Devotion for Monday, August 24
After a few weeks of hiatus to prepare for a licensing exam with my career with WoodmenLife, I can report that I passed the test on Friday! With that behind me, I am certainly looking forward to getting back into writing daily devotionals. While thinking upon the direction of my writing as I restart this writing discipline, I came across a passage of scripture that has been formative in my spiritual journey. Micah 6:8 is a wonderful Old Testament passage that gives us a summation of true religion, a life that is pleasing to Jehovah God. This week, we will be meditating upon the deeper insights of God’s instruction from this verse.
But before we dive into the three actions that God requires of us, let us look at this verse in context. This passage comes as a conclusion to God’s case against His people. The setting is the courtroom of Heaven. God has accused His people of turning their back on His love and redemption. He brought them out of slavery in Egypt only to have them turn to other gods. Then God shows the frequent, yet inadequate response that Judah had taken time after time. The people focused on sacrifice and ceremony rather than a changed heart. The prophet Micah asks, “Would the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand streams of oil?” (Micah 6:7) The answer to this rhetorical question is no.
Amos, a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, echoed Micah’s sentiment, speaking on behalf of Jehovah, “I hate, I despise your feasts! Take away from Me the noise of your songs! But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.” (Amos 5:21a, 23a, 24)
God does not require ceremony; He requires faith, devotion, and obedience. The conclusion found in Micah 6:8 is God’s response to all this ceremonial excess. It can become easy for us to get caught up in the sacred, in the ceremony, in the liturgy, and forget what God truly desires. We can make church attendance and its experiences the be all and end all of our religious expression. But God has not called His people just to attend a service. He has called us to action – to a life of justice, goodness, mercy, and faith. This is lived out beyond the walls of church ceremony.
While it is vital for us to fellowship one to another frequently, the purpose of that gathering is to encourage each of us for the coming work of the gospel through us for a community that needs the grace of God and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.
Therefore, it is important for us to understand that God does not just desire for us to be able to sing a beautiful harmony in hymns and worship songs. God does not just call us to write good notes during the sermon each week. Jehovah has not saved us just for us to be a faithful attender of Sunday School and church functions. He has called us to live each day for His justice, mercy, and the walk that is worthy of our calling in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:1).
Pastor, First Baptist Church Sharon, TN
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