SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH OF LOS ANGELES

Inspirational messages for Sunday May 3 through Saturday May 9, 2020 


Sunday May 3, 2020 / Fourth Sunday of Easter

These passages are based on Micah chapter 6 verses 1-8 in which the Lord raises a series of questions.  You may remember me referring to a book by Bruce Lawson entitled, What God Wants To Know?  In it he suggests you can find your answers to your queries to God by answering the vital questions God asks.  Imagine finding in your responses the answers to your queries by simply answering God's vital questions. 

Background of the book of Micah.  Micah is one of the prophets of the eighth century who was a contemporary of Isaiah.  His name means" who is like God."  He is a prophet of social protest, a spokesman for the poor who are exploited.  He denounced the greedy and the hypocritical establishment, (that exploited and took advantage of the vulnerable, weak, widows, orphans), its heads give bribes for a judgment, its priest teach for hire and its prophets prophecy for money: yet they lean upon the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us.” (Mic. 3:11).  He rails against the swindling merchants with their false scales and weights, and against the landowners who covet fields and seize them (Mic. 2:2).  Micah believes that true faith comes from the heart, and not from formal sacrifices.  Will the Lord be pleased with a thousand rams, with then thousands of rivers of oil? …. The Lord has shown you what is good!  What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?  Said another way / To be just and kind and live in fellowship with God. 

In this chapter God demands to know “what have I done to you?  in what have I wearied you?  The relationship between God and Israel is now strained.  There has been a fracture in the friendship and rupture in the relationship.  God’s relationship with Israel which began with God’s generosity seemingly has not worked.  God speaks through the prophet with questions that present what God wants to know.  What have I done to you? In what way have I wearied you? that cause you to doubt that I am present to you? 
 
Consider your response to the questions the Lord ask of you / what has God done to you? in what has the Lord wearied you?
 

Monday May 4, 2020


God rehearses what God has done for them alluding to the long history of generosity and liberation.  The Exodus is the model for all God’s saving acts.  God’s faithfulness consists in a series of rescues wrought by God for Israel.    In what way have I failed you?   God wants to know this because God is the God who “brought you up from the land of Egypt and delivered you from slavery; and sent you leaders in Moses, Aaron and Miriam (v. 4).  God is the One who chose to save Israel.  Balak, the Moabite king, (Numbers 22-24) wanted to destroy Israel by a curse.  Balaam, the prophet, was hired to speak the king’s deadly curse.  God in a powerful preemptive act, precluded such a curse and turn the curse into a blessing.   

God has relentlessly been saving Israel from destruction.  God has been a faithful savior.  God has relentlessly been saving us through all of the seasons of our lives individually and communally. 

God challenges us to consider what God has done for us and requires of us as an expression of gratitude.  God has delivered us from oppression / our oppressors.  God has raised up leaders for you.  God has turned curses into blessings.  God has brought you to where you are.  Yet you do not give your loyalty to God.  As God rehearses what God has done for Israel alluding to the long history of generosity and liberation let us rehearse what God has done for us to assure us of the presence of the Lord now. 
 
Consider how the Lord has rescued you in all of the seasons of your life. 
 

Tuesday May 5, 2020

Micah denounced the greedy and the hypocritical establishment that exploited and took advantage of the vulnerable, weak, widows, orphans, poor, etc. with leadership that was corrupt without compassion.  He rails against the swindling merchants with their false scales and weights, and against the landowners who covet fields and seize them (Mic. 2:2). The question is asked "Is not the Lord with us?"


Micah confesses: I am filled with power by the Spirit of the LORD, indicating that in himself he is only a man.  He is not boasting of having a keener mind than others in order to garner their praise; rather, he only wants them to recognize what God has put in his spirit. Consequently, if we want our Lord to fortify us with power, then let us acknowledge the absence of such in ourselves and let God give us the power we need to amend what's flawed.  


While we are concerned about our personal health and safety during this pandemic crisis, the disparity that exist with the disproportionate cases among the most vulnerable attest to the reality that this discrepancy is intentional, insensitive and injurious carelessly, deliberately and thoughtlessly.  

