He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, HCSB)
When I was a teenager, I was into a wide variety of interests and sub-cultures – I phased in and out of some and I tried to maintain a presence/image in some of them simultaneously… I was a nerd, a choir geek, I was into sports, gaming, speech and debate… oh, yeah – Church… lots of stuff. But one of the groups I was part of for a while was I was a “skater” (skate-boarder). Now, every culture has their own words that originate with them, but often bleed into popular use. The skating culture developed a term that was quickly hijacked by other groups (and I think it is still in some use today) – The term?… Poser.
Basically, a poser is a person who dresses and talks and somewhat acts like a skater, but lacked the skill, fearlessness, drive and dedication of an authentic skater… Like I said, this came to be used by other groups, particularly by other sports… There were poser football players, baseball players, soccer placers, debaters… Pretty much there were posers in every group – you may know them now as “fakers”.
No one wanted to be labeled a poser, because no one liked posers – No One! Posers were more about image than excellence; they were unteachable, unhelpful, arrogant, mean and rude. They would cut you down every chance they got just to make themselves look and feel better. You didn’t want to have anything to do with posers… posers were bad news. The good thing about posers is that everyone can usually spot them from a mile away – everyone, that is, except themselves… Most are so full of themselves that they don’t see that they are posers – and it usually takes a big wake-up call to help them see the light.
In the passage we are looking at today this is exactly what God is doing through the prophet Micah – giving a straightforward and harsh wakeup call to a bunch of spiritual posers. Here’s what He says: “He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, HCSB)
In looking at this wakeup call, I want us to see that God wants us to be authentic in our relationships with Him and other people. I want us to compare His demands in the wakeup call to our own lives – Let’s use these demands as a sort of “poser test” to discover if we are being posers ourselves. If we are posers, then we need to start taking steps to change that!
Some Background: Our passage today is from the Old Testament book of Micah. Micah ministered during a very difficult time… Judah and Israel had gone through a time of relative peace and prosperity, but those “good times” were beginning to erode. People were quick to take advantage of one another (cf. Micah 2:1-2). In addition to this, many of their political and “spiritual” leaders were corrupt… (cf. Micah 3:1-2, 9-11) In spite of the fact that people were mistreating each other, people were going around and saying that everything was okay because they had the temple – and properly executed the rituals God had set up in the Law…
However, it’s evident from their need to defend the status quo in this last phrase that their prosperity and security had begun to evaporate. The problem was they didn’t really love God and they didn’t really love others. God was just some voodoo like security and people were only to be used to gain something – and they would use any means necessary to get what they wanted. In essence, they only loved themselves.
The whole nation was full of spiritual posers! This frustrated God so much that he called them out in a courtroom/prosecution case style! The people responded in typical poser fashion – Denial and excuses… they basically said “What would you have us to do?” “We’re doing our best!”
Then God speaks through the prophet and fires back, “get real”, he said: He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, HCSB)
Does this sound familiar to our situation now? This was a country that had been prosperous but was now going through political and economic uncertainty. People were spiritually apathetic – Worship of God was only a cultural/traditional thing as people were more concerned for their own advancement and wellbeing.
God makes it abundantly clear here and elsewhere (e.g. Psalm 51:16-17, Jeremiah 7:22-26 and Matthew 23:23) He doesn’t care about ritual worship and how well you do it if your heart and your life don’t reflect it… He’s basically saying: “Get real… You know what I want you to do… do it and quit being a poser. Here are the 3 things that will let me know if you’re for real.”
In the next 3 post we will look at each one of these tests/proofs individually to see how our lines up with our own lives.