Haunting Scriptures

I love reading God’s word. As I dive into the Psalms, I experience what it is worship God. The psalmists did so on good days, and not so good days. They were able to express what their hearts felt and speak truthfully to God about what they were experiencing. They were able to be honest about their anger and frustration with their enemies, and their God. I love that.

I find great challenge when I read the epistles. Paul, John, Peter, James, Jude and whoever wrote Hebrews help me move from where I am to where I need to be. I find in them answers to questions I have. Every trip into the gospels brings me closer to Jesus. It amazes me sometimes the ‘new’ stuff Jesus says, or at least new ways of understanding what he said.

There are passages that I find haunting. I came across one of those today in my daily bible reading plan. It is not new, and I have referenced it in sermons and lessons many times. I probably have mentioned it in previous blogs. It is from Micah. I do have a degree in Biblical Studies, so I am aware that Micah was written to Israel and that God is not happy with them. In fact, he is so angry that the Assyrians were on their way and Israel’s existence as a nation was about to come to an end. 

I am also keenly aware that these passages do not apply directly to the United States of American. He might be as angry with us as he was with them, and someone similar to Assyria might be headed our way, but then again, I won’t say he was. I have said for a long time that the USA is not a uniquely Christian Nation, though a nation made up of mostly Christians. So, even though Micah was not written to us, and we are not under warning, what it says carries some eternal truths. One of those truths is a scripture of which I speak, a haunting one.

Micah says, “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?” (Micah 6:8). Given what Jesus says in the gospels, and what the writers of the epistles share, I think this reflects what God requires of us, his church, as well. Whenever I read these words, I am given to pausing and reflecting on myself, and the world in which I live.

  1. Do I really do justice? Not want justice, but do I do it? (NIV says “act justly.”) Sometimes I am not sure what this means. I have studied the Hebrew word used here, mispat, but it has such a wide range of possibilities that it is hard to narrow down exactly how it applies to me. One thing I know, it can mean, “Do the right thing.” God wants his creation to do the right thing.
  2. Do I love kindness? Really love? I have to admit to myself that there are times be being kind is a pain. It might involve going out of my way. It might mean changing my attitude. The base human nature is to be unkind. Watch little kids! Yes, sometimes they are all cute as they play together. But grab a toy and watch out. Grade school is a terrible place and high school is worse. I wish it weren’t so, but kids are mean. And we rarely grow out of it. I am troubled by homelessness (the new phrase is unhoused cause homeless sounds mean), Yet, when I see people or places that are not neat and tidy, my reaction isn’t often kindness, or loving for that matter.
  3. Do I walk humbly? Well, I am the humblest person I know. Probably not. Humility may be the hardest of them all.

The point here is that I have work to do. These three requirements should guide my life, my actions, my choices. And not only for me, but for the arena where I live. I think about the businesses I frequent. I wonder about the people running for office. I think about places I have been (Haiti isn’t exactly meeting these requirements, nor Zimbabwe or Mexico for that matter), but where I live isn’t really much better.

So, the haunting continues. Micah the prophet some 2700 years ago speaks to Bruce Thacker. Some days I do well. Others, not so much. 

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