I want to rejoice in the Lord! That is what I woke up thinking. And I thought to myself, I hope the Bible opens to a joyful section. It opened to the book of Micah, and not knowing much about Micah, my first thought was a groan. But once I started reading Micah, I could not put it down! (Micah is not a long book, so again don’t be overly impressed.) It is chock full of goodness, particularly if you skip over the first section, “Oracles of Punishment,” and dive right into “Oracles of Salvation.” Allow me to share my favorite passages:
On that day—oracle of the LORD—I will gather the lame, And I will assemble the outcasts, and those whom I have afflicted. I will make of the lame a remnant, and of the weak a strong nation; The LORD shall be king over them on Mount Zion, from now on and forever.
I love the idea of forever! And love that our physical limitations will be meaningless!
But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah least among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, Then the rest of his kindred shall return to the children of Israel. He shall take his place as shepherd by the strength of the LORD, by the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall dwell securely, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth: he shall be peace.
How can I not rejoice about the foretelling of Jesus’ birth! The last line sends warm love through me, each time I read over it: “he shall be peace.”
With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.
What God asks of us, is really quite simple: do justice, love goodness, walk humbly with God. I am struck by the juxtaposition of this with the question right before it: “shall I give my firstborn for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” As a mother, I cannot even imagine the thought of doing this. But of course, God does not require anything like this from us. His request of us, really is quite simple, and quite painless, and indeed will make us happy. But still we struggle with it. So God takes on the ultimate sacrifice for us, He gives His son as a sacrifice for our sins.
And then Micah shouts out in confidence in the Lord:
But as for me, I will look to the LORD, I will wait for God my savior; my God will hear me! Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! though I have fallen, I will arise; though I sit in darkness, the LORD is my light. I will endure the wrath of the LORD because I have sinned against him, Until he pleads my case, and establishes my right. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see his righteousness.
I echo these words. I look to the Lord! I wait for God my savior! Though I have fallen, I will rise! Though I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light! Despite my sin, the Lord will bring me forth to light and I will see His righteousness!
Who is a God like you, who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but instead delights in mercy, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our iniquities? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins.