Today: Sunday, August 25, 2019
 
 

Just living    (12/3/2017 )

The shops are full of Christmas, purses are stretched, and decisions loom - whatever should we get for them this year?  We want to give generously, especially to those we love, and we want to give thankfully to those who do so much for us.  Mostly though, our gifts are only tokens - we would love to give more.

Can you imagine then ever being in a position to give God enough?  Even with the greatest love and the deepest thankfulness, our gifts can only ever be tokens.  And just as we have to weigh what our loved ones would want or like, what is it that God wants? 

It was a question the ancient Jewish people struggled with.  What are we supposed to do when we worship?  How much is a decent offering?  Would God be happy if we offered some of our best cattle?  Should we multiply that and offer all the profits from our harvest?  Or does he want us to make some massive sacrifice - like the life of a child?

The answer the prophet Micah offered was No!  None of that.  The kind of worship God wants involves “living justly” (Micah 6, verse 8).  In other words, the best offering you can make involves a change of heart and a way of living.

But what does living justly mean?

It means doing what is right, recognising the difference between right and wrong and then making the right choices.

It means doing good to those in need, reinforcing justice.  God’s justice is not so much about punishing wrong but about giving what is right, what is needed to the poor, the suffering, those on the fringe.  That is what the Bible means when it says God is judge for widows and orphans (Psalm 68, verse 5).
It means living as God wants.  “Real happiness,” says Jesus, “comes from doing what God wants” (Matthew 5, verse 6).

The word that keeps recurring here is often translated as “righteousness”, which means, among other things, doing what is right and becoming right with God.  That could sound as though we are to offer our right living to God - as if we could ever give God enough that way.  But what we can offer is lives that seek to do what God wants.

In the story of Noah in the Old Testament, Noah is described as “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6, verse 9).  That must be about the best gift we could offer to God, in love and thankfulness - and not just at Christmas.





Prayer:

What the Lord wants is that we live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.  Lord, change me to live like that.  [Based on Micah 6, verses 6-8]

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