Corruption, it seems, is alive and well. We hear stories of bribery in other parts of the world all the time–India, China, and Russia, typically repeat offenders–but it’s not something we expect to find here in the United States, We’re better than that, right? I’d like to think so, but that doesn’t stop people from making stupid decisions, When people make stupid decisions, and over a lifetime of 76 years, I’ve made plenty–they have to face the consequences.
Nowadays, that typically means a trial in a courtroom, but in Bible times it meant something more harsh, like maybe fire and brimstone?
Usually, yes; that is unless you count the time that God brought Israel to court for immorality in the Book of Micah.
Let’s look now at the last two chapters in Micah.
These 8 verses read like a courtroom drama: “Law and Order: Jerusalem Crimes”.
THE SCENE IS SET –
I can just hear a lawyer yelling this now–“God is demanding that the people explain their actions.”
At this point, the Israelites were extremely corrupt.
A REVIEW OF MICAH –
Chapter 2:8-9 (NIV)
 Lately my people have risen up like an enemy. You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without care, like men returning from battle.
 You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever.
Chapter 3, God calls out the leadership specifically: verses 1-3
In chapter 7, God lists more specifics! verses 2-3
 The faithful have been swept from the land; no one upright person remains. Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets.
 Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire–they all conspire together.
So in Micah 6:1-8, the prosecution starts by asking the mountains and hills to listen. They are the JURY!
 “Hear now what the Lord says: Arise, contend and plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.  Hear, O mountains, the Lord’s controversy, and you strong and enduring foundations…”
The book of Luke in the Bible says that if we’re all silent the rock themselves will cry out in praise–so I don’t think it’s a reach that they could serve as a jury if asked by their Creator.
He then begins to list off what he has done, when it says in verse 5, God wants to make sure that the Israelites “know the righteous and saving acts of the Lord” (AMP).
What comes next is such a human action! The people want to jump to the extreme!
They got from not listening to God’s Word at all to wanting to go overboard with burnt offerings, thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of olive oil and their first-born child (vs. 7)?
Really? That’s a bit dramatic, don’t you think? But this is how they thought! They were like the criminal when, overcome with guilt, tells the cops to throw him in jail, and let him starve to death in a dark pit because he did something wrong. And in my opinion, the Israelites deserved every one of those things.
They disrespected the creator of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! God would be well within His rights to simply point His finger and ZAP THEM with lightning bolts, or rain down fire and brimstone.
But He doesn’t.
In verse 8, God tells them what He wants: That’s it!
Micah 6:8 (AMP)
“…to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God”
God doesn’t care about these huge outward displays of guilt.
He knows how you’re feeling, and whether your guilt is legit or not!
All He wants is for you to follow Him in all of His ways. That’s the very definition of MERCY.
Going back to the courtroom for a moment…
This would be like the district attorney telling the judge, “We’ll drop all charges so long as the defendant comes back to us and does the right thing.”
What if in the military trials, with suspected terrorists, ended like that? “Your honor, let this terrorist go free, so long as he promises not to do it again.” That would never happen, right?
But God’s MERCY is so much greater than ours that we can’t really understand how far it really goes.
God promises that Israel will rise again!
That’s right–after all this, after the courtroom, the lawyers and the jury, God says, “It’s OK! I’ll continue to bless you, and this is how.”
Micah 7:11-12 (NIV)
 The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries.
 In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, even from Egypt to the Euphrates and from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
So what does this mean for us today? It means if you sin, if you do anything to disrespect God, to anger God, He doesn’t expect you to flip a little switch and become a SuperChristian to make up for it!
All God wants is for you to follow Him–the rest of it will take care of itself if you do that.
When you do sin–and let’s face it, it will happen–don’t wallow in self-pity and make absurd promises to God that you know you can’t keep.
Just be honest with God–admit you’ve sinned–and go back to following Him.
THAT’S ALL HE WANTS!
Credit: Law and Order (1990-1991) Theme – Youtube video
Images/Photos: Google Image Search – settings, advance search.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV).