Church, if you would turn with me to the Book of Micah. The Book of Micah and this is continuing our series through the prophets looking at God's word to God's people through these Old Testament prophets from Isaiah all the way up to Malachi and where we've been walking through this for quite a while now and so if you're a guest of ours you get the privilege of kind of seeing this fresh if you've been here for a while you may have started to think boy all these prophets are just sounding the same right not a fault of the prophets. It's probably a fault of the preacher. To start out with that but there is a lot of similarity as God is speaking to his people and end these these words that were reading today. These are these are ancient right these it these were spoken many many many years ago and they were spoken to a particular people in a particular place in a particular time. And yet they have seemingly an undying resonance to them and they they keep finding application in our lives and I hope I didn't like mine this week. That's your life is impacted by the message of Micah but because we've we've dealt with some of this before I'm going to just Briefly summarize Micah's message. Michael was preaching at about the same time that Isaiah was preaching so clear back when we started this series. We looked at the prophet Isaiah and he was dealing with the nation of Judah. About a hundred or so years but few more than that before the event that he prophesied. We're going to take place. Micah is prophesying at the same time and he's saying here's what's going to happen. The Lord is going to destroy Judah. He's going to destroy Jerusalem. Why is he going to do that? Because God's people had failed to keep God's law and God is Holy and God is righteous and his people or his Representatives on Earth, then they need to be holy and they need to be righteous and yet Israel and Judah wear anything but that and so God says have to judge you to demonstrate the truth of my Holiness but Micah like Isaiah like Jeremiah, like all the other prophets we've looked at with the exception of Jonah slacker.
We see in there this message of even though God is righteous and holy is going to judge and destroy. He's also loving and gracious and merciful. And so he's going to redeem and he's going to save and he's going to rebuild and renew and he's going to take the things that were broken and make them whole again. He's going to take the things that were unrighteous and make them righteous Micah talks about these things. And if you did not get a chance to read it this week. So every week as we walk through the series I'm encouraging you to read that profit before we come together because Well, I chase rabbits and there's no way I can get through all of the text on Sunday morning. And so it's helpful if you guys can kind of do that yourselves. And so let me encourage you if you didn't get a chance to read Micah to do so this week. All right, because there's a lot of good stuff in there about God's righteousness his Holiness his love and his Mercy, right? But whenever I think about Micah there is there's one verse that kind of Rises to the top for me. The matter fact, if you would ask me when I was in high school, you know, what's your what's your favorite? How many of you guys were part of the life verse thing like a certain fad that kind of come and go in Christianity and in the Life verse was a thing for a while. I don't know if it still is but how many of you ever had a life verse? I'm here looking like what the life verse you take the whole Bible and you pick out one verse you say? Okay, this is this is my life verse. This is what I want to be kind of known as a seem to have peaked right about the time. I was in high school, which meant because I grew up in Idaho that it probably peaked elsewhere about 20 years before that.
But when I was in high school, if you would have said what's your life verse I would have told you it's Micah 6:8 Micah 6:8. That's my life verse. Well, what does Micah 6:8 say? Why don't you turn there with me? All right, Micah chapter 6 verse 8. He is told you oh man. What is good? And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God. That was my life person High School. I loved it. And I think what I really loved particularly was the Simplicity of it, right? I'm one of those people who likes simple right? I'm so thankful that we have people in this church who are good at decorating things right and kin to make the stage look like this because if I was in charge of decorating,
There wouldn't be anything like a plain white room is about to the extent of my decorating taste. Okay, I like simple things. So when I come to Micah 6:8 nieces, what does the Lord require do justice love kindness walk humbly with your got three things got it and in high school, I was like that sounds good. That sounds like a life verse for me. As I've grown I still love Micah 6:8 but the Simplicity of it points me to something. I would have made a terrible Israelites. Elevated terrible Israelite because Micah is essentially doing a favor for Israel when he gives this statement in Micah 6:8 because Mike is message is that Israel has neglected the law of God. That's Mike his message. You have put aside the log on you are following your own desires now cuz we need to get back there and he proposes these three simple things as a way that is real can get back to fulfilling the law got the law was super complex. One person that and I don't know you know how Thor is hated this list is but but this week I saw a list of 613 commands in the Old Testament law. 613 commands that they said this is what we're committing ourselves to we're going to keep all of this. Look I don't I want to get in trouble or anything. But that's a lot and I know it's God's word. And I know it's the inspired by the Holy Spirit, but I look at that and I have to say Who's surprised that is real couldn't keep that. Who's surprised that they lost sight of maybe one maybe two maybe all 613 but why are we surprised there's 613 commands. How in the world were they going to keep that all straight? And they don't and so Mica says well here try three. How many of you have ever tried to write read through the Bible in a year raise your hands survey and you're not under spiritual if you don't raise your hand, so just raise your hand if you've tried to read through the Bible in a year how many of you quit halfway through Leviticus?
