Appeasement, Bible, Blessing, Commands, Commitment, Contentment, Humility, Judgment, Mercy

WHAT DO YOU WANT, GOD?

MICAH 6:8

“He has told you, mortal one, 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?”

It is hard to please someone if you do not know what they want. I remember going through the Five and Dime store in my hometown of Pelham, GA trying to find the perfect Mothers’ Day gift for my mom. In the end I got this “very pretty” sand sculpture in this glass vase. My mom probably hated it, but she kept it the rest of her life. It was not about the gift to her. It was all about the giver – me.

God has told us exactly what He wants from us. Three things – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with Him. Now, if you have not seen this verse before, you can’t say that anymore. You have been told what He wants. It is the same thing He wanted from His children so long ago. And just like us, they spurned Him. They wanted their own thing and their own way.

APPLICATION

So, what do you need to do? To do justice. What does that mean? It means for you to judge appropriately, correctly, righteously rather than based on your own desires or prejudices. But Micah quickly adds “to love kindness.” Some versions say “to love mercy. This is the flip side of justice. Both are necessary and both are a part of God’s character.

Finally, Micah tells us “to walk humbly with our God.” That’s the hard part. The old country song said, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” We all think we are doing okay. True humility requires us to put others before ourselves. That is just not the American way.

These things God required then and required now will give us a balanced approach as we seek to serve our King. Will you trust Him in this? If He tells us to do something, we can be sure it is for our good. We may not see it as good at the beginning, but we will eventually. God is going for the long play. Can you?

I place my life in Your hands, Lord, to do with as You please.

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Bible, Bitterness, Boasting, Conceit, Eternity, God's Will, Humility, Scripture, Witnessing

DISDAIN

MICAH 4:11

“‘And now many nations have been assembled against you who say, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gloat over Zion!”’”

I need to ask you a tough question. Have you ever looked with disdain on someone? You may ask, Carl, what does that mean? Well, let me explain. Disdain is the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect. It is having contempt for that person or thing.

That was the feeling that the surrounding nations had for Israel. She (Israel) was just a piece of ground that was in their way. They saw the Israelites as beneath them. Of course, we know this feeling carried down through the ages. Everyone around them was always trying to defeat them. The Lord is simply reminding them of this.

APPLICATION

We have no right to ever look at anyone with disdain. Everyone needs Jesus. It does not matter what a person’s socioeconomic status is. It does not matter their race or ethnicity. No one should see others as beneath them. We are all in need of grace, and there is only one place to get it – Jesus.

As I travel over the globe, I get a chance to meet some incredible people. I am traveling, the Lord willing, to Burundi and Tanzania next month. I have never been to these two countries. I know I will meet a lot of people in these countries who need Jesus. Others I meet will know the Lord and are probably living for Him much better than I am. I want to learn from both groups of people.

We are in a lost world that is in need of a Savior, whether they know it or not. We cannot waste time looking down on someone. That person has a soul that will spend eternity somewhere. It is our mission as believers to try to reach them for the kingdom. So, the next time you start to think you are better than someone else, think again. The King is above us all.

I am not worthy to call You my Father, but I forever grateful You call me Your son.

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Bible, Calling, Direction, Disciplemaking, Exalting, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

HIGH PLACES

MICAH 4:8

“‘As for you, tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you it will come—yes, the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.’”

High places have been used time and time again to make announcements. Politicians take to stages to make speeches. Pastors climb into elevated rostrums to deliver their messages. High places give us visibility and allow our messages to be heard more easily.

It only makes sense that these two sites mentioned by the Lord here in Micah 4:8 are both high places. The “tower of the flock” is the Tower of Adel near Bethlehem. It is the spot where supposedly the shepherds received the message from the angels of the birth of Christ. The “hill of the daughter of Zion” refers to Ophel which is a high place on the south side of Jerusalem which was prophesied as the place the Messiah would appear.

APPLICATION

Okay, Carl, enough with the geography lesson. What does this mean for us? I am glad you asked. When we think of a high place, what does that require us to do? We have to look up. The shepherds looked up to see the angels. We have to look up to see Ophel, if we are in Jerusalem. Keep looking up!

