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The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 

Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

The Old Testament prophets were primarily forth tellers rather than foretellers.

They communicated the message of God to the needs of the day.

“Listen to the Major messages of the Minor Prophets’ is the title of the series we will be working through for the next few weeks.

Today we are talking about Micah, The Requirements of Real Religion.

Text

Micah 6:8 NKJV

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly, To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Scripture Reading

Micah 6:1-8 NKJV

God Pleads with Israel

1 Hear now what the Lord says:

“Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
And let the hills hear your voice.

2 Hear, O you mountains, the Lord’s complaint,
And you strong foundations of the earth;
For the Lord has a complaint against His people,
And He will contend with Israel.

3 “O My people, what have I done to you?
And how have I wearied you?
Testify against Me.

4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
I redeemed you from the house of bondage;
And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

5 O My people, remember now
What Balak king of Moab counseled,
And what Balaam the son of Beor answered him,
From Acacia Grove to Gilgal,
That you may know the righteousness of the Lord.”

6 With what shall I come before the Lord,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Prayer

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

It could be argued that nothing is more worthy than these words from the prophet Micah.

They stand as true in the current times we are in as when they were written in the eighth century BC.

Certainly these words are the high water mark of the prophecy.

Called the herald of the morn, Micah preached against the sins and injustices of his time in an effort to turn the hearts of his people back to God.

He also foretold the coming of the Anointed One, the Messiah.

When King Herod, disturbed by the coming of the magi seeking news of the newborn King of the Jews, asked the chief priests and scribes of the people “where Christ should be born” they answered, “In Bethlehem of Judea”, and cited Micah 5:2 as their proof.

Moreover, Micah prophesied peace come as he dreamed of the time when swords would be fashioned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks and nations would not learn to war anymore.

Unlike Isaiah, who was of royal birth and to the manor born,” Micah was of the people and for the people, crying out against the oppression of the poor and fighting their battles.

His work was carried out during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the kings of Judah, but primarily in the time of Hezekiah.

This book of seven chapters may be divided into three parts.

Firstly the social conditions of Micah’s time.

He pointed out the parallel with conditions in Samaria before it fell in 722BC.

Second, he talks of the pitiable state of the nation, with the people scattered like shepherdess sheep.

But in God’s providence a divine Shepherd would be raised up.

The Messiah would come.

Thirdly, Micah speaks of the nature of real religion.

Though God’s purposes are hindered by human choices, God is neither frustrated nor defeated.

God and righteousness will prevail.

Micah 6 presents a controversy between God and His people.

In verses 1-5 we hear God’s protest as He calls the mountains to witness and He appeals to history.

His experience with His people ought to have awakened gratitude and resulting obedience.

In verses 6-7 we hear a question raised that is really their objection to God’s charge.

They had worshipped faithfully, but their observance had been formal, not from the heart, and God was not pleased.

What then would please Him?

Verse 8 gives the answer, He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

How that question needs to be sounded loud and clear today!

The prophet’s question is not “What can I get from God?” But “What does the Lord require of me?”

The threefold answer to the question sets forth “the requirements of real religion.”

Micah started at the outer rim and moved toward the centre.

  1. The prophet said, “Real religion requires justice in our dealings.”

What does the Lord require of you, but to do justly?

Our lives must manifest the character of God in all our relationships with others.

There must be no inconsistency between our inner life and our open profession, between our worship of God in His temple and our dealings with our colleagues in the market place.

Both Isaiah and Amos, who Micah resembles, tell us that religion that does not produce exalted concepts and standards of morality in the individual, and justice and righteousness in society, it is not genuine.

Genuine religion and injustice never work together.

This message was needed in Micah’s day, when judges were bought with bribes, when merchants used two sets of weights, one to buy and another to sell, when the rich pillaged the poor but were devout in religious observances.

This is not religion, but a disgusting counterfeit of the real thing.

This message is needed in our day too.

In the mid twentieth century, there was a great upsurge in church attendance.

Unfortunately, however, this increase did not result in a higher standard of morality nor a deeper sense of social ethics.

It created a wide but shallow, weak church, not a deep, strong Bible believing and preaching church.

2. But moving closer in, the prophet said, “Real religion requires love for mercy and kindness.”

And what does the Lord require of you,But to do justly, and To love mercy?”

As already indicated, these requirements are presented in inverted order as the prophet began at the outer rim and moved in toward the centre.

Justice in our outward dealings is based on love of justice and mercy and kindness in our hearts.

We are to love the right for right’s sake.

Religion is character, the character of God in the human being.

In his second epistle, Peter described religion in terms of our being partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4)

If we have God’s nature in us, we will love the things He loves, and our God is a God of mercy.

Our deeds are an expression of our character.

If we love mercy, if we love the right, if we love what God loves, our lives will reflect it.

Christian character will exhibit itself, and it is required if religion is to be real religion.

Christian character, the character of God planted in people, is the need of the hour.

This is necessary in individual lives, in church life, in government, in business, in education, in all the affairs and realms of the world’s life.

One of the most dramatic and emotional scenes in the Old Testament is Samuel’s farewell speech, after the king had covered himself with glory in the defeat of the Ammorites and the old man at last realised that he must step down.

Before all Israel, he said in 1 Samuel 12:2-3, And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and grayheaded, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.”

No one witnessed against him!

What was Samuel’s secret?

How had this one man been able to draw Israel back to God?

Through the integrity of his character.

Let it be so among us.

3. Getting straight to the heart of the matter, the prophet said, “Real religion requires a genuine experience with God in our hearts.”

And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justly, and To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

This speaks of an experience with God, an experience growing into an intimate fellowship.

In Genesis 5:24, we find this precious jewel, “Enoch walked with God.”

These five words are an awesome biography of a man who knew God and daily increased in his knowledge and likeness until “God took him” to be with Himself.

The only way to make a relationship meaningful and real is to spend time in its cultivation.

United with God through Christian experience, coming to know God through Jesus Christ, we grow into His likeness as we walk with Him, not hurriedly or reluctantly but humbly.

Conclusion.

There is a song that may give a wrong idea.

It goes, “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.”

This could be the wrong approach.

We are not to demand that God walk with us.

Lets us make sure that we walk with Him, that we find out where he is going and go with Him.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2022 IS A YEAR OF REPENTANCE AND BLESSINGS

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