwork, treat others and are running after the same things as everyone else? Jesus often made this point in reference to a number of things. , ,
Jesus often made this point in reference to other things. He said, “
, ,
He said, “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”
Jesus says, “If you love only those who love you, even sinners do that” In other words your not being any different than anyone else.
“For the Gentile (unbelievers/ world) seek after and worry about possessions and what they have.”
Matthew 6:32 ESV
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world, a city set o a hill can not be hidden.”
That means people are going to notice the difference in you. If all the lights are off and one person has a candle what is the first thing you notice…the candle.
We are effective when we stand out among the darkness, not blend in.
We are effective when we stand out among the darkness, not blend in. When we strive to be like everyone else for the sake of being comfortable then we lose our distinction.
LET US LEARN FROM ISRAEL TO NOT TAKE OUR CUES FROM THE WORLD.
Israel made the mistake of wanting a king (like the other nations around them) to lead them when God was already their King.
God let’s them do it but tells them how foolish it is and what it will cost them. (It is much like a young person who thinks they need something because everyone else has one…)
MAKE A COMMITMENT TO LIVE OUT YOUR FAITH IN GOD NO MATTER WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING.
Micah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and many of the prophets declared and did in their lives what was right even though it got the ostracized, persecuted and even killed.
They did not make a stand just because they were trying to lead people back to God but because it was what was right! This should be our ultimate reason: because God is first and we will serve Him no matter what!
Let’s make a commitment to examine our ways to see if we are doing anything just because others are doing it, because its expected or any other reason besides love for God and others.
PRAYER FOR COURAGE!
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