As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me…
You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love. – Micah 7:7, 18b-20a
The prophet Micah rails against the Jewish people and their utter abandonment of God and His ways. He predicts peril and destruction for them. Then, in Chapter 7, he recalls God’s faithfulness in the big picture. Yes, God will punish his people for their sin, but when they turn from their sin He’s waiting to show unfailing love and compassion, and to offer forgiveness and cleansing. That’s how our heavenly father longs to be with us.
As a father myself, I must punish the “sins” of my kids if I want them to grow up to be law abiding citizens with good character. It is not an option to allow them to run wild without consequences. My discipline is out of love and for their own good. And when they come to their senses and apologize, I wait with copious quantities of love and grace and forgiveness. I simply want to have a great friendship with my kids… God longs for the same with us. He is not unwilling to discipline us for our own good (and out of love), but waiting, even longing, for us to come to our senses and come home. The prodigal son in Luke 15 illustrates what Micah is prophesying here in Chapter 7: God is love, through and through, and is not afraid to show tough love if that’s what is required to bring us home… He is not codependent in any way.
God’s love for me and you is a matter of fact. He loves us unconditionally. But my standing with Him, the state of our relationship, is a matter of choice on my part. I can choose to love him back, be faithful to his ways, and give him my heart and affections, or I can choose the way of idolatry, like the Jewish people did.
Idolatry always leads to misery. It always leads to separation from God. The things we worship today are money, power, sex and pleasure, our children, comfort, careers and reputations. We can choose these things and give ourselves to them, over and above God, but they will lead us to the same demise and destruction that the idolatry of the Jews led them to. The good news is, that like the the people of Micah’s day, God longs to restore us, forgive us, and bring us home. The question for today is this: Will we lay down our idols and worship God alone?
Father, I choose this day to love you back, over and above anything that competes for my affections. You are my God, I want your ways to be my ways. You know I am not perfect, and am prone to wander, but I choose this day to worship you, follow you, love you and be your child. Please grant me your forgiveness, restoration, and friendship, for that is what I want above all things… In Jesus’ name, Amen.