Ever Wonder Why?!
Monday, May 11th
How do the desires of our leaders impact the direction of our communities (neighborhoods, states, nation)?
This week we ask the question “what is the will of God, what does the Lord want from me?” Today’s passage reflects on leaders, motivation and the fate of cities they represent. More specifically, it was targeted at Israel’s leaders and the fate of Jerusalem. What is clear from this passage is that God does not want leaders who are fueled by personal gain, especially at the expense of the people they have influence over!
The Passage: Micah 3:9-12
Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice and distort all that is right;
who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.
Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say,
“Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us.”
Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
- According to this passage, what was the fate of Jerusalem because of the greed of its leaders?
- Does denial or inattention change reality or make problems go away?
- How do we see similar situations in politics and governments today?
- What role do we play in the direction of our communities?
Tuesday, May 12th
What happens when our world (current reality) falls apart?
Today’s passage looked to the aftermath of Jerusalem’s downfall (along with the surrounding culture and systems). According to Micah, there is hope! The people turn to God. God’s ways are sought and taught above all others. War and violence have ended, even among those who follow different gods. Unity will become the new normal.
The Passage: Micah 4:1-8
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.
Many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken.
All the nations may walk in the name of their gods,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
“In that day,” declares the Lord,
“I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief.
I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation.
The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever.
As for you, watchtower of the flock, stronghold of Daughter Zion,
the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to Daughter Jerusalem.”
- Why does it take chaos and disruption to encourage us to question our patterns, motives and actions?
- Who/what do you turn to when things fall apart?
- According to this passage, what values rose out of the fall of Jerusalem?
- What can we learn from this as we move through our current Pandemic?
- What hope was/is revealed in this passage?
Wednesday, May 13th
Think of a situation you were in, when the options available to you were not desirable nor seemingly beneficial. What did you do?
At the time of Micah, the state and fate of Israel was obvious to anyone who actually paid attention. The Assyrians were dominating the world, Israel’s leaders had become puppets, corruption was commonplace. However, while Israel’s fate was sealed, God reminded his people that He had the ability to (and would) redeem the situation through uncommon ways. Micah reminds us that we can never count God out!
The Passage: Micah 4:9-13
Why do you now cry aloud— have you no king?
Has your ruler perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor?
Writhe in agony, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor,
for now you must leave the city to camp in the open field.
You will go to Babylon; there you will be rescued.
There the Lord will redeem you out of the hand of your enemies.
But now many nations are gathered against you.
They say, “Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!”
But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.
“Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will give you horns of iron;
I will give you hooves of bronze, and you will break to pieces many nations.”
You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.
- How does this passage encourage us to “act with the end in mind?”
- How would your actions (and thoughts) be different if God’s ways (redemption and resurrection) were off the table and COVID-19 was all you knew?
- What comfort can we take in knowing God used Israel’s pain and her enemy’s arrogance to bring about her redemption and restoration?
Thursday, May 14th
How do you explain a Kingdom without land to a people who have only known kingdoms with land?
The coming Divine King will save and restore! However, this King’s coming will look different than in times past or as seen in other nations. This King’s people will be among all the nations and His greatness will spread to the ends of the earth! This King’s kingdom will transcend borders and achieve victory from within!
The Passage: Micah 5:1-9
Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us.
They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.
He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses.
We will raise against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders,
who will rule the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with drawn sword.
He will deliver us from the Assyrians when they invade our land and march across our borders.
The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord,
like showers on the grass, which do not wait for anyone or depend on man.
The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples,
like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep,
which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue.
Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.
- What is the difference between a king whose greatness comes from a life lived as opposed to land lived in?
- How does a kingdom without a violent army “mangle” and triumph over its enemies?
- As followers of King Jesus, how and what do we wage war on to help advance God’s kingdom?
Friday, May 15th
What does God get angry about?
What are we left with when everything that was, has ended? In the end, power, institutions, communities, beliefs, systems, relics and immorality that opposed God (and by default, God’s creation and His image bearers) will cease. When that happens, we will become acutely aware of where our allegiance lined up. Hopefully, when the time comes, we will find that nothing we were about has ended because it was firmly grounded in God’s kingdom.
The Passages: Micah 5:10-15
“In that day,” declares the Lord,
“I will destroy your horses from among you and demolish your chariots.
I will destroy the cities of your land and tear down all your strongholds.
I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells.
I will destroy your idols and your sacred stones from among you;
you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands.
I will uproot from among you your Asherah poles when I demolish your cities.
I will take vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations that have not obeyed me.”
- How can we be secure that what we are doing lines up with God’s Kingdom?
- How do we oppose beliefs and systems in a way that allow those promoting them to experience God’s Kingdom?
Saturday, May 16th
Why is it easy for us to blame or question God when things don’t go well?
Some things never change. Enter the blame game. Instead of repenting and owning their harmful and rebellious ways, Israel blamed God. They ignored God’s warnings as well as all the leaders He sent to help and guide them. At the end of the day, God has only required three things: to do and pursue justice, to be merciful, and to be humble, recognizing we are NOT the Creator, but we do represent Him. What does this mean? It means that we pursue life in a way that recognizes, values and encourages humanity as God’s image bearers! It means that we care for and move things forward in ways that allow creation to thrive!
The Passages: Micah 6:1-8
Listen to what the Lord says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say.
“Hear, you 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.
“My people, what have I done to you?
How have I burdened you? Answer me.
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.
My people, remember what Balak king of Moab plotted and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”
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?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, 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.
- What things do we tend to blame God for?
- How do you think God responds to us when we do this?
- What does acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God look like during the our current pandemic?
- What do we do when we disagree with each other on what justice looks like?