Sunday, December 03, 2017

Worship tug-of-war

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Micah 7:1-20

“Therefore I will look to the LORD,
I will wait for the God of my salvation
My God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

Micah’s hopeful declaration: “I will look to the LORD; I will wait …My God will hear” comes out of a deep desire to see Judah turn back to God.

Micah prophesied at the same time as Isaiah. They preached between when Israel was divided into two (Israel and Judah) and the destruction of the temple. Canaanite idolatry was popular. Though King Hezekiah had legislated reforms and had won a victory over Assyria, the people were still spiritually enslaved to idols. Micah knew: “Judah was bound to fall unless the nation turned back in wholehearted repentance” - Willard S. Elijahson, “Introduction to Micah,” New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1201.

And so Micah’s prophecies are full of warnings of what will happen if the people persist in worshiping idols versus enticements to come back to God. What “carrots” did he hold before the people of his time?
  • God would be their teacher - Micah 4:2.
  • God would be their righteous judge - Micah 4:3.
  • God’s fair judgments would bring peace and security - Micah 4:3,4.
  • If they repented God would shine light into their darkness - Micah 7:8,9.
  • God would shepherd them and lead them to good places - Micah 7:14.
  • With mercy and compassion God would forgive their sins - Micah 7:18,19.

We live in a time when idolatry looks different but is no less real. We are tempted to worship and trust in ourselves, our wealth, education, entertainment, science, technology, government, the democratic process, our legal system etc. But these things are, finally, no more reliable or efficacious than the images, high places, and divining ceremonies of the ancients. They will never deliver us from existential angst—that hole in our spirits that drives us to lust, greed, selfishness, pride, deception, etc., which inspire personal and interpersonal turmoil. Ours is a hole that can only be filled satisfactorily with God and a relationship with Him.

Let’s focus all our worship on God, who will also be these things (teacher, righteous judge, source of peace and security, light, shepherd, forgiving and merciful Saviour) to us.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for faithful Micah whose words are still relevant today. Help me to see through the allure of false worship and to put all my trust in, give all my worship to You. Amen.
MORE: First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent! Today’s liturgy begins with this Collect:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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