March 19, 2010

God's Case Against His People

Micah 6:1-8

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?
Micah 6:6


An important part of many court decisions is known as “restitution.” Restitution means that a guilty person’s sentence includes making amends for the wrong that was done. So when someone is found guilty of theft, he is not only punished for his crime but is also ordered to repay what he stole.

Today’s Bible reading portrays the ultimate courtroom drama. God has a case against his people, and the entire creation is called in as the Lord’s witness. In the first five verses of Micah 6, God pours out his heart like a rejected lover. What did God ever do to deserve the way he was treated by his unfaithful people?

The people stand silent before God, their Judge. Their guilt is obvious, and no defense argument can be offered. So verses 6-7 move right into the matter of restitution. But how can sinful people ever repay a holy God? Micah confirms that no sacrifice on our part can ever sufficiently provide restitution to God.

How wonderful that the good news of Jesus announces God’s provision of the sacrifice we could never make. In Paul’s words, Jesus is the one who “loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). Nothing we could offer would be enough to make restitution. But the offering of Jesus, who laid down his life for us, is.

Lord God, forgive us for all the things we do to break your heart. May the sacrifice of Jesus prompt us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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