The Book of the Twelve for Lent 2016 - Micah (6)

The Book of the Twelve for Lent 2016
Forgiveness – Micah (6)
“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
    and passing over the transgression
    of the remnant of your possession?
He does not retain his anger forever,
    because he delights in showing clemency.
He will again have compassion upon us;
    he will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our sins
    into the depths of the sea.                                                                                                         You will show faithfulness to Jacob
    and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our ancestors
    from the days of old.” (Micah 7:18-20)
This is the closing salvo from Micah. And where does he end? With the God who “delights in showing clemency”! Not the “God with a Scowl” we have talked about earlier in this series. The one who is focused on keeping score on us and punishing us for every misstep. That deity is not the God of the Bible!

          The remnant of Abraham and Jacob to whom God has sworn promises (v.20), that people who carry the future and destiny of the world, and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness for all of us, “will again have compassion upon us . . . will tread our iniquities under foot . . . (and) will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Let those images soak into your mind and heart for a while.

          At the end of the day, after all the critique and talk of judgment has been delivered, dire threats uttered, the strains and fissures in the relationship exposed, God, this God, moves again to reclaim his wayward people and restore them to the vocation as God’s image-bearers they are called to be.

          And they are us! You and me.

          This is the same God with whom we have to do.

          He has trod our iniquities underfoot and cast them in the sea. They are no longer an issue between us and God. Unless we make they so. And we so often do.

          A priest who has committed a serious indiscretion as a younger man was never able to get beyond the quilt of that act. At that guilt was a serious block in his relationship to God and his ministry.

          One day a little old lady visited his church for worship. As she came through to shake the priest’s hand she said “I see Jesus and talk to him every so often. Is there anything you’d like me to ask him?”

          Smiling indulgently, the priest declined and the lady went on her way. She came back a few weeks later and then regularly. Each week she would repeat her offer and each week, politely and then less so, the priest refused. Finally, one Sunday he had had it. So when the lady approached, before she could even make her offer, the priest blurted out, “Yes, I have something you can ask Jesus! Ask him what he thinks about a big sin I committed when I was a young priest. Then come back and tell me what he says.”

          A couple of weeks later the lady returned. At the close of the service she approached the priest beaming. “I see Jesus again the other night, Father. And I asked him what you told me to.”

          “Well,” the priest replied, “what did he say?”

          “Oh,” the little lady said excitedly, “he said, ‘Let me think about for a few minutes.’ And off he went. When he came back he had a puzzled look on his face. ‘Tell your priest that I fully reviewed his life and can find nothing like what he thinks is there. I just can’t remember a thing about it!”

          Puts Micah’s statement that God “will again have compassion upon us . . . will tread our iniquities under foot . . . (and) will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” into a different light doesn’t it? Ponder this as you pray today.


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