URC Daily Devotion 5th February

Micah 3:5 – 8

Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets
   who lead my people astray,
who cry “Peace”
   when they have something to eat,
but declare war against those
   who put nothing into their mouths.
Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision,
   and darkness to you, without revelation.
The sun shall go down upon the prophets,
   and the day shall be black over them;
the seers shall be disgraced,
   and the diviners put to shame;
they shall all cover their lips,
   for there is no answer from God.
But as for me, I am filled with power,
   with the spirit of the Lord,
   and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression
   and to Israel his sin.

Reflection

Things had been going so well until now; decades of a sort of peace had been marked by dizzingly rising living standards for some and escalating celebrity status for a small number of well-known persons.

But now, external threats are darkening the horizon and the internal contradictions and complacencies of the society are being exposed as never before. The poor and vulnerable are being exploited and destroyed by the rich and powerful and many religious leaders are openly conniving with this state of affairs.

Are we talking about eight century BC Israel and Judah or twenty first century AD Western Europe and North America?

Clearly both.

Micah demonstrates God’s especial anger at those religious leaders who misuse their position and vocation to pander to the self-interests of the rich and who also turn on those who raise inconvenient truths or refuse to fawn and flatter them.

I hear echoes of 1 Corinthians 13 v. 2 when Paul writes “,,,, if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

God will leave them literally and metaphorically in the dark as a punishment.

He contrasts these false and simpering prophets with his own confidence in channelling God’s love and power for His people. After all, Micah means ‘who is like God.’

Too often in our society, we Christians seek the comfort of being respectable first and the voices of the Kingdom second, if at all.

We row back from holding our society to God’s account and settle for being ‘nice’, when we should be lovingly outspoken.

A particularly memorable scene in the film Ryan’s Daughter is when the priest, played by Trevor Howard, lashes out at the hypocritical villagers who have just attacked the Sarah Miles character for transgressing their social norms.

One indignant citizen argues “You’re abusing your position, Father” to which the priest replies, growlingly, “that’s what it’s there for!”

 

Prayer

Lord of all peoples
Give those of us who have a voice
The courage
To witness to your Kingdom

Never let us favour
only the rich and powerful
Muttering soft words of comfort
Whilst the poor and the vulnerable suffer
Through our neglect or contempt.

Give us, Lord, instead the power with love
To look at ourselves and society
With a clear vision
and to speak on what we see
Because that’s what we’re here for!

Today’s Writer

Paul Simon, Elder, Hadleigh URC in Suffolk.

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.

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