6-3-2023 Micah & the 2-edged sword
Two-edged sword? The book of Hebrews tells us that the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword able to even divide the soul and the spirit, the joints and the marrow and discerns the thoughts and the intents of the heart (Heb:4:12).
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’s standards 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 (too much of today’s church).
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 get rough and start to go wrong doesn’t the church call out to God? Yet, when that time does come, because of the church’s waywardness (again, not all), 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 (unconditionally)! Yes? God wants to and will bless us, but are we being told that we have a responsibility to insure those blessings? Do we want to do ‘our own thing’ then run to God when it doesn’t work out? 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 and then we will receive His blessings.
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 (too much of it) when we refuse to obey God’s will. The prophets will preach feel-good messages without the balance of how we should be living our lives. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness with half-truths ‘turn stone into bread, jump off the angels will catch you & worship me and I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world!” Jesus responded “live by every word out of God’s mouth, don’t tempt God & worship God and only God!”(Matt. 4:1-10). 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. Monkey see, monkey do? Unfortunately, they never check it out for themselves! God’s Word gives us what we need and we have to know it so we can see the ‘real deal’. so we see and discern that which is of God and that which is not. And we need to be talking with God, ourselves, to confirm it! What God says and His word (the bible) will always be in agreement.
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 and give more ($$)’? are we doing those things which are right?
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 the same 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 (John 12:4-6). Read the gospels they used that money to cover their own living expenses and to help the needy (but maybe not in that order). The disciples carried on this tradition for the same reasons and today’s churches need to gather money also for the same reasons, to operate and help. 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”, therefore I am OK? Do they, like those of 2000+ years ago, do everything to pad their own pockets, claiming that God is with them but knowing that they are far from God? Nor care about who He is!
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 the 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. Churches have collapsed – actually to protect the people from any further damage. How many churches today have become useless weeds in the midst of a dead forest?
I’m not saying the whole church is off track. God always has His number (1 Kings 19:18, Rom. 11:4 ). 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 and those who are not Of course, then, we do need some sort of personal knowledge of the fruit and the bible is that basic source of knowledge coupled with our personal relationship with the Lord. Again, how else do we know God’s love? Right?
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 revivals I am hearing about coming into California and the west coast later this year. 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)? Jesus’ reply? “I never knew you.”
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 by being 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. Even then Paul had to write letters to get souls back on the right track! 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! And a enemy to fight!
Read the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:3-9). The seed by the wayside never received salvation so as to come 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 earthly friend! Do we experience the joy of His fellowship? I enjoy singing songs about God, who He is and what He does. I sing to God about His relationship with me! 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 settles down (literally).
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’ (baptized). We have made a commitment. Our relationship becomes a daily, living faith!
The Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword able to divide even the soul and the spirit, the joints and the marrow and discerns the thoughts and the intents of the heart.
So, where is our heart today? On which side of the two-edged sword do we stand?