12 August 2019Micah 3:5-12
Surely the Lord is with us! No harm shall come upon us. (v. 11)
Psalm: Psalm 25
During this week we will be dipping in and out of Micah's prophecy to a divided nation that has failed in its promises to God. It is threatened by outsiders and yet through it all, Micah speaks of not only God’s judgement but his steadfast love.
I woke one night in Cheshire and felt the earth shake. It was a very minor earthquake – one of many that hits the UK every year. This one was just strong enough to wake me, but it did no other harm. However, my memory was most disconcerting. The moving of the room, which seemed to be immovable, the ground so steady, had an emotional effect on me. I actually felt quite disturbed. I really can’t imagine what it must be like to feel a ‘real’ earthquake. All that you rely on is no longer reliable.
An earthquake is happening, metaphorically, for the powerful of Jacob to whom Micah is speaking. Everything seemed so sure. The facts of their lives, their wealth, security, their corrupt priests and bribed judges. God is with us; what can possibly go wrong, they plead! As you read the words again of the passage, do they remind you of things in our own society? I wonder what are the ‘sure things’ of life that protect from uncertainty? Imagine them shaking.
The worst thing, of course, is that ‘they had it coming’. They had built their trust in things that are ultimately untrustworthy. They had hidden behind lies and bribery. They preached peace and there was no peace.
I have always been drawn to ‘end of the world’ kind of stories. Meteor strikes on planet earth, carnivorous walking plants, or perils from the deep. The catastrophe imagined by the writer gives scope to explore what really makes for civilised society and the good life. It cuts away, quite literally, the props and decorations of our modern world and asks ‘what if?’ Well I wonder, ‘what if’ for us? What matters? What will last? What do you want to hang on to?
- What do these descriptions of a faithless people remind you of?
- What do you think are their key errors of judgment and do we still make them?
- How do you think this message might be received today in Church, politics or wider society?