The Good: Joyfully Pursued (Justice)
"'With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?' He has told you, O man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:6-8
“Micah 6:6-8 is the finest summary of the content of practical religion to be found in the Old Testament.” J.M.P. Smith
8th century BC: the people of God remembered in ANTICIPATION of the coming Messiah. (Micah 5:2-5a)
2020: the people of God remember and rejoice with ANTICIPATION REALIZED!
The GOOD is that which is beneficial, pleasant and leads to human flourishing.
“Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in every work of your hand, in the children of your womb, the offspring of your cattle, and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for GOOD, just as He rejoiced over your fathers...” Deuteronomy 30:9 (Genesis 1:31, Deuteronomy 28:12, Psalm 84:10, Proverbs 16:32)
JUSTICE MEANS FULFILLING MUTUAL OBLIGATIONS IN A MANNER CONSISTENT WITH GOD’S MORAL LAW.
“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.” CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
“I call piety that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces.” John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, I-2-1
1. Worship (remembering) leads to the pursuit of justice. “You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow's garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.” Deuteronomy 24:17-18
2. The Father delights in justice.
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” Psalm 89:14 (Jeremiah 9:23-24, Psalm 33:5, 97:2)
3. The Messiah brings justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1-4) and produces a people who pursue justice. (Isaiah 1:17-18, 59:8-9)
4. Judgement came in Micah’s day to the northern kingdom because of a lack of the pursuit of justice on the part of those who had the power to do so. (Micah 3:1, 9)
5. The Holy Spirit produces a spirit of justice in the lives of His people. (Micah 3:8)
1. Why is the pursuit of justice, kindness/love and walking in humility the overflow of treasuring the mercy found in Jesus?
2. What is the difference between telling each other to “just do it” as compared to understanding behavior as the overflow of beholding the goodness of the Lord?
3. What did Dostoevsky mean when he wrote in The Brothers Karamazov, “If God is dead, then all is permitted?” How does that concept work itself out in culture? (Note Psalm 17:14)
4. What is the doctrine of common grace? How does that relate to a nation or culture being known for justice and kindness?
5. Why did judgement come to Israel in the 8th century BC, during Micah’s ministry? (Micah 3:1,9)