Albert Barnes has this to say about these two sites. “Both then are images of lowliness. The lonely Shepherd tower, for Bethlehem, the birthplace of David; Ophel for Jerusalem, of which it was yet but an outlying part, and deriving its value probably as an outwork of the temple. Both symbols anticipate the fuller prophecy of the littleness, which shall become great in God.”

The lowly baby, born in a manger, became the Savior of the world. He was the long-awaited Messiah. His kingdom is not of this world, but His greatness exceeds them all. God will also lift us up if we humble ourselves. If we make ourselves lowly, He will exalt us. Allow the Lord to set you on a high place, so the message he has given you can be heard.

Thank You, Lord, for setting me up so others can hear. Let me never see myself as exalted, but only allow You to exalt me when I humble myself.

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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Blameless, Devil, Encouragement, Eternity, Evil, Humility, Mockery, Relationships, Satan, Scripture

MOCKING

MICAH 2:4

“‘On that day they will take up against you a song of mocking and utter a song of mourning and say, “We are completely destroyed! He exchanges the share of my people; how He removes it from me! To the apostate He apportions our fields.”’”

Being mocked is not fun, is it? Remember as a child someone repeating every word you said. Little brothers and little sisters were really bad about that. “Leave me alone” and the echo would come back, “Leave me alone.” “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.” Again, “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.”

Today’s verse shows that happening to God’s people by the pagan enemies who would defeat them. They would actually mock their mourning and cries out to God. Defeated and demoralized. Defeated and publicly humiliated. How low could they go. Pretty low it seemed.

APPLICATION

Has this happened to you? Have your enemies mocked you? Probably not, but it could happen. So, what is worse than that? I will tell you. Standing before a holy God and answering not for your sins. If our sins aren’t under the blood, if we are saved by the blood of the Lamb, we will not only be humiliated, but we will also be eternally separated from God.

You cannot get much lower than that. Listen to me, if you are a believer today, Satan will mock you when you are down. He will whisper those accusations against you. Remember that your sins were paid for at Calvary. That does not give you a free reign to sin. Not in the least. But it does give you the answer to Satan’s mocking.

We can literally tell Satan to flee. James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It does not get much better than that. You have the power through the Holy Spirit to put Satan in his place – hell. That is not where you belong and that is not where you are going. You have an eternal home guaranteed for you in heaven. Doesn’t that excite you today?

Father, it does not matter what the devil says. I know I am yours and forever will be.

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Bible, Boasting, Conceit, Exalting, Humility, Scripture, Stubbornness

WALKING RIGHT 

MICAH 2:3 

“Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘Behold, I am planning against this family a catastrophe from which you cannot remove your necks; and you will not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time.’” 

I have to admit something. Sometimes I can get a little haughty or arrogant. I jokingly say most mornings when I get up and look in the mirror, “Well, it happened again last night.” That’s when my wife would ask, “What happened?” I reply, “I got better looking. It’s just the Willis curse.” LOL 

The people of Israel and Judah were walking haughtily. That means to be too big for your britches (according to local Southern colloquialisms). That Hebrew word for “haughtily” only occurs right here in Micah 2:3. It comes from the Hebrew word rum which means high and lifted up. Get the picture? They were walking around with their noses up in the air. Stuck up people. 

APPLICATION 

Have you known people like that? Unfortunately, I have. They are not much fun to be around. They look down their noses at you. I have even known Christians who acted that way. That is no way for a believer to live. We have to be better than that. Remember, God said He would humble the exalted and exalt the humble. Even the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar said this about proud people. “He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37) 

I want to encourage you today to humble yourself before a holy God. Go to Him on bended knee and ask Him to show you the pride in your life. He will gladly point this out because pride (in this sense) is not the kind of character He wants to build in you. 

I said earlier that I can be proud sometimes. When I start to get puffed up, my sweet wife reminds me of who I am in Christ. The Holy Spirit kicks in and reminds me that my place in the kingdom is solely dependent on my Savior, not my abilities and genius. I want to serve as His humble servant. Will you bow with me today? 

