4th Sunday after Epiphany
Scripture: Micah 6:1-8
Micah is one of the “Minor Prophets,” but his message is anything but minor. He proclaimed God’s Law and Gospel to the people of Israel, and indeed, to us. In this passage, Micah speaks God’s indictment against idolatry and describes the life of faith. The passage causes us to examine our lives for idols and to consider how to live rightly with God and others.
Balak was the king of Moab who feared the Israelites and Balaam was a prophet of sorts who he hired to curse Israel.  God would not allow Balaam to curse his people. However, Balaam advised Balak to tempt the Israelites with false gods and pagan worship – which was highly sexual. Many Christians fall into the same snare. We are drawn to false gods and earthly pleasures (including sex) in contempt of God’s mercy and grace.
What God desires from his people’s lives is described in Micah 6:6-8. Our relationship with God has never been about sacrifices or offering, but is rooted in his salvation for us. We are called to do three things in response to God’s saving acts. First, do justice. We are called to do what is just and right in the sight of God. Second, to love kindness. This is more than just being nice, it is loving that which is good, merciful, and full of grace. Finally, to walk humbly with your God. This means that we live by faith in the God who saves us.
Just as Israel was reminded of the saving acts of the Lord, we do well to remember them, too. God gave his only begotten Son to redeem the world (John 3:16). He made him who had no sin to be sin so that, in him, we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus suffered for sins once for all the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18). How does knowing you live in God’s forgiveness because of Jesus’ death and resurrection impact our desire to obey God’s will?
As a forgiven Child of God, how might you do justice? Who are the vulnerable around you? The hurt? The overlooked? The victimized? How might you love kindness? Who are the marginalized? Who are the sinners in need of forgiveness? Who stands guilty and needs mercy? How might you walk humbly with your God. How do you display faith? Is it by speaking out for justice? Acting in kindness? Serving another? Forgiving someone? It might even be by receiving God’s mercy, love, and forgiveness for your own sin.
O God, we are your people because you had mercy on us and performed a mighty saving act in Jesus’ death on the cross. In that moment Jesus satisfied your justice by punishing sin in his body, showed kindness by bearing our sin’s punishment for us, and humbled himself even to the point of dying for us. Thank you for the salvation we have in Christ! Forgive us for not living faithfully, doing justice, loving mercy, or walking humbly with you. Grant us your Spirit so that we may walk with you by faith in Jesus. Make us agents of your justice and mercy for our neighbors and help us to show them your salvation in Christ. Amen.