I’ve been reading through the prophets on my journey to read the Bible in 90 Days. I’ve always thought the prophets were pretty ambiguous but reading through at this pace the major themes really become crystal clear.
The prophets were basically concerned with the destruction of the nation of Israel. They were written both before and after the fall of Jerusalem to explain that this did not occur because God was too weak, but because the Israelites had abandoned their God (Is 59:1).
As you read it becomes clear that they had abandoned God in two major ways. First, they had abandoned God in their worship. This had occurred both in their idolatry to other gods and in their lackluster and meaningless sacrifices at the temple (Is 1:11 – 14).
Secondly, they had abandoned their God by neglecting and oppressing the less fortunate among them (Is 1:15 - 17). As God’s people they had been given a mission to be a blessing to all peoples of the earth (Gen 12:3). This especially included the “foreigner,” the “widow,” and the “orphan” (Ex 22:21 – 24).
Somehow they felt their election as the people of God and the presence of God’s temple in their midst would absolve them from any of these sins (Jer 7:1 – 11). It did not. They were overcome, taken into captivity and their city was burned to the ground.
It was during this time that the people began to wonder, “What can we possibly do to please God?” And just like many of us, they wanted to make it more complicated than it is.
In Micah chapter six we hear the people wondering…
"What can we bring to the Lord?
What kind of offerings should we give him?
Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?"
The prophet responds with a resounding “NO!!!”
“He has told you, O Man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Over the next few days I’d like to explore the simplicity of our calling as Christians. What does it mean to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God?