He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? – Micah 6:8 KJV
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The back and forth situation between the Almighty God and the Israelites seemed to never stop as it is always the case of God loving them today but when they fall into sin the same God inflicts punishment on them for sins committed and they return to him in repentance. It seems the appetite of the Israelites in particular and human race in general for acts that will always get the Almighty God upset was never going to go away. The Prophet Micah was a prophet of the Almighty God to the Israelites of both the Northern kingdom of Samaria and the southern kingdom of Jerusalem. His warnings to the people of both kingdoms was not heeded as they seemed to dare the Lord to carry out his threat of punishment for all their acts – Micah 1:3-16; 2:3-7. This time it was more of the actions of their rulers, priests and prophets who were so entrenched in sin and perpetuating evil. They took delight in oppressing the people and their was nothing in the life of the people to indicate that they belonged to the Almighty God and to the Holy city – Micah 2:1-2; 6-11; 3:1-12. The action of these leaders had produced negative effects on the people as most of them were now scattered amongst the different nations but the Almighty God through prophet Micah promised to bring them all back to himself, settle them in their cities (Micah 2:12-13; 4:1-13) and raise for them a ruler of his choice who will deliver them from all the trials and tribulations they were experiencing under their current leaders – Micah 5:1-15.
However, the people too could not be completely excused from blame over the situation they found themselves in. In a manner that seemed like the Lord letting the people know why they found themselves under such leadership in the first place, the Almighty God asked the Israelites what His errors were that made them resort to not worshipping Him in truth. Going through all that He, the Almighty God, did for them and their fore-fathers by taking them from Egypt through all the dangers and perils he helped them to overcome and bringing them to the promised land, he wondered what he could have done wrong for the people to decide not to obey His instructions – Micah 6:1-5. In a reaction to what looked like the different forms of sacrifices that the Israelites were presenting to the Lord in order to get his help in their desire to overcome the oppressive acts of their leaders and how they were meaningless to him (Micah 6:6-7), he made the comment which is the foundation scripture for today’s devotional – Micah 6:8.
In that scripture, the Prophet Micah made it clear to them that they had been shown what the Lord considered as good and what he demanded of them. So ignorance cannot be a tenable excuse for their negative acts that resulted in their current experience of oppression under their leaders. Probably for reasons of refreshing their memories, Prophet Micah goes ahead to list for them God’s demand of his people as follows;
1. The Lord requires that His people act justly. This means that the people were taking actions that were not guided by truth, reason, justice and fairness. Although this is most likely in relation to the way they relate with others, it may also include the way they approach the issues concerning the Almighty God. For instance, how can a people who have benefitted so much from the good Will of the Almighty God over several generations decide to ignore Him in an act that is best described as being ungrateful and choose the worship of a god that was never there for them in their trial times and will still not be there for them in the future. It is definitely unjust. None of them will accept such treatment from their fellow men. The one who desires the support and protection of the Almighty God must choose to act with justice at all times.
2. The Lord demanded that His people love mercy. The one who desires to be shown mercy must act with mercy when relating with fellow brethren. To act with mercy is to decide to forgive and show compassion to someone who has obviously erred and deserving of a penalty, despite one being in a position to do so, because the one that erred has shown remorse and pleaded to be forgiven. To receive reprieve from the Lord in situations like this is to firstly acknowledge that you are likely not innocent completely and probably deserve the experience and be able to cite occasions when you have also shown mercy to others. He who does not love mercy does not deserve mercy in such situations. Simple! Love mercy so you can also receive mercy to save you from situations like this when they arise.
3. The Lord requested that His people should walk humbly with Him. To be humble means to display less or none of one’s importance. But is there really anything that man can possess and want to show off before the Almighty God? There is really nothing because all that man possesses were given to him/her by this same god but this reasoning is only available to the wise one as most people are actually very foolish. If the people at that time were humble in their relationship with the Almighty God, he would not have highlighted this as a pre-requisite for receiving liberation from oppressive leaders. Such foolish people still exist today who act like whatever God says is not relevant, after all they are the ones in position of power and in possession of the instruments of power, so why defer to a god that cannot even be seen. Of course this remains the major way by which men display arrogance to the Lord and such cannot get the support of the Lord in their quest for victory over oppressive situations. Learn to be humble at all times and most especially before the Almighty God. He gave you all those things that you are priding yourself in including the life that you are living.
As far as the Lord was concerned, not adhering to all the above contributed to their finding themselves in the situation where their leaders, priests and prophets who were to be their source of relief became their source of oppression and until they make a change, they may not be able to experience the promised succor.
Similarly, the Christian today may be complaining of the oppressive nature of their Christian leaders wondering why the Almighty God will allow such leaders to succeed in oppressing His people. As much as the Almighty God is not happy with these leaders, He makes it clear that the people themselves are not free as they are equally guilty of all the earlier stated acts and they will receive reprieve if only they can amend their ways. Christians need to remember always that a people will always get the kind of leadership they deserve. The Almighty God is not an unjust god and so will never allow the innocent to be oppressed without His intervention.
Should the one who claims to be a Christian find him/her self under such uncomfortable situations, he/she is better off doing a quick introspection to determine what he/she has done wrong to earn such penalty rather than attacking the oppressor in prayers and fasting or worse still, in a self-righteous manner, letting the Lord know that he/she is being treated unfairly by being allowed to be in that situation. That may also be the reason why that leader in church or that boss in the office or anyone for that matter is getting away with all the atrocities he/she is perpetrating in your life. Spend more time in devotion and meditation, asking for where you missed it and He will show you. Be humble to accept your errors as stated by Him and quickly take corrective steps and you will witness a quick turn around in that situation. He will immediately take over your case and stop all the activities of the oppressor over your life and His peace will immediately return into your life. May that be your story very soon in Jesus name. Amen.