Alright, those super spiritual ones with their hands still up.
I'll give you quit. I quit if you quit lower your hand. Sorry, I didn't explain that very well. Write the super spiritual ones with the Hansel if you guys quit and numbers, don't tell me any differently.
See, this is why I say I shouldn't say something so I can get myself in trouble encourage you to read through the word of God and if you don't believe me, you can ask anybody that was in Sunday school this morning and encourage people read large chunks of scripture. Just just read it fill your mind with scripture. We ought to do that. But you come away when you read the Old Testament law You Come Away with this inclusion. Like there's a lot going on here. This is really super complex. And if my standing with God is based on keeping these 613 Commandments perfectly. Guess what? I have no standing with God. Right now I don't I don't stand a chance. And so I shouldn't be surprised then when Micah says you've neglected. The law is real hair with table. So what I I totally can identify with. The people that Mike is addressing right because the Old Testament law is super complex. It is it is comprehensive and its nature and its trying to do two things the Old Testament. I was trying to do two things first is trying to demonstrate to us the righteousness of God. And that righteousness is absolute and it is all encompassing every single piece and part of God. Not that you can take them apart every single piece and part of God is holy and righteous and the law is Big because God's righteousness is huge. But it's also a testimony to the complexity of life in a sinful World. Jesus point to this when he's talking in his ministry. Jesus talks about the Old Testament law. And the Pharisees come to him and they say hey. Moses told us that we could just write a certificate of divorce. What do you think? He said Moses let you do that because of the hardness of your hearts, but from the beginning it was not so from the beginning God intended. It would be one man one woman for life. That was God's intent the law has to deal with not just the righteousness of God, but also the sinfulness of humanity God takes into account Israel's propensity to fail. He takes into account Humanities propensity to fail and he build that into his lots of this lock becomes a super complex thing that's testifying to the righteousness of God, but also taking into account our sinfulness and even with god making allowance. We can't do it. We can't keep the law Israel. Couldn't keep the law, but they did the next best thing. They pretended to keep it. Fake it till you make it right. How's that for a life philosophy? That was Israel's philosophy. Let's just fake it. Let's pretend like we're worshipping Yahweh but less than worship these Idols as well. Let's pretend like we're keeping the law that says to be concerned for our neighbors concerned for the poor concerned for the sojourners among us. But let's Instead try to lie cheat and steal as often as we can to advance our own cause let's give in to the greed in our hearts. Even as we pay lip service to the Justice of the law. That's what their solution is in frankly. That's what we do to when we base our relationship with God on a series of laws inevitably. That's what we start to do. We start to kind of fake it till we make it right or we begin to say let's do this one. This was super important. But this one doesn't matter nearly as much we didn't do this hierarchy of the laws, like don't murder. That one's important. We better not do that one or we got to do that one. Do it double negative? I hate English. We shouldn't kill anybody.
But the whole, you know, don't cut it thing. I'm going to let that one slide because my neighbors got a really nice car and I really really want a car like that they begin to and we begin to make these divisions. We begin to make these distinctions just so we can feel good about ourselves because if we're trying to earn God's favor. Then we're going to have to maximize our successes and minimize our failures. That's what Israel was doing in my kisses. You can't do that that doesn't work. And so he beat he says but if it's helpful, let's let's a simplify. This was taken from 613 down to three. He says do justice do justice. What does it mean to do justice essentially saying make sure that your relationships with the people around you are rights are correct are honoring God right? Make sure that Justice marks your dealings with other people make sure The justice is thriving in Landon you do that. This is an active element here. You have to intentionally commit to this. She says do just transform your relationships with the people around you and then he says you need to love kindness and this is a really strange way of putting this until you understand what he's doing. Is he saying? Okay just as you get kind of order outside of yourself and get Justice in your relationship with those outside. You need to treasure inside of you what God Treasures. and in some of your some of your translations probably say something different than kindness how many of you have mercy loving kindness steadfast love write this is all pointing us to something that all throughout the Old Testament. We see this word that said is applied to God himself the Covenant faithful love of God. And so what's it what Mike is saying? If you want to keep the law. If you want to please God order your relationships with others right treasure inside of you the same things that God Treasures Faith full Covenant Love. And then he says not only do you love the things that God loves but you walk humbly with God you have a right relationship with God. That's what you got to do Israel. That's how you do it. Forget about the 613. If you do these three you're doing what God wants right relationships with other people right relationship with God a right treasuring within yourself. That's it. 613 commands to three.
