Good Morning Precious Women of God! Today is Sunday, 10/4/20.
My husband and I still are not going to church. I miss it. I miss gathering. I miss normalcy. Sometimes I feel guilty about not being there. Other times I find myself wondering what it means to honor the Sabbath in these times. Many emotions are involved in this year of ongoing changes, griefs, and realities. Both at a global level and at a personal level. I know you relate.
I am working my way through the Old Testament. I’m slowing down and studying. And I am very thankful for Bible studies and Bible teachers as some of this is hard to understand! And I’m only scratching the surface in my “studying!” I am now in Micah. Micah is one of 12 minor prophets in the Bible. (Minor prophets are given that title based on the length of book in the Bible, not based on their message! And as I learned, “The minor prophets fall into two groups: preexilic and postexilic, depending on whether they ministered before or after the exile of the southern kingdom (Judah) to Babylon from 605 to 536 B.C.”) Micah ministered before the exile. In Biblical histroy, the people of Israel were God’s chosen people, and they had been united then they divided and formed two kingdoms – the southern kingdom and the northern kingdom, led by separate kings. Both kingdoms eventually went the ways of the world around them, and begin worshiping gods other than the Lord God. This evoked God’s anger. These were His people. All through the prophetic books of the Bible we see warning and hope intermingling. God can not be unfaithful to His covenant – ever! He sends warnings and punsishment, often events around them that seemed to be bent on destroying them, yet in the midst of this God always promised restoration at some point in the future. In the New Testament when Jesus Christ takes people’s sin on the cross, this is the beginning of restoration for all people. Gentiles (anyone not of Jewish ancestroy) are “grafted in” as God’s people! So everyone who believes in God and the forgiveness of sin through Jesus’ blood is one of His own people, Jew or Gentile! There is hope for all people then! Revelations, the last book of the Bible, is full of the promise of a new heaven and a new earth that is coming when Jesus returns to this earth and physically rules and reigns and makes all things right! Oh such a thought! So much has to happen before that time, yet that time is ever drawing closer. I used to be scared by the thought – until I grew in knowledge and understanding of God. For “far be it from God to destroy the righteeous with the wicked!” And Precious Lady, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior who died for your sins, nothing can separate you from the love of God, and He bestows on us His rightesousness. (So awesome!) So there truely is no need to fear. Restoration is coming!
Yet we are not promised there will not be suffering and trials in this life. Rather Jesus suffered physcially and set an example for us to follow. We are told “in this world there will be trials.”
This brings me to my study. I am finding the minor prohpets are a great resource of Truth in our present day circumstances.
I have read Micah before, and I found it a very confusing book, so I have never lingered in it. So this time, I read chapter 1 at least three times before I even opened my study, and I read it several days apart as nothing grasped me, and studying the book seemed a bit intimidating. So I kept “not doing it.”
Last night, in the middle of the night, I was thinking of COVID and President Trump now diagnosed (which regardles of which side you lean to, the fact that our president has COVID just adds to uncertainties and what if’s), and elctions and politics, life, our world.
I went ino the kitchen. I opened my Bible. What to read? Well, I’m supposed to be in Micah. So I prayed a quick prayer asking for understanding.
And I read Micah chapter 1:2-3 “Hear, O peoples, all of you: Listen, O earth and all it contains, And let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from His holy temle. For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.”
I paused. Learning to listen to God sometimes means not “reading the whole chapter just to get through” – it means stopping when something “grasps you.” So, this verse is to all people of all the earth. This verse shows that God is being roused from His holy temple to tread the high places of the earth. Hmmm. High Places in the Old Testament were places of idol worship.
1:7 states, “all of her idol’s will be smashed. (Her refers to Samaria, the capitol of Israel)
Hmm. I pondered. What are MY idols that God needs to smash? What are our nation’s idols that God needs to smash? Hmm. Sobering. Yet this message is one I’ve heard several times in the last couple of months from several places – the idea of repentence of things that we set up above God. Sometimes not even “bad things” – good things can be idols too if they are above God in our hearts. My heart cries: Oh God, let us be women who listen to You! What do we need to hear? How do we repent? Let us not be stubborn with hard hearts!
When I came to Micah 1:12, I stopped again as I read, “For the inhabitant of Maroth becomes weak waiting for good, because a calamity has come down from the Lord.” Hmm. Calamity has come down from the Lord.
I googled calamity (Bible study tip: define words – even words you think you know!). Calamity according to Merriam Webster is: A disastreous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering. Or, A state of deep distress or misery caused by misfortune or loss. I looked at the synonyms too. These were listed: Catastrophy, Disaster, Tragedy. And even more interesting to me were the related words: Collapse, Crash, Meltdown, Armageddon, End-time, and Upheaval.
Hmmm. I pondered more. Then I looked at the phrase at the bottom of my screen: “Near Antonyms for Calamaty: Godsend, Manna.” Antoynms are opposites. So interesting that Godsend and Manna appear. (Manna – provision from God as seen in the Old Testament). (Godsend. We tend to say a gift is a Godsend.) Hmm. Think, think, think! Oh Ladies, please think and ponder this yourself. What is God saying to you?
To me, I see Micah – a prophet to the people of Isreal before their exile. Therefore he was warning them and calling them to repent. I just read 1 chapter of Micah and this time, these verses “spoke” to me. (Thank you, Lord! Bible study tip – start with prayer to understand and persevere even if it takes you awhile on the same verse or chapter).
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Revive our Hearts host, often says: “Anything that causes me to need God is a blessing.”
Anything that causes me to need God. I can think of a few things: politics, our world, COVID, uncertainties, things in my personal life, etc. These things cause me to need God. Could they be said they are Godsends? Hmmm. Some of these things I see around me are calamities. Hmm. Micah 1:12 – Calamities from the Lord. Hmmm. His purpose is to smash our idols. Hmmm. He is in his Holy Temple. Hmm. What is God saying? I want to ponder this today. I want to hear God in this season, in all the unknowns.
Oh Ladies, here is a quick challenge – study Micah chapter 1 for your self and see why God was roused from His temple. Write out your own idols as God brings them to mind. How can we particpate with God in smashing the idols in our lives? How can calamities be “from the Lord?” God is in His holy temple, and he is working to purify a people for Himself. Pray for your children and those who don’t know Jesus that they would come to know Him! Pray that in wrath He remembers mercy. Pray for soft, repentent hearts towards Him and His Word. Pray that God be first in your life. These are prayers that smash the idol of self focus, and these are prayers that advance the kindgom of God and His rule. Dear ladies – Press on!