Today's Reading: Micah 6:6-8
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? (Micah 6:7)
The prophet Micah is in Judah about the same time as the prophet Isaiah, and he’s busy warning Judah of the coming judgment. Judah is in a bad spot; most of the people are living in poverty with the wealthy squeezing their livelihood right out of them. God is nowhere in the picture; His chosen people have lost sight of Him.
If you remember, Micah prophesies about the Messiah and tells us that He will be born in Bethlehem. There’s a lot of Messiah-talk in Micah, just like in his contemporary Isaiah. Today’s reading is no different.
We’re quite a bit like Judah. We live our lives with no regard for our neighbors. We have little concern for whether or not our neighbor is able to feed himself, clothe himself, or make ends meet. We’re quite content to live our lives without knowing if our neighbor needs help. Worse yet, when we do know that our neighbor needs help we’re quick to ignore it.
We always have something more important to be doing, don’t we? Heaven forbid we miss our evening TV shows, or Monday night football! This is how we live our lives, as if God did not matter and as if we mattered most. The Lord’s name we have not honored as we should, and we have not let His love have its way with us.
So, we who are chosen to be God’s people in Baptism stand with Judah without a care in the world, and thus the prophet Micah speaks to us. Micah spells out exactly what God demands of us in today’s text. God demands that we love the Lord our God with all our hearts. We can’t do that, though, can we? Every attempt we make only fails and it seems that the harder we try to love the Lord God the more we transgress against Him.
The Lord does not let the story end here. Micah asks if we should give our firstborn to the Lord for our sins. Before we can even utter a word or propose to do so the Lord answers for us. He gives His firstborn, begotten before the foundation of the world. He gives His Son and in Him He gives forgiveness and life to us. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
How silently, how silently The wondrous gift is giv’n! So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heav’n. No ear may hear His coming; But in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive Him, still The dear Christ enters in. (LSB 361.3)