Guess what? It worked. It worked.
Be kind of turtle Jeremiah chapter 26 with me. We see Micah show up on the scene elsewhere in the word of God. He makes an appearance in the book of Jeremiah Jeremiah was one of the prophets that we looked at. Earlier in this series and Jeremiah was saying some really not popular things. He was saying the same thing. My kids said a generation before him and he was saying Israel's going to be destroyed Jerusalem's going to be judged God is righteous and you are being unrighteous. But there's this interesting little thing in 26. They're threatening Jeremiah Was death. They don't like his preaching so much that they're going to kill him. I'm so thankful to live in the day I do. When y'all don't like my preaching you just go somewhere else. Thank you for not killing me.
But Jeremiah is threatened with death, but there's an interesting thing that happens some of the Elders of the land a rising they speak to the people and they say this look at Verse 18 of chapter 26, Micah of Mauritius prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah and said to all the people of Judah that says the Lord of hosts Zion shall be plowed as a field Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins in the mountain of the house a wooded Heights, right? So Jeremiah quotes Micah chapter 3 here and he says remember Micah said this Jeremiah the book not the person these Elders quote this from Micah and look at what they say. Did Hezekiah king of Judah and I'll do to put him to death did he not fear the lord and entreat the favour the Lord and not the Lord relent of the disaster that he had pronounced on them, but we are about to bring great disaster upon ourselves. So Micah without even knowing it saves Jeremiah's life. Why because his reforms worked when Micah preached Hezekiah listen, and he didn't acted some reforms in the people started listening to what Micah said, but it didn't last because here's Jeremiah and he's being threatened for saying the exact same thing that my kids said. So it worked my summation of the law down to these three points worth in the people did it and God relented but it couldn't last why couldn't it last why did Jeremiah have to come and say the same things and they almost killed him? Until Sunday River. Will Mike I said the same thing Why didn't it last? Look even closer to home. How many times New Year's coming up right 2019 is almost in the books. Can you believe it? New Year's resolutions time coming up how many of you remember you were 2018 New Year's resolutions for 2019.
I intentionally didn't make any because I'm so bad at keeping them every year. Right, we start out the gate with the resolution were like I'm going to do it and then January goes and so did our resolutions or for those of you that made it to numbers March. Okay, whatever. Right. We just there's something in us there's something in humanity. That says if you tell me I got to do it this way. I'm going to not do it that way. Do you want me to commit to something? It's not going to last. I got it. I got to do my own thing turned over to Romans chapter 3.
Lowest I'm using like every pick you got up here to save my places were turned into all these.
Romans chapter 3 why doesn't it last why doesn't our commitment last? Why didn't Israel's reform last?
Romans chapter 3
for by The Works of the law. No human being will be justified in his sight since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
If you look at Israel. with 613 commands you shouldn't be surprised that they couldn't keep them. And if you look at Israel in Micah's day, you shouldn't be surprised that they couldn't even do just three.
Because if you look at your life, you'll see that every time you set something up and say this is what marks me this is this is my code of Life. You'll find yourself falling short you say this is how I'm going to make God love me by doing all these good things. You will fall short because by The Works of the law, no human being will be justified. This site says through the law comes the knowledge of sin. So why have the law? Why have 613 commands? Why have Micah 6:8?
To point us to a bigger reality. This law is not meant to get us close to God. This lie is meant to reveal to us the Holiness of God and to cause us to recognize our own inherent sinful. Listen to fall on her face and say God if this is going to happen you're going to have to do it. Micah and Israel forgot the lesson of Genesis 3 We tend to forget the lesson of Genesis 3 would like what if we can just break it down if we can just get this hierarchy of commands. We just do these important ones than God's going to love us right Adam and Eve had one command.
