Act Justly and Love Mercy
Sermon Series: The Minor Prophets – Imagining a Better God
By: Sam Tidball, July 21, 2019
Intro: Middle School Mission Week Debrief
Middle school mission week was an opportunity for middle schoolers to see that their own city (Ypsi/Ann Arbor) has need. Mission and service work is needed everywhere and even in our hometown. It was also a chance for teens to learn about brokenness in their own city as well as find out about different organizations that exist who are trying to help. Most of all, I hope teens took time bond as a group and grow closer to God by serving others. Even though we were local, we pretended to be away by staying in a house together in Ann Arbor for the week.
Organizations and Activities:
Just Us Club
Villa At Parkridge in Ypsi
Friends in Deed
City Prayer Walks
$20 Dollar challenge
$3 Dollar lunch challenge
(Students shared stories from Mission Week)
We have been in a sermon series about the minor prophets. Today we get to talk about the prophet Micah.
If I had could sum up our mission trip in a Bible verse it would be our memory verse:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
My goal as a Youth Pastor is to help teens learn what it means to follow Jesus Christ. My hope is that they choose to walk humbly with God, act justly, and love mercy. I think many Christians, especially in our church who tend to be social justice oriented, really like this verse. So today I thought I would unpack the context of what it means and why Micah said it.
What is the book of Micah about?
The book of Micah describes God’s coming judgment on Israel because of its rebellion. Israel’s leaders and prophets were exploiting the poor through bribery and abuse to make the rich become richer. If we know anything about the character of God through scripture, we know God is angered when the poor are exploited, especially by so-called religious leaders of the time. Therefore God warns Israel that the Assyrian Empire and then the Babylon Empire would destroy the nation and leave Jerusalem in ruin.
Micah doesn’t end the story there, he also offers people hope. God will rebuild Jerusalem, defeat evil forever, set a Messianic King to rule over the people and bless all the nations. Before that can happen, though, God must confront and judge evil from among God’s people. Then God can show mercy and fulfill His covenant promise to Abraham and bless all the nations through Israel.
There’s this whole back and forth in the book of God’s judgment and hope of God’s mercy for the people of Israel. And it highlights this covenantal relationship between God and Israelites. It’s this judgment that actually leads to hope. Micah teaches us that God’s promises (covenantal love) are more powerful than human evil. This is hopeful!
So in the end we can trust God’s going to be merciful and it’s all good… right? I will finish the sermon and we can go home now just knowing God’s got us. Not exactly. Micah 6:8 tells us we have work to do that God requires of us.
What does it look like to walk humbly with God?
Admitting we need God
Admitting our sin, brokenness (and our collective sin) Repentance
Example from Mission Week: Learners vs missionaries
Posture of humility
What does it look like to act justly?
walking humbly to the places and with people that Jesus was drawn to. Seeking ways to help marginalized, the poor, the lonely, the outcasts.
It’s not always about taking down entire unjust systems and fixing them. What can you do though? Maybe it’s as simple as asking a homeless person what they need?
Middle Schoolers helped one man for one day… not a huge thing but it’s one step closer to Jesus.
What does it mean to LOVE mercy (kindness)?
Define mercy, other translations use the word kindness
Story: Max and Just Us Club
I think we, as a church, have a lot to learn from our middle schoolers. They say what’s on their minds and they don’t hold back… similar to the prophets! Middle schoolers and the prophet Micah deeply care about what’s fair or just. They are not afraid to be outspoken about injustice and brokenness they see. They are not afraid to question. So I have some questions for you church…
What unjust systems or situations in our city make you angry?
What’s one thing God might be calling you to do about it?
What glimpses of hope do you see in our city of God’s mercy and kindness happening?