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The Scriptorium

A Failure of Love

Bail on the Law, fail at love. Micah 7.5-7

The Promise of Restoration: Micah 7 (3)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 50.1-4
The Mighty One, God the LORD,
Has spoken and called the earth
From the rising of the sun to its going down.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God will shine forth.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent;
A fire shall devour before Him,
And it shall be very tempestuous all around Him.
He shall call to the heavens from above,
And to the earth, that He may judge His people…

Sing Psalm 50.1-4

(Austrian Hymn: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken)
God, the Lord, the mighty Savior, summons all from east to west:
Out of Zion, rich with favor, shines He, of all things the best.
Come, O God, and keep not silence; fire devours before Your way!
He His Church, steeped in defiance, comes to judge this awful day.

Read Micah 7.5-7

Preparation
1. How did Micah describe relationships in his day?

2. What did he resolve to do?

Meditation
Jesus taught that when people turn away from the Law of God, one of the most pronounced consequences is the loss of love (Matt. 24.12). That only makes sense, because the Law of God was given to guide and direct us in loving God and our neighbors (Matt. 22.34-40). Bail on the Law and you fail in love.

The people of Israel and Judah in Micah’s day had turned away from God and His Law. The times were reminiscent of the days of the judges, when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. They could not trust their friends, companions, or loved ones (vv. 5, 6). People were only out for themselves. Betrayal, disappointment, and back-stabbing abounded.

Micah’s counsel was to trust only in the Lord and to wait for Him and His salvation (v. 7). Strangely enough, Jesus applied the words of verse 6 to the times He lived in and to what they could expect who followed Him (cf. Matt. 10.34-39). His coming with the salvation of God would be the occasion of a different kind of alienation between people, even close family members. Those who refused Him – as the people of God in Micah’s day rejected God and His Law – would become the enemies of those who followed Him.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
When things break down within a home, it is the saddest occurrence of all.

Our heavenly Father, Who loves us, tried to warn us and prevent these things from happening. People sometimes think God is trying to spoil all their fun, but really, what He is trying to do is allow us happiness. Safety. Security. Love.

The Ten Commandments are a good place to see the order He was implementing in the home. First, of course, is to love and obey Him supremely. But then He goes on to discuss family and neighbor life. Honor your parents. Don’t kill. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t covet. (Ex. 20.1-17) It is a beautiful thing to observe God’s wisdom and care for humanity. He knows that keeping these Laws will preserve the home and society at large. And yet, we think we know better, and it all breaks down.

In Micah’s time, this breakdown was occurring. Full blast. Just like today. What was true then is just as true now. “Bail on the Law and you fail in love.” So the first recommendation is: Obey the Law and love.

Second, if others are failing us, even though we are striving to please the Lord, there is sweet comfort yet to be found. As Micah so beautifully wrote: “Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (Mic. 7.7).

Even in the saddest failures of love, God is there. “This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lam. 3.21-24)

Reflection
1. Since the Ten Commandments teach us how to love God and one another, what should we do to hide those commandments in our heart (Ps. 119.9-11)?

2. Micah said he would “wait” on the Lord. What does it mean to “wait” on the Lord? What should we be waiting for?

3. The people of Micah’s day hated the Law of God. The people of Jesus' day hated Him. Why? Should we expect to be hated by some people? Explain.

The prophet bemoans himself that he lived among a people ripening apace for ruin, in which many good persons would suffer. Men had no comfort, no satisfaction in their own families or in their nearest relations. Contempt and violation of domestic duties are a sad symptom of universal corruption. Those are never likely to come to good who are undutiful to their parents. The prophet saw no safety or comfort but in looking to the Lord, and waiting on God his salvation. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Micah 7.1-7

Closing Prayer: Psalm 50.5-23

Devote yourself afresh to the Lord – heart, mind, conscience, words, and deeds. Call on the Lord to revive His Church and to give His people hearts full of love for Him and one another.

Sing Psalm 50.5-23

(Austrian Hymn: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken)

“Gather now My children holy, those bound close to Me by blood.”
Let the heav’ns declare His glory, for the Lord Himself is Judge:
“Hear, My people, I will charge you; I alone am God, your God!
I will bring a solemn charge to gain you to Me for your good.

“Not for rituals I accuse you – let your worship to Me rise.
Naught to Me is any use, Who dwells in glory in the skies.
All is mine throughout creation; I your help do not require.
Offer Me no vain oblation: hear what I from you desire:

“Sacrifice of thanks now render; pay to God your solemn vows;
Let the troubled, each offender, seek Him in the midst of woes.
In the day of strife draw near Him; He will hear, and He will save.
Honor God, rejoice, and fear Him, give to Him your grateful praise.

“All of you My Word despising, who are you to claim My grace?
Praise may from your lips be rising, but you scorn Me to My face.
You approve of all transgressions, scheme against your mother’s son!
I will crush your vain aggressions and destroy what you have done.

“Reckon this, My sinful people, lest My wrath consume you whole:
None shall thwart Me when I seek to crush and break your sin-stiff soul.
He who thanks to Me addressing, follows after what is good,
He shall know the way of blessing coming from the hand of God.”

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures 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 Essex Junction, VT.
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