One it doesn't get any simpler than that. And they failed and yet we continually try to make God love us to approach God and say well God's going to accept me because of how good I am and how good I do these particular things that are important. The law is not meant The law is incapable. Of making us right with God because even if you just give us one command don't eat that mean Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up right don't eat that. We're going to fail. K the law is something we fail at instead. It's meant to just bring awareness of our sin right now. I know everybody's got a different perspective on Christmas. Should we shouldn't we at our house? We celebrate Christmas. We give our kids presents and it's a lot of fun in my wife is incredibly organized and she does a lot of thought and planning into the gifts that we give our kids. We don't give him a lot because frankly there's only so much stuff they can fit in the house. Right? But we always give them a gift every Christmas they get a gift well, It's probably me. I let slip to the kids that Mom and Dad's closet is where the gifts are hidden.
My kids would never want to go look in my closet. They have no interest in my clothes. They have no interest in my shoes. But all of a sudden I said one thing and I was in the closet.
I won't tell you the rest of the story, but I think that's indicative of where we all are. God says don't do this thing in like
maybe I should go check that out. I know interested it until you said not to do it. Okay. Now I want to go I want to see what this is all about. That seems to be what we as humans do so you put a line in front of us. Even if it's just one law and we say might have to check you on that one. Might have to find out what this is all about. Mike is reforms didn't last because the people couldn't keep 613 commands. They couldn't even keep the three that he sent down Adam and Eve couldn't keep one you and I can't keep 1 or 3 or 613. That's the conclusion Were Meant to come to this is impossible for us as humans and yet we keep trying how many of you know show of hands of time. How many of you have ever thought this way? If I obey God will know. Did I love him if I obey God will love me if I'm a good enough person.
Then I'll get to heaven right if you if it's that the that the cosmic judgment scales are set up. And and if you put my bad Deeds over here in my good deeds over here. And if the if the scale goes this way without scales work, right? I'm a millennial cut me some slack right if the scale it's a good is heavier than the bad that I get in, right? How many of you in your heart again not hands how many of you know that that's how you thought about this. How many of you have gone to a funeral and somebody says this person was such a good person Shirley there in heaven.
I wish that's how it works. That's not how it works because we can never be good enough god is perfect. God is Holy that means that there is not a speck a spot the tiniest little Mote of dust of sin attached to him. And If Heaven is where God is why in the world would he let somebody no matter how many Good Deeds they have? Why in the world would he let somebody pollute his glory?
With one fin or three sins or 613 send it doesn't matter how good you are at keeping the rules. It doesn't matter if you've done more good than bad. You still are not right with God. The reform doesn't last the righteousness of God is still greater than that.
So what do we do? If Micah says to do justice to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God and we look at it was okay. That's simple enough. I'll try.
Will come to the same point that Israel did in Jeremiah's day. Failed standing once again under the Judgment of God.
Every time we try to make God love us because of how good we are at obeying him how good we make ourselves look for the people around us. We're going to fall short and when we fall short of a natural consequence sin brings its own punishment with us the righteousness of God necessitates that we would be judged for our sin. And so judgement will fall.
But where will it fall? And this is the hope of my guy the hope is that while judgment will always come against sin know how many that no matter how much good we've done know how matter how much we committed ourselves to reform. Judgment will always fall but the key to Micah and indeed the key to a relationship with God the key to understanding the Bible. If they understand that it doesn't have to fall on us. Because it already fell somewhere else Micah points to all of these passages of Hope look at my cat chapter 2. Micah chapter 2 after he's just got done saying whoa to those who have devised wickedness woe to this person. This person is going to get destroyed and in one of my favorite sections he talks about how they keep telling him not to preach and he says what if a man should go about another wind and Liza saying I will preach to of wine and strong drink, that would be the preacher for this people. After all of that he comes about and he says but here's the promise of God. I will surely assemble all of you a Jacob. I will gather the remnant of Israel. I will set them together like sheep in a fold like a flock and it's past your noisy multitude of men. He opens the breach goes up before then they break through that go out by their King passes on before them the Lord Yaweh at their head pieces, all of these woes all of the Rebellion that you do yet. I will still be your king. I will redeem you I will save you turn over to chapter 4 And it's not just about Israel. It's not just about Judah. It's about the world. We can chapter 4 verse 1 it shall come to pass in the latter days with the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains. It should be lifted up above the hills. The people's will flow to it. Many nations will come and safe. Come let us go up to the mountain of the lord of the House of the god of Jacob that he may teaches his ways that we may walk in his paths for out of Zion shall go forth the law in the word of God from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples will decide for strong Nations far away. They will beat their swords into plowshares their Spears into pruning hooks Nation shall not lift up sword against Nation. Neither shall they learn War any more but they shall sit every man under his Vine. And under his fig tree and no one will make them afraid for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken for the people's walk. Each in the name of its God, but we will walk in the name of the Lord Our God forever. And ever in that day declares the Lord. I will assemble the lame. I will gather those who have been driven away Those whom I have Afflicted the lame. I will make the remnant those who are cast off a strong nation and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forever more. God says, I know you can't do it. I know you can't do it, but I'm going to I'm going to gather the week in the lane who aren't strong enough to keep my law but I'm going to send them out in righteousness. I'm going to gather them in to hear the truth of who I am to hear the true law and to live in light of it. I'm going to do this you keep failing is real you keep failing all you Nations, but I'm going to put a stop to the failure. I'm going to fix it. Not because your righteous but because you've come to me. Not because you're holy because you've submitted to me. God says I'm going to do this look at chapter 7.
