Monday after the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Micah 6:1-9 (NKJV)
1 Hear now what the LORD says: “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.
2 “Hear, O you mountains, the LORD’S complaint, and you strong foundations of the earth; For the LORD has a complaint against His people, and He will contend with Israel.
3 “O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.
4 “For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
5 “O My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab counseled, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, that you may know the righteousness of the LORD.”
6 With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
9 The LORD’S voice cries to the city—wisdom shall see Your name: “Hear the Rod! Who has appointed it?”
The Lord confronts apostate Israel in today’s reading with stern words of reproach. He had rescued them from Egypt, provided them with faithful leaders, preserved them from harm and brought them safely into the Promised Land. But they had acted unjustly in their dealings with one another. They had abandoned mercy toward their neighbor. They had exalted themselves before God, and as a result, they were about to be humbled by a rod of punishment. No amount of sacrifices would help them as long they continued to live in impenitence.
The Lord has shown even more faithful love to His Christian Church, rescuing us from sin, death, and the power of the devil through the sacrifice of His own Firstborn and Only-Begotten Son. Through His faithful ministers He has called us to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. He continues to provide Word and Sacrament to preserve us in faith and love until He brings us safely into the Promised Land of Heaven.
Those who are righteous by faith strive to “do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with their God. But where contrition and repentance are lacking, faith, too, is lacking. Therefore, Micah’s reproaches apply to those within the visible Christian Church who stray from their Baptism by exalting themselves, by living in impenitence, by refusing to be corrected by God’s Word. May the Lord graciously preserve us from such impenitence through the reproaches of His prophet!
We pray: Keep Your Church, O Lord, with Your perpetual mercy; and because the frailty of man without You cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.