Chuck Foreman – Teaching Pastor
The very thought of Israel, one of the only monotheistic cultures in the ancient world besides China, actually turning to idolatry, is unthinkable! But it happened. Calling God’s People out of idolatry is a major theme of every Old Testament prophet. How could a people who were to be the message bearers of Yahweh, the Creator, regress into crafting and worshipping images made to resemble mortal man, birds, reptiles and other animals? How could those who knew of the Creator begin to worship and serve created things rather than the Creator himself? Amazing! What were they thinking? Well, that’s the problem, they weren’t.
Idolatry. When you get beneath the surface of it, it’s saturated with self-centered ambition. When we become consumed with SELF, we want God to both affirm us and make all our dreams and plans come true. Even our prayers are tell-tale. Our relationship with the God who made us should, in reality, be a willing servant—loving master relationship. When we are the center of our world, our relationship with God is a servant—master relationship, but God becomes the servant and we become the master. We pray and behave as if He has become our servant-genie. And then one day when we begin to get the clue that He will have no part of submitting to us, that He will not be a god who serves our purposes and ambitions, we stiff-arm Him, turn our backs on Him and look for a god who will. This might be an actual idol. Or it might be a world view that will always, without fail, promise us what we want, such as, the Power of Positive Thinking, or any get-rich-quick scheme, or any other self-actualization philosophy, all of which have ME at the center of MY UNIVERSE.
Israel characterized perfectly what happens to us when we as individuals forget who is God and who isn’t—when we refuse to submit to Him and assume our rightful servant’s posture in relation to Him as our Master. (1) We remake God in our own image. He exists to serve our purposes. If he won’t, we will no longer have him. (2) We disregard the needs of others. Acts of justice and mercy are foreign to our self-centered existence. There is nothing we ever do that is not about us. (3) There is no hint of humility in our lives. We listen to no one. We seek no one’s advice. We submit to no authority, let alone God.
Micah of Moresheth understood that these issues were at the core of Israel’s problem in the 8th century B.C. So after he had confronted Israel about her sins of idolatry, disregard for and oppression of the poor, her mindless seduction by false prophets and teachers, and warned her of impending punishment, he zeroed in on the 3 ingredient recipe to the only possible solution to Israel’s disgraceful self-absorption. It’s the theme of his prophetic message to ancient Israel and to modern us—Micah 6:8…
“He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly
and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”
Imagine that—a God who actually requires something of us! Hmmm…and what he wants to see is justice, mercy and humility. That sounds like what a real God would want of his creation, doesn’t it? It sounds like he has our best interest in mind after all, doesn’t it?—but in an unselfish, other-oriented sort of way. When you think about it, if you will think about it, justice, mercy and humility would make all of our lives, as well as the lives of those around us, better than what we have made of them. Don’t you think?…