Sunday, May 31, 2009

equally skilled.

He had just heard the voice of the Lord utter curses.  Curses against His covenant-breaking, justice-hating, evil-loving people.  A sort of divine lawsuit followed by a sentence of judgment. The people of God did not delight in the law of their Lord, the only true Counselor, but gave themselves over to hear the counsel of wicked earthly kings.  As the psalmist declared, their end would be certain downfall.

The prophet Micah knows this. And he mourns in misery. He felt as though he had just arrived at the fields after a harvest, and there were not even any leftovers.  Nothing to satisfy his craving for godliness. Where were the godly people? Gone.  Vanished from the earth.  The only people remaining walk only in wickedness.  Their hands continually set on doing what is evil. And to do it well.  "They all lie in wait for blood." Those in high places seek bribes. There is no concern for what is just and good.

Both of our hands are equally skilled at doing evil... at bribing the judges... at perverting justice... Both of our hands.

Micah warns that the judgment day is close at hand.  Where to put his trust?  Not his neighbor. Not his closest friend. Not even his precious wife. Trust no one.  The son hates his father. The daughter hates her mother.  Enemies dwelling with enemies in the very same household.  But Micah's mourning turns to quiet confidence. He waits in expectation for the Lord to act.

Both of their hands are equally skilled at doing evil... at bribing the judges... at perverting justice... Both of their hands.

"Aha! There he goes! He will never stand, the fool!" is what the enemy cries.  If only they knew.  They will soon.  Yes, I fall. But I will rise again.  Yes, I sit in darkness. But the LORD alone will be a light to me.  I am to patiently bear His indignation towards me for the wrongs I have done to His name.  Then He will plead my case.  He will bring me to light and just vindication.  Now the enemy sees.  The one who mocked "Where is the Lord your God?" will be covered in shame and trampled in the streets.

And our remnant will be preserved... our walls will be built... our kingdom established... many nations will flock to our City, while all else will surely become desolate.  Were we so strong and wise that we turned ourselves around to become a faithful and holy people, who now love justice and right?  No.  Our hands were equally skilled at doing evil.  
We needed a different pair of hands.

Both of HIS hands are equally skilled at outrooting evil... at judging the judges... administering justice... Both of His hands.

His hands are like none other.  For He is like none other. Micah's lament ends in exuberant joy...
             "Who is a God like you? Pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance?  He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love.
                He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
                  You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as You have sworn to our fathers from the days of old."    --Micah 7:18-20

Both of His hands are equally skilled at showing me mercy... at loving the loveless... administering justice... Both of His hands.
Both of HIS hands.

Italicized lines taken from Jon Foreman's excellent song "Equally Skilled".  Listen to it here... 

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