Text: Micah 6:1-8

Sunday January 29, 2023 – Epiphany 4

Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr

Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Our text for this Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany of our Lord is the OT lesson from Micah 6:1-8 that was just proclaimed.

Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit working through your word to remind us that we serve others because of what you have serve us with. Redeemed by your body and blood with love others through our vocations to bring them to you!! Amen.

Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:

In the classic comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin gives a card to his mom for Mother’s Day. The card reads: “I was going to buy you a card with hearts of pink and red, | but then I thought I’d rather spend the money on me instead. |

It’s awfully hard to buy things when one’s allowance is so small, | so I guess you’re pretty lucky you got anything at all. | Happy Mother’s Day. There, I said it. Now I’m done. | So how about getting out of bed and making breakfast for your son?”

Calvin’s misunderstanding of the day is on full display in his poem when he says, “There, I said it. Now I’m done.” Calvin falsely believes that doing something for Mom on Mother’s Day is an obligation, a duty he’s stuck with . . . so the quicker, the easier, the cheaper the way to dispense with the duty and move on, the better. His heart certainly isn’t in it. Do it. Get it over with.

He’s forgotten all Mom has done for him and missed entirely the delight of thanking her.

This is a mistake Israel was making with the Lord, and one we might also often make with God. No question, God commands us to do for him. We’re obligated. But in our text, God through the prophet Micah reminds us again what he has done for us. That gives us a whole different perspective on why we are to do for God. We learn that

Even the Lord’s “Do” Is All about What the Lord Has “Done.”

I. We fall into Israel’s sin when we think what we do for the Lord is just something we have to get done.

A. The Lord has an indictment against Israel (vv 1–3).

1. They have wearied him with scant measures, wicked scales, violence, lies, and idolatries like former kings Omri and Ahab (6:10–12, 16).

2. They begrudgingly offer God sacrifices (vv 6–7). They might even be willing to give him their firstborn, as pagans did to Baal.

3. But these are worthless to the Lord because Israel sees him as a God who must be appeased.

B. We fall into the same sin:

1. When we treat worship as a box to be checked off our “to do list”. When we treat church like we are doing God a favor if we show up. Keeping up appearances.

2. When we hang Christian décor in our house or wear a cross around our neck to appear pious. (Doing so to please God) Keep up appearances.

3. When we make demands of God, rather than humbly following him. “God I will do more for you or give you more time and money if you take care of my problems and do this or that!

II. The Lord does indeed tell us that we must “do” for him.

A. Micah speaks as the voice of conscience to the Every­man: “[The Lord] has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you?” (v 8a).

1. Yes, the Lord requires. We must “do” for him.

2. Mother’s Day, Lord’s Day, every day—we must do what is good.

B. And what is the good we must do?

1. Not offerings we invent and give grudgingly.

2. “But to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (v 8b).

a. That never comes from checking boxes and doing just to get done.

b. That comes from a heart that loves.

3. Justice, kindness, walking humbly with our God means sincerity of worship and love for our neighbors. Helping those in our lives not to get right with God or score points with God but to point them to Jesus!

III. But what the Lord commands us to do is a delight when we remember what he has done for us.

A. Micah reminds of God’s acts of love and righteous­ness (vv 4–5):

1. Rescue from Egypt and slavery.

2. Giving faithful leaders: Moses, Aaron, Miriam.

3. Deliverance from Balak’s evil schemes.

B. These are all foreshadowings of what God has done for us and for the whole world: sending Jesus.

1. Jesus came not to compel us to do what we’re required to do.

2. Jesus came to do, get done for us, the justice, the loving kindness, the humble walking with God, the good we couldn’t do. He did it by living and loving, by suffering, dying, rising, ascending.

3. Why articulate what God has done for us?

a. This is how God changes hearts.

b. The Law forces and compels us to do.

c. Righteousness and grace free us to do.

C. When you remember what God has done:

1. You delight to do justice to his other children.

2. You love being kind to brothers and sisters in the faith—and to those not yet of faith.

3. You love walking humbly with him!

My Friends in Christ!

There! Jesus did it! It’s done! And so it’s done for me too. Just as Calvin’s mom loved him not for the card, just as God loved Israel not for the sacrifices of calves or oil,

God has done it and loved us not for anything we do, but so that we can do with love and delight in what is good for him and for neighbor . . . and that we can walk with him. Amen.

Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.