God, forgive me when I try to exalt myself. Remind me to sit at the end of the table waiting to be asked to sit in the place of honor. 

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Accountability, Bible, Brokenness, Dependence, Humility, Idols, Weakness

GOING BALD  

MICAH 1:16 

“Shave yourself bald, yes, cut off your hair, because of the children of your delight; extend your baldness like the eagle, for they will go from you into exile.” 

Having gone through chemotherapy a couple of times, I have gone bald twice. That’s not so bad for a man. I kind of liked it, but my wife sure didn’t. For a woman, however, the loss of her hair is humiliating. Most women I know who lost their hair due to chemotherapy wore a scarf, wig or some other form of head covering. 

For the Israelites, losing their hair through shaving it off was forbidden. This was a practice of the pagan worshippers. They would even cut their children’s hair according to those practices. Of course, we know that paganism only revealed their weakness of faith. That’s why Micah uses the analogy of the eagle losing its feathers through molting. At that time, the eagle is at its weakest. 

APPLICATION 

When are you at your weakest? Oh beware! When we are weak physically, emotionally or spiritually, the enemy attacks. Now, the Lord will also allow circumstances of weakness to get our attention or speak to us. I have personally experienced that. During both of my chemo experiences, God clearly spoke to me as to why I was going through that. 

Let me encourage you to examine yourself during your weak moments. What will you do? Will you lean on the Lord or something else? All those “something elses” will fail. They will pierce your hand if you lean on them. Only the Lord is reliable. Only the Lord can support you. Only the Lord! 

I am so thankful for my times of weakness. They reminded me of my total dependence on the Lord. There were days I could barely walk, but God sustained. Psalm 3:5 says, “I lie down and sleep; I awake again because the Lord sustains me.” Amen? 

Father, in my weakness, You are my strength. I shall lean on You. 

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Bible, Brokenness, Confession, Disciplemaking, Following, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

WALLOW

MICAH 1:10 

“Do not tell it in Gath, do not weep at all. At Beth-le-aphrah roll yourself in the dust in mourning.” 

You have probably seen animals rolling in the dust. They seem to be having such a good time. I’ve seen horses do it. I have even seen elephants in Kenya do it. My uncle was a pig farmer. Let me tell you – pigs are really good at wallowing.  

Micah uses a word for “roll” that is only used twice by Jeremiah and once by Ezekial. In those three other times this word is used, it is used to wallow in ashes. In that culture, throwing dust in the air or putting ashes on your head was a sign of mourning or humility. So, rolling in the dust, covering your whole body in dust would be extreme.  

APPLICATION 

How low can you go? I don’t mean in limbo, lol. I mean, how low can you submit yourself to the Lord. Humility and mourning over our sins are sure signs of our desire to repent and turn to the Lord. Our actions speak louder than words. We can say we repent, but when we take steps to change our behavior, that really speaks. 

The Lord does not expect you to go outside and wallow in the dust. But He does expect you to humble yourself before Him. What can you do to humble yourself? What steps can you take to exhibit humility? How will your life change as a result of this action? 

I know when I humble myself before the Lord, I feel so much safer. I do not feel “less than.” I actually feel “more than.” I feel comforted by my Lord. It seems He holds me closer. I can just picture Him taking me in His arms and giving me a “daddy hug.” I can wallow in His love. 

Thank You, Lord, for holding me close. I want to feel that closeness every day. 

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Accountability, Bible, Boasting, Choices, Commitment, Distractions, Following, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

NO MOUNTAIN TOO HIGH     

MICAH 1:3

“For behold, the LORD is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.”

My wife and I have good friends who live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They have a view of Pike’s Peak right from their back door. It is breath taking. On a visit out there a few years ago, we drove up the mountain as far as we could. We did not get to the top due to snow. That is a big mountain.

Micah says in today’s verse that God could come down and walk on mountains like Pike’s Peak. For Him, that is nothing. There is no mountain too high for God. Those high places were also the places of idolatry. Micah was declaring God’s judgment on all those who thought themselves too high and mighty.

