Convenience Store Christianity
Standard;Micah – Who Is Like Yahweh?
Mic 7:18 Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.
20 You will give truth to Jacob And mercy to Abraham, Which You have sworn to our fathers From days of old.
A word about Micah and his times. Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah who prophesied primarily to the southern kingdom during the 8th century B.C. If you recall, Israel was split into two kingdoms after the death of Solomon. The northern kingdom is referred to as Israel and the southern kingdom is referred to as Judah.
The northern kingdom started out poorly as they engaged in idolatrous worship, setting up centers of worship in Dan and Bethel for golden calves. Jeroboam, who ruled the breakaway northern kingdom was concerned that people making required pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the southern kingdom would turn away from his leadership.
So he set up the two cities as pilgrimage destinations by saying, “it is too much much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold thy gods O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Are you kidding me? What a short memory for these people! It is no wonder that the northern kingdom was given over to the Assyrians for judgment!
In the year 722 B.C. The northern kingdom was overrun, the people carried off to captivity, the area resettled by foreigners who became known as Samaritans.
And the warning for all of us can be found in Jeroboam's invitation “it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem.....” this speaks of expediency doesn't it? Stop compromising His Word for the sake of expediency. You cannot serve God halfway. Convenient Christianity does not cut it, and I fear for us in America today. For we have turned the Word of God into one big convenience store!
And we treat it like one Big Kwik Trip walking up and down the aisles of Scripture picking and choosing junk food to bring along for the journey. Kwik Trip is a snapshot of our culture, and unfortunately it is a philosophy that has spilled over into the church as well.
Now the southern kingdom wasn't much better, listen to 2 Kings 17:19, “Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.” You see, that's what happens with convenience and compromise in the church. It spreads. Over time it becomes accepted by even what we may call the conservative element.
You see during the reign of Ahaz in the southern kingdom the sins of the northern kingdom were duplicated. They accepted the ways of the world, idolatry crept in, worship of the stars, child sacrifice, witchcraft,....people just gave themselves over to all manner of wickedness.
Nothing serious seems to happen to the compromising Northern kingdom so why not join in? And we confuse God's mercy with His patience, and this leads to tolerance of sin on our part, and unless we turn it around we will likewise be judged. I hope you can see this.
The apostate church (northern kingdom) liberal church of today has questioned the authority of God's Word, and allowed all sorts of sin into the church. As time goes on, the uncompromising southern kingdom (conservative Bible believing church ) sees that the northern kingdom doesn't seem any worse for the wear and we begin to buy into compromise ourselves. It's Adam consenting to a bite of the fruit all over again.
Classic examples are the matter of divorce and remarriage and sexuality. Listen to these startling results from a recent Gallup poll. In 2001, 59 % of Americans felt that divorce was morally acceptable. That number is now at 70%. Approval of fornication went from 53% to 61%. Homosexual relations went from 40 to 48% approval.
Medical research using human embryos is at 62% approval, whereas 61% approve of medical testing on animals. What? Buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur went from 60% approving to 54%.
So experimenting on a human embryo is not as bad as experimenting on an animal? So killing an animal for clothing is worse than divorcing and fornicating?
In the matter of divorce, “72% of liberals deemed it morally acceptable in 2001, that number is now at 87%, and conservatives are following suit with a rise from 49 to 57% approval.
It's happening again folks! The southern kingdom is slowly and surely following in the footsteps of the northern kingdom and it's going to get worse before it gets better. More and more so called “evangelical Christians” are going to be hopping on liberal bandwagons and promoting expediency and tolerance. Winking at sin for what is perceived as the common good.
But I hope and pray that you know that winking at sin is never for the common good! God never winks at sin, but in His mercy and forbearance He often holds back His judgment hoping we will repent.
So what did the Lord do to Israel? (the northern kingdom?
2 Kings 17:20, And the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight.
Rejected, afflicted, and delivered.
He spurned them, turned His back on them, and let them do what they wanted to do. This brought affliction upon them. Do you know what an affliction is? It is anything that consumes you. With God out of the picture they were consumed by every fancy that came their way. And do you know what happens when you are consumed by something? You aren't very watchful, and you become easy pickings for the enemy, the plunderer of your soul.
This is how He judged Israel, and it happened right before the very eyes of Judah and they still did not repent. So Micah, as all other prophets before him, pointed out the errors of their ways, warning them of God's impending judgment if they didn't repent and spoke of His mercy and forgiveness if they would repent.
It's happening before our own eyes, will we learn from it? Will we cease from being quick to follow the lead of the liberal church. Will we continue to let the spirit of compromise creep into the church? Or will we repent of our convenience store approach to the Bible?
If you had it in your power to eliminate people who disagreed with you, or constantly did things that you abhorred and there would be no twinge of conscience, no repercussions, no moral penalty , would you squash them? Send them to hell, do not pass go do not collect 200 dollars?
I hate divorce! God says, and 70% of the people living in America tell Him He is wrong. What would you do to America if you were God? Or if people thought animals were more important than humans created in his image? What would you do if you were God? Or if the beauty and intellectual foresight of His creative work is written off as evolutionary luck? What would you do if you were God?
If you look back on this past week, and observed your sinful acts of commission and omission! Your unkind words, lustful and envious thoughts...your sins. What would you do to such a person if you were God?
Micah's name means “Who is like Yahweh.” The very name of the author of this book sums up the book. And Micah says, in v18, “Who is a God like You?” Who is like Yahweh.
For we deserve to be squashed like a bug, yet God is willing to “pardon our iniquity.” The idea of pardoning is lifting. God is willing to lift our iniquity our sin off of us.
Who is a God like you who passes over our sins? Doesn't punish them as He should.
Who is a God like You who doesn't remain angry at us forever?
Ps 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
Who is a God like You who delights in mercy?
Who is a God like You, who will have compassion on us again, even though we don't deserve it.
Whose is a God like You who will even help us subdue the sin in our lives?
Who is a God like You who will cast all our sins into the surface of the sea? No the depth of the sea. So far out of sight that even the all knowing God can't find them.
Who is a God like You who will give truth to us, even though we are so quick to believe the lie.
Who is a God like You who gives us mercy simply because we believe You?
And Micah concludes by reminding the remnant of His covenant that He made with Abraham and Jacob. Out of Abraham's seed all the earth will be blessed. Out of Abraham's seed will come Messiah, and when the Messiah comes, He will have compassion on us, removing our sins on the cross and then subduing them by His presence in our life through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.
Who is a God like You who is altogether holy and still loves me the wretched sinner that I am. I speak against sin, because God has called me to speak against sin, but I must never think that I am holier than the next person. I am a wretch, deserving of hell, but who is a God like You willing to forgive me for the asking and receiving.
Who is a God like You.