Have you ever noticed how easy it is to judge others? So often people do things we do not understand or look a certain way and they receive our judgment.
Covey tells the story of meeting a father on his subway journey home after work. He was tired and just wanted a little peace and quiet. Unfortunately, the father's kids were loud and running around the subway car. Covey got increasingly frustrated with the father's lack of discipline. Finally, when he could take it no more, he asked the father, "Isn't there anything you can do to control these kids?"
The man slowly looked up at Covey as if in a daze and apologized. "I'm sorry, I'm not myself tonight. Their mother just passed away at the hospital."
That little piece of data changed everything for Covey. He went from judge to servant in an instant. He found mercy.
1 Listen to what the LORD says:"Stand up, plead your case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. 2 Hear, O mountains, the LORD's accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel. 3 "My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. 4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. 5 My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD." 6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God?
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 thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
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.
God is a God of MERCY. He is a God that does not give people what they deserve. He is a God that knows all, sees all and STILL chooses to give mercy and kindness to people.
We are a people of JUDGEMENT. We give people what they deserve based on our standards. We are a people that know little and see little and STILL choose to give judgment to others.
That was the problem with the people in Micah's day. Knowing the God of mercy, knowing the God that rescued them did not translate into mercy or kindness toward others. God calls them to reflect on the kindness they had received. He calls them to remember his rescue of them from slavery.
There is an expectation in this passage that those who have received mercy will give mercy to others. Jesus said this: those that experience the love of God much will in turn love much (Luke 7:47).
Ironic that these people continue in their religious observances and sacrifices and yet God is not pleased! He doesn't want their stuff. He doesn't want their sacrifices. He wants them to look like Him! He wants them to reflect his mercy. He wants them to show mercy.
I wonder if our offering of singing, giving or serving could be unacceptable if we are not showing mercy to others? Could God care that much about mercy? Could God care that much about cutting folks some slack? Could God be that concerned with not giving people what they deserve?
What can you do with this? Show mercy! Slow down on the judgment of others. Try to give the benefit of the doubt in all circumstances. Seek first to understand before being understood.
So easy to sit as judge and jury toward others. This apparently does not please the Lord! After all, who are we to judge? We ourselves are the recipients of mercy and rescue. We ourselves are worthy of judgment but received rescue instead. That mercy should be mirrored in our lives. That gratitude should show.
Give some mercy today. Be patient. Pray for wisdom. Slow down. If you get stuck at the red light, in the right hand turn lane, behind a driver that wont budge ... take a deep breath, show mercy. The most you will lose is one minute. But you stand to gain the honor of offering worship to our exalted God.
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