Consider how established practices and policies put people in a vulnerable position making them helpless and powerless to rectify the ruin caused by the consequences of the choices of those who are charged with the responsibility to provide leadership.    

 

Wednesday May 6, 2020


God's saving acts, recited previously, are precisely the standard for the worshiper in this matter.
What God has done provides the inspiration for human justice, fidelity, and one's whole walk in
life. It has been said with respect to biblical faith that what God has done suggests what we
ought to be and do in faithful response.
Micah presents a trilogy of qualities that are personal and social in nature. Each one is rooted in
a personal conviction and attitude initiating a certain kind of relationship with God and others.
What God wants and requires is that you do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord. It
should be noted that each of the verbs are action verbs with require that you do something. You
must take the initiative to respond to what God has done.
Consider how what God has done suggests what we ought to be and do in faithful response.


Thursday May 7, 2020
Do Justly / Be Just


There are various and conflicting understandings of justice. One suggestion to clarify the
meaning of justice at least from a biblical perspective is to sort out what belongs to whom and to
give it to them. When we control what belongs to others long enough, we come to think of it as
rightly ours and forget that it belonged to someone else. The work of liberation (giving people
what they are due), redemption (restoring what has been taken or lost) and salvation (preserving
everyone's privilege to live) is the work of giving things back. Justice concerns precisely a right
reading of social reality, of social power and social goods.
It has been said that to do justly means that you render to everyone that which is due them.
Give God what God is due. Give your neighbor what your neighbor is due. Give yourself what
you are due. Justice was expected of those people who were joined together in community. To
do justice was to do what is right according to the covenant between God and Israel.
One of the ways justice has been described is to correct the systemic inequalities that
marginalize some for the excessive privilege of others. Treat everyone fairly, equitably and
right.
Consider what it means to do justly as this passage of scripture conveys it.


Friday May 8, 2020
Love Mercy / Love Tenderly / Be Kind


The Lord requires that his followers love mercy. What does it mean to love mercy? The English
dictionary defines mercy as the compassionate or kindly forbearance shown an offender, pity,
benevolence, and an act of kindness or compassion. This is what the Lord requires of his
followers in their relationships with each other.
The word mercy is translated from the Hebrew word hesed. The word is used in the Old
Testament to describe God’s faithful commitment to Israel even when the nation was unfaithful
to God. The word is used to describe the conduct God expected from Israel. “For I desire
loyalty not sacrifice.” (Hosea 6:6).
The word mercy could be translated commitment, faithfulness or loyalty. What God requires of
his people is faithfulness and commitment to the relationship established by the relationship God
has initiated.
To love tenderly is to love with the awareness of the capacity of the other to be wounded, to
suffer pain and to be dependent upon relationship with others. To love tenderly, requires a
particular capacity of spirit and an informed sensitivity. The first task of human beings is that of
the establishment of basic trust. We are dependent on a network of belonging.
Loving mercy or loving kindness is also a character trait of God. Human beings who love God
are to display loving kindness and faithfulness toward each other, especially to the poor, the
weak and needy. God’s desire is to build righteous faith communities willing to display their
love for God, by loving one another.
Consider what it means for you to love tenderly with kindness and compassion.


Saturday May 9, 2020
Walk humbly with God


Micah concludes with "walk humbly - with your God." Be in right relationship with God. All
throughout ancient Israel's history we find a pattern or cycle of disobedience and rebellion. God
promised to bless his people if they would remain faithful. God presented the people with laws
by which they would demonstrate their faithfulness to God. The people rejected God's laws,
putting in place their own laws. The people even blamed God for their misguided actions. The
people did not walk humbly with God. They walked proudly in disobedience.
What happens when you walk with someone? You walk in closer proximity with someone. You
laugh, talk, listen and share your thoughts with each other. Your attention is focused on what
you are doing together. You notice the beauty around you and an occasional distraction, but only
to point it out to your companion. You share together in harmony and enjoy your camaraderie.
Walking actually implies that we are going somewhere with God. Go where God leads.
Consider what it means to walk humbly with God.

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