Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Look Up, Look Ahead

Micah is speaking to us. Are we listening? Micah 1.3-5

Judgment and Glory: Micah 1 (2)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 68.1-3
Let God arise,
Let His enemies be scattered;
Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is driven away,
So drive them away;
As wax melts before the fire,
So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad;
Let them rejoice before God;
Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.

Sing Psalm 68.1-3, 32, 33
(O Store Gud: How Great Thou Art)
Let God arise, let all Your foes be scattered! Let those who hate You flee before Your face!
As smoke dissolves, as wax in flame is shattered, let all the wicked perish in disgrace!
Refrain vv. 32, 33
Sing to the Lord, O kingdoms of the earth! Ancient of Days – praise Him on high!
Behold He speaks; His Word is going forth; Ancient of Days – praise Him on high!

Lord, let Your righteous ones exult in glory, let us rejoice and praise Your holy Name!
Now let us sing the Savior’s old, old story – Who life to deserts brings, we now proclaim!

Read Micah 1.3-5

1. How did Micah see the Lord in these verses?

2. Why was He coming in like this?

Micah saw the Lord coming in judgment against “the house of Israel” (v. 5). He comes “down”, that is, from His lofty abode in the heavenly places (v. 1). Nothing on earth can withstand His coming; creation melts and splits when He acts in judgment (v. 4). What chance do puny people have?

But creation is not the object of God’s wrath. It’s His people – both the northern (Israel) and southern (Judah) kingdoms, represented by their capitals, Samaria and Jerusalem (v. 5). The sins and transgressions of His people have reached a tipping-point, and God is coming to clean house.

The specific sin in view is idolatry, as seen in Samaria’s whole-hearted turning from God to the false deities of her pagan neighbors, and Judah’s corrupting the worship of God by adding “high places” to the temple, where it would be convenient to include other gods in their worship. When you start adding other gods, you also embrace the morality those gods embody – like burning your children in the fire or practicing ritual fornication. God has told us Whom to worship and how. Any changes we make in worship we make at the risk of His wrath.

In the longer view, God’s “coming down” for judgment would be fulfilled when Jesus comes to bear God’s wrath against our sins. From the beginning of his prophecy, Micah leads us to lift our eyes and look ahead to the coming of the Lord of glory. Look up, look ahead: It’s a theme we’ll encounter over and over.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Cleaning house is about cleaning our own house. If we are merely checking out someone else’s dirty house, think it is gross, wish it was different for them, and then suppose that our house is now clean simply because of those mental gymnastics, we are greatly mistaken. Our house only gets clean when we get out the duster and the vacuum and the heavy-duty soap and then use them.

Jesus says to us, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (Matt. 7.3) We Christians are mighty good at judging the world and never realizing that the world is the world’s business. We, God’s people, are the ones He has given His Law. We are Samaria and Jerusalem. We receive the underserved blessings and the deserved wrath of God. “All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel…” (Mic. 1.5).

As Peter tells us: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4.17) And the writer of the book of Hebrews tells us, “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12.29).

As believers, let’s stop judging those outside the faith, and begin looking carefully at how well we clean our own houses in the faith. We may as well look at ourselves the way God looks at us, and “look up, and look ahead” and do some serious cleaning maintenance in our hearts.

Moses summarizes this for us: “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known” (Deut. 11.26-28).

1. Such judgment begins with each of us, every day. What should that look like in your life?

2. Jesus has freed us from the penalty of sin. The Spirit is working to free us from the power of sin. How do we benefit from His work?

3. What can we do to make sure our worship of God is what He wants, and not just what we want?

Therefore God is said to descend when he deigns to have concern for human frailty. This should be discerned especially of our Lord and Savior, who “thought it not robbery to be equal with God but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant.” Therefore he descended. Origen (185-254), Homilies on Genesis 4.5

Help me to look up to see You throughout this day, O Lord, so that I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 68.26-35
Praise God for His greatness, power, and excellence. Rejoice to go forth under His watchful eye and in the power of His Spirit.

Sing Psalm 68.26-35
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Bless God in all His holy congregations, even the Lord, the Fountainhead of grace!
He calls His people forth from all the nations and gathers them before His glorious face.
Refrain vv. 32, 33
Sing to the Lord, O kingdoms of the earth! Ancient of Days – praise Him on high!
Behold He speaks; His Word is going forth; Ancient of Days – praise Him on high

To You, O God, are strength and exaltation; You fill the skies and dwell in holy awe!
To us You give strength, pow’r and full salvation, blessed be Your Name, our strong, majestic God!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to last week’s summary of Colossians 4 by clicking here.

Colossians in God’s Covenant
Where does the book of Colossians fit in God’s covenant with His people? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you to answer that question and to gain a better understanding of how the grace of God reaches and transforms us in Jesus Christ. Order your free copy by clicking here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.

No