Micah 1:2-9 - A Tough Love

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Today’s sermon was based on Micah 1:2-9. A stern text that gives warning about God’s judgment on Samaria and Jerusalem and the greatness of destruction that will happen because of the disobedience of the people.

We like to talk and always talk about the love of God, but we tend to not realise that the love of God is a holy love. It is a stern kind of love, not at all wishy washy. God’s love is a disciplining love. It is not soft and certain not easy. He disciplines, he punishes, he corrects, he chastises.

God’s love is tough love. It is not soft, mushy, soapy, sentimental or sappy. It is sure tough and hard, ultimately expressed on the cross: demanding, grueling, even painful and excruciating so. The next time we talk about love, think about the cross, think about Micah’s lamenting words to Jerusalem and Samaria.

Micah 1:2-9
2 Hear, you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it, and let the Lord GOD be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
3 For behold, the LORD is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.
4 And the mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split open, like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place.
5 All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?
6 Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country, a place for planting vineyards, and I will pour down her stones into the valley and uncover her foundations.
7 All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces, all her wages shall be burned with fire, and all her idols I will lay waste, for from the fee of a prostitute she gathered them, and to the fee of a prostitute they shall return.
8 For this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked; I will make lamentation like the jackals, and mourning like the ostriches.
9 For her wound is incurable, and it has come to Judah; it has reached to the gate of my people, to Jerusalem.

This is the love of a holy God but yet it is the love of a fatherly God, who loves his children so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die so that we might live. So if you think that God’s tough and holy love is “unloving”, then think Hebrews 12 and think how we as parents would so willingly give up our lives for our kids if situation calls for it - because God did that.

Heb 12:6-13
5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

pearlie
Picture by Amir Rochman

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6 comment(s)

  1. 12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
    13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.


    This kind of puzzled me at first, but then I thought of the spiritual disciplines - silence, solitude, etc. - and it seems to make sense. Would you think of it this way?

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  2. Spiritual disciplines? In what way do you see this as spiritual disciplines? You may have something there.

    I look at verse 12 as a continuation of previous verses especially 11:
    For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

    So therefore, lift up your hands and move your feet to walk the road that God prepared for you and don't be so worried about the problems you are going through.

    That is basically what I think about it.

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  3. I was thinking that vs 12 & 13 sounded like something you make yourself do - make straight paths for your feet - like you would in a spiritual discipline.

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  4. I realised I didn't get to this one :) apologies.

    Yes, your question is valid - I didn't quite see it at first: practically, what does making your paths straight means. Yes, I think you are right - it is in the participation of God's work and the disciplines, being in His presence.

    Here are some interpretation I got from some sources via eSword:

    Keep a right course, and so, that you show examples of good life for others to follow. (Geneva)

    The application of all this to a correct, holy deportment in religious life, is both natural and easy. (Clarke)

    The meaning is, that they were to remove all obstacles out of the way, so that they need not stumble and fail. The idea is, that by every proper means they were to make the way to heaven as plain and easy as possible. They were to allow no obstructions in the path over which the lame and feeble might fall.(Barnes)

    Be not turned out of the way - Of faith and holiness. (Wesley)

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  5. Pearlie,

    I'd be remiss not to point out that God's love IS also soft, mushy, soapy, sentimental or sappy. In numerous places the bible, God referers to himself as a lover... even a jealous lover.

    What people miss is the God's loves us too much to allow us to 'skate'. That's where the tough love comes in.

    Recall the analogy of the good shepherd? Well shepherds will break the leg of lambs that stray from the pack to assure that they won't again. This action will save the lamb from getting lost, or eaten be predators.

    God Bless
    Doug

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  6. Doug,
    I do get what you mean. As I was writing it, I did think that God's love is tender and kind. But I would not go so far as to call it soft, mushy, soapy, sentimental or sappy :) I see it as the quality of God's love as opposed to the characteristic I suppose.

    I must revise on the parable you mentioned - I don't quite remember that one.

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