I love I love I love love love the way Micah finishes his message here. With just a a praise lift it up to this God who promises to save. Chapter 7 verse 18 who is a God Like You pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance. He does not retain his anger forever because he Delights in steadfast love he will again have compassion on us. He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea, you will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old Michael just closes and praise His guys is God. You are a God who will forgive our sins. Our sin has no business being in your presence. So you're going to deal with this in yourself. You can if you're going to squash it underfoot you're going to throw it into the sea. It's going to be no more. Our sin will be dealt with because of who you are. God not because of who we are not because we're good not because we are righteous. But because you're good and your righteous you're going to do this because you're faithful God. To me. That's the message of Micah. Not try really hard. Not do the best you can but oh my goodness, what a great and merciful and glorious God who would redeem sinners? My question is if that's what it takes for judgement not to fall. How does God do that? How does God this righteous one forgive sin that is beyond forgiveness. How does he deal with this Blackness inside of his this continual Rebellion that no matter how many commands or how few commands we can't keep them? How is he going to do this? He's loving he's merciful. He's going to forgive he's going to build his people out of nothing. how Look at chapter 5.
chapter 5 and verse 2 But you o Bethlehem ephrathah who are too little to be among the clans of Judah from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel. Who's coming forth is from from ancient days. Therefore he will give them up until the time when she was in labor has given birth in the rest of his brother shall return to the people of Israel and he shall stand and Shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord in the Majesty of the name of the Lord his God. They shall dwell secure for he now shall be great to the ends of the Earth and look at the first part of her spy, and he shall be their peace.
How can God take Sinners and forgive their sin? How can God put an end to the war that is Raging between those of us who would rebelled against his authority and himself by sending one who would be peace not just bring peace, but be their peace. Who is he talking about? amen Say it again. Who is he talking about? Amen, you can't be good enough.
Jesus was you can't earn God's favor because you're already centers.
Jesus never did but he willingly took the place of Sinners and the wrath of God that our sin deserve was poured out on Jesus. And God says anyone who trusts in him. In spite of their sin in spite of their inability to keep a command I will redeem and I will set free so that they can do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with their God. You don't keep a law to have a relationship with God. You have a relationship with God and you are set free to keep the law that you never could in your own strength. Jesus does that work Jesus stretches out his arms on the cross and the wrath of God is poured out the judgement of God against sin is seen when Jesus breathed his last.
the promise of God in the mercy of God is seen when Jesus rises from the grave and says if you believe in me, I'll raise you up to
And in the power of God, the mercy of God, the joy of God is seeing that he takes these who the son took the punishment who the spirit promises New Life do any sets them free to walk. Injustice to walk humbly with God and to love the things that God loves but you can't get it out of order. You can't keep the law to get that. Jesus gives you that Jesus gives you this new heart. Jesus takes your death and gives you life. Jesus takes his last breath so that you can breathe again. Jesus takes your sin and gives you his Holiness. Jesus take my Rebellion your Rebellion our rebellion, and he gives us peace with God. He gives us reunions with God. He gives us obedience to God. He takes our selfishness from us. By being selfless and dying for us. He gives us selflessness. He takes everything that is broken and is broken for us. He kills us so that we can heal our relationships with others. He gives us the spirit. So that we can walk with God. My call to you this morning. I believe the call of God on your life from Micah this morning is quit trying to be good enough. Quit trying to impress the people around you with how spiritual you are. Quit trying to impress god with how many commands you keep. And just humbly submit to him. They Lord if it were not for Christ. If it were not for your gift. I would not know you Lord if it wasn't for Jesus, I would not be able to have a relationship with you Lord because of Jesus.
Help me to go. Taking that message of Hope of peace with you. Don't depend on your righteousness to get you to heaven. Don't depends on your ability to do good to make God. Love you depend on Jesus. Would you pray with me?