“O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me!” – Micah 6:3
One of my favorite scriptural verses is in Micah 6. Verse 8 asks, “O mortal … what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
If this devotion was on that verse, you would probably hear a passionate call to be nice, just, faithful, and fair. And if we all heeded that passionate call, the world would be a better place.
But the rest of chapter 6 was written because God’s people weren’t heeding his call to kindness, justice, and devotion.
Therefore, most of this chapter is God’s lament: “9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city … 12 your wealthy are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies.” God mourns the dishonesty of his people, asking, “11 Can I tolerate wicked scales and a bag of dishonest weights?” Therefore, the aching heart of the Father begins by asking today’s mourning question: “3 O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me!”
Israel turned away from God in big ways. Can you answer why?
You and I turn away in generally smaller ways, and yet we’re still repeatedly turning away, aren’t we? Can you answer why?
Why? Well, for me it’s busyness. I’m too often focused on the urgent (my earthly agenda) rather than the important (God’s divine call). Throughout busy days, I often have another god (me) before God. That’s the first insidious effect of busyness. But there’s a second destructive effect: Busyness also creates tiredness, and tiredness creates vulnerability, and when I’m tired and weak and my defenses are down, I’m less patient, less kind, and less self-controlled. Another way to say this is that when I’m busy and tired, I’m working on the basis of my (impatient, unkind, uncontrolled) strength rather than by the fruit of the spirit (which includes patience, kindness, and self-control). In other words, when I’m tired, I’m weak.
How about you? What’s the cause of your struggles and failings?
In today’s verse, God is asking if his ways are wearying to us? If you’re like me, my guess is that there are three parts to your answer: yes, no, and I’m too tired to process it daily. How about you?
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who answers
that last question as:
Yes, I sometimes strain under
the weight of God’s commands.
But no, because I truly know
that God’s ways bring life.
And yes, I’m sadly too tired
4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.
5 O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”
What God Requires
6 “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 old?
7 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?”
8 He has told you, O mortal, 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?
Cheating and Violence to Be Punished
9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city
(it is sound wisdom to fear your name):
Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city![a]
10 Can I forget[b] the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
and the scant measure that is accursed?
11 Can I tolerate wicked scales
and a bag of dishonest weights?
12 Your[c] wealthy are full of violence;
your[d] inhabitants speak lies,
with tongues of deceit in their mouths.
13 Therefore I have begun[e] to strike you down,
making you desolate because of your sins.
14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;
you shall put away, but not save,
and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.
15 You shall sow, but not reap;
you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri[f]
and all the works of the house of Ahab,
and you have followed their counsels.
Therefore I will make you a desolation, and your[g] inhabitants an object of hissing;
so you shall bear the scorn of my people.