We cannot see ourselves as high and lifted up. We have no right to do that. Outside of Christ in our lives, we are nothing. Sure, we can be successful in life in the world’s eyes without following Christ. We see that all the time. Just look at the list of the richest people in the world. How many of them are devout believers?

APPLICATION

We are no better than the people of Judah whom Micah is addressing. We are prone to wander. We give lip service to following Jesus, but if something better comes along, we hop right on it. There is no room for other things. Jesus has to be the top priority in our lives.

I strive to make Him first every day. I do pretty good with that unless there is fishing or hunting available. Then I can get sidetracked. Now, there is nothing wrong with those two things. I just cannot let them misplace Jesus. I have to have my Quiet Times and prayer time first. I love Him that much. Will you put Him first in your life today?

Lord, forgive me when I let other things distract me. You are first in my life!

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Abiding, Bible, Distress, Encouragement, Fasting, Humility, Sacrifice, Scripture, Thirsting

NOT A DROP

JONAH 3:7

“And he issued a proclamation, and it said, ‘In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: No person, animal, herd, or flock is to taste anything. They are not to eat, or drink water.’”

Have you ever been really thirsty? I mean, really thirsty. Your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth. You can hardly swallow. Your mouth feels like it is full of sawdust. I have only been that thirsty a couple of times. When we had football camp in Moultrie, GA in August, oh my. The heat and dryness would dehydrate you in minutes, it seemed. Gatorade never tasted so good.

The king of Nineveh called on everyone to refrain from anything to drink. This proclamation even extended to the animals. Can you imagine trying to keep your herds from drinking? And when the king gave an edict, it was followed. No one was allowed anything. His purpose in this will be revealed in the coming verses.

APPLICATION

When I think of being thirsty today, I think about thirsting after the Word of God. God, unlike the king of Nineveh, does not withhold the water of the Word. He freely gives it. Like an artesian well, it flows and flows and flows. It gives refreshment to the driest soul. He restores the vigor of each person who indulges.

Psalm 42:1-2a says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;” Are you thirsty for Jesus? Does your soul thirst for God? We should have an unquenchable thirst for the things of the Lord. We should have a thirst that is not satisfied by anything of this world. Nothing else can meet that need in our life.

I am convinced that the more I drink the Word of God, the more God gives me the thirst for more. I read and study only to read and study more. It is a deep pool of water that never runs dry. I can literally dive deep into it and never come up for air. It envelopes me. I pray you can find that in God’s Word today.

I am so thankful for Your Word, O God. I truly pant after it just as the deer pants for the water.

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Advice, Bible, Boasting, Brokenness, Exalting, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

HUMBLE LEADERS

JONAH 3:6

“When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, removed his robe from himself, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat on the dust.”

I have been fortunate in my ministry to have worked for some very humble men. Humility is a trait that goes a long way with me. If someone is arrogant and too sure of themselves, I will give them plenty of room. Those traits drag me down. But being led by a humble person makes me want to emulate them. I truly admire that.

The king of Nineveh lowered himself to the same level as his people. He didn’t think himself too good to hear the message which reached his ears. The word for “word” here isn’t just referring to Jonah’s message. It is also referring to the response of the people that was reported to him. He removed his royal robe, put on sackcloth and sat in the dirt. That’s humbling yourself.

APPLICATION

Are you humble? If you answered “yes,” you probably aren’t, lol. We have a choice about humility. We can humble ourselves or be humbled. I prefer the former. If I humble myself, someone else may exalt me. But if I exalt myself, I may get humbled. Jesus said the same thing when He referred to coming as a guest to a meal. He said sit at the end of the table and let the host move you up.

The question then arises. How do you show yourself humble? Putting others before yourself is one way. Serving someone less fortunate than you is another. How about keeping your mouth shut in that business meeting even when you know you have the right answer? It’s not easy being humble.

Humility is spoken of all through Scripture. Let me encourage you to do a word study on humility. Do you know what that means? Find a good concordance or go to a good website like Biblehub.com and do a search. Take some time to study those passages that speak on humility. Search your own heart and see how you measure up. We all have room to improve with humility.

O Lord, I want to be humble before You and men. Help me keep my heart broken before You.

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