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Saturday, March 25, 2023

3-25-2023 Micah & the 2-edged sword

Listen to the words of the prophet Micah: 

1          Listen up you heads of Jacob, princes of Israel, is it not for you to know judgment? 

Let’s exchange any reference of Israel and Jerusalem to reference today’s church.  Aren’t we supposed to know the ways of God?

2          They have come to hate good and love evil.  They strip the skin from the people, even the flesh from their bones. 

3          They scrape their skin off, eat their flesh and even break their bones.  They chop them up as to boil them in a caldron.

Hasn’t too much of today’s church set God aside to accommodate the world’s views?  We can’t offend anybody!  They might not come to church (and feed our offering trays)!  Indeed, we have minimized and scraped away too much of God’s truth just to bring more people into the church.  After all, everyone knows that the bigger a church, the more successful it is!  Right?  We have mutilated God’s teaching.  We have cut it down to our size to fit our needs. 

4          Then they cry to the Lord, but He won’t hear them.  At that time He will hide His face from them because of their ill doings.

But when things start to go wrong doesn’t the church call out to God?  Yet, when that time comes, because of the church’s waywardness, God will not hear it.

5          He says this to the prophets who make His people err.  They bite with their teeth and cry peace but God does not tell them what to say.  They even prepare war against Him.

Listen!  Today, too many prophets are prophesying nothing but good and there is no longer a balance.  Once saved, you’ve got it made God wants to bless you!  Yes, God wants to and will bless us, but are we being told that we have a responsibility to insure those blessings?  In seeking God’s kingdom we should be seeking to have His will done in our lives and through our lives and in so doing, we become obedient in His will.

6          All things will become as night and they won’t have a vision, it shall be dark.  They shall not divine and the sun shall go down over the prophets and it shall be dark over them.

7          Their seers shall be ashamed and their diviners confused, indeed, they shall cover their lips for there is no answer from God.

Truly, darkness will fill the church when we refuse to obey God’s will. The prophets will preach feel-good lies without the balance of how we should be living our lives.  As with Israel, those prophets who were out only for their own gain will be speaking their ‘own thing’ because God has not spoken to them.  And won’t until they come back into His will.  Experience tells us that, yes, there are those false teacher who know exactly what they are doing and are trying to get as rich as they can off of our sacrifices.  And yet, I am persuaded that there are others who are only doing what they have been taught and because so and so said it, it must be true.  Unfortunately, they never check it out for themselves!  We have to know God’s word so we can see the ‘real deal’ when we see it and discern that which is not.

8          But I am truly filled with power by the Spirit of the Lord.  I declare judgment and might unto Jacob for his transgression and unto Israel their sin.

9          Hear this, I pray, you heads of the house of Jacob and you princes of the house of Israel, who hate judgment and pervert equity.

Micah says that he does hear from God and as Micah’s plea went to the church, today’s plea now goes out to church leaders to examine themselves – is God’s Word really being preached, in accordance with His will, in His love?  is it designed to edify and grow the people and not just tickle their ears so they can ‘feel good’?

10        They who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity.

11        The heads judge for reward, the priests teach for payment and the prophets prophecy to be paid.  Yet they will say “Isn’t the Lord among us?  No evil can come upon us.”

In Micah’s day, the church leaders told the people what they wanted to hear and got paid to do so.  Do today’s prophets, priests and ministers do so just to increase their income?  Yes, there are expenses that come along with ministry, so money is necessary.  Judas Iscariot was the disciples’ treasurer, he kept the money.  Read the gospels they used that money for their own living expenses and to help the needy.  The disciples carried on this tradition for the same reasons and today’s churches need to gather money for the same reasons.  Or should I say this is why they should be gathering money?  Do any of today’s preachers say “I preach the ‘word(s)’ and think “I’m secure because God is with me”?  Or are they any like those of 2000+ years ago and do everything to pad their own pockets knowing that God is far from them? 

12        Therefore, for your sake, Zion shall be plowed as a field and Jerusalem shall become a heap.  The mountain of the house shall become like he high places of the forest.*

God tells Israel that because of their waywardness, they shall become nothing.  Mounds of dirt that have been plowed for field but not planted with seed – or, at least, good seed.  The high places of the forest become overrun because of lack of use.  How many churches today have become useless weeds by the wayside?

I’m not saying the whole church is off track. God forbid that I point a finger.  But I am saying that too much of the church has strayed.  We shall know them by their fruit (Matt. 7:16-20).  We can identify those committed to Jesus Christ.  Of course, then, we need some sort of personal knowledge of the fruit and the bible is that basic source of knowledge.  How else do we know God’s love?  Yes?

We’re looking at a two-edged sword today.  Part to f the church needs continued building and being encouraged, but too much of the church has gotten off track and needs a swift kick to the keester (backside).  God has been trying and will continue His attempts to get our attention.

Thank God for what happened in Asbury, Ky.  Thank God for the planned revival I am hearing about coming to California and the west coast in April.  But thank God that once these souls have given their heart to Jesus Christ or have come back to Him from their wayward steps, they are given a solid foundation for living in Christ Jesus.  WE have to know God’s nature (LOVE) in order to be with Him when He calls us home!  Yet, how many will be like those who said “But Lord, didn’t we do all these wonderful things in your name (Matt. 7:20-23)?

Read the book of Acts.  Paul spent weeks, months and even years establishing a church assuring that the leadership, he left behind was able to lead the church, was grounded in Christ’s doctrines of love.  Why? So they could raise up ‘true’ believers founded in the love of God and then that they could continue sharing that love – in its totality.  Too many souls have felt that once we accept Jesus, the battle is won. True, but the war is just beginning.  There is a life to live!

Read the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:3-9).  The seed by the wayside never received salvation, came into the church.  The seed among the thorns and on rocky soil professed a faith and joined the church but didn’t stay and left for their own reasons.  Only the seed sown on good ground took root and held on to God’s love and remained faithful.  Read the whole chapter for Jesus’ explanation.

Have we been learning how to live in Christ Jesus?  Does our love grow stronger each day?  Do we commune with our Lord each day?  I don’t mean just saying the “Our Father”, then “see ya later!  Got things to do.”  God is our friend.  We should share our heart with Him – even more so than we might with our closest friend!  Do we experience the joy of His fellowship?  I enjoy singing songs about God, who He is and what He does.  His Spirit literally fills my heart with joy and peace.  I can’t just stand up and walk away.  I have to sit and bask in His presence until my body can, once again, move.

Yes, we need to draw souls into the kingdom of God, but we also need to do what we can to help them get grounded in their faith.  Salvation is not just confessing Jesus then getting ‘dunked’.  We have made a commitment.  Our relationship becomes a living faith!

So, where are we at today?


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