Sermon for Advent Midweek Service, December 1, AD 2021

Micah 3:5-4:4

At a time about 250 years after Solomon and 700 years before Christ, the people of God are divided into two kingdoms – Israel and Judah. While Judah has Jerusalem, the temple, and thus the place of true worship of God, Israel has made idols of golden calves to worship God by their own devising. This could lead one to believe by appearances that Israel is bad, while Judah is good. If you have read Micah up to this point, you know this is not true. Both have fallen away from God. Both worship idols and do evil in the sight of God. Micah calls them both to repentance.

Micah, in words inspired by the Holy Spirit, paints a vivid image of the sins of Israel and Judah. It is a place where people have left their worship of God and turned to other things. They plan and premeditate how they can use their neighbors to benefit themselves. The large landholders and businesses have no problem buying up and pushing out all the little guys. The holdings of the rich expand and become more and more while everyone else becomes poorer. They don’t care if they take the clothes off people’s backs or drive widows out of their homes as long as it helps the bottom line. They love to listen to preaching that tells them to be happy and enjoy life, there is nothing to worry about, they don’t want to hear any of God’s law.

Perhaps these circumstances sound familiar to you. Perhaps you have noticed the churches are emptier. You have noticed corporations getting bigger and the rich getting richer while many more people struggle. Perhaps you have seen a lack of trust in society, that the cash value rules all, with no regard for mercy. Perhaps you’ve noticed a lot of common Christian preaching tells you what you want to hear.

This may be what you want to hear. That the diagnosis is correct, that you have identified the problem out there. But this is just another soothing prophecy. It is like the prophets Micah speaks about, who say “Peace” to get something to eat. These are the voices you hear throughout the week. In our time, we have our own false prophets, and they are different for every generation – tv news, facebook, twitter, youtube and tiktok influencers – it doesn’t matter which. They are “the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.” These prophets of our age do not have your best interest in mind, for they do not have the Word of God in their mind. They have their own interests in mind. Their interest is to gain your interest by saying, “there is no problem” or “the other side is the problem.”

Yet how does the Scripture speak? How does the prophet Micah speak? “As for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.” This is how the Word of God speaks. It is Spirit-filled – repentance and forgiveness of sins, trust and hope in God is created by it. It is just – it speaks the true commandments of God, the way of righteousness. It is mighty – it speaks in a courageous and timely manner, against the sins you commit, to lead you to repentance.

Therefore, it may be right to say the problem is out there, but that is easy to say. What is hard to say, what takes examination by the Word of God, is that repentance is needed here. Repentance is needed from you. Micah speaks to the rulers of Judah, the supposed “good” country, when he says, how can you bribe and rob and disobey the Lord’s commands, yet expect to lean on the Lord? Do not think that just because you are Jerusalem and the temple is here you will be able to get away with your sin. Trust the Word of God – sin brings judgment. It did in Micah’s day and it does now. If sin is tolerated by Christians, do not expect that church to remain for long.

Therefore, this is a warning. The world is evil, and you who have eyes of faith can see the judgment of God coming upon it. You see things aren’t what they used to be. You see problems in the world. God wants you to repent. The Christian cannot live in the way of the world. The way of good business or social recognition is fraught with pitfalls and temptations. Keep your eyes open to them with courage, knowing the justice of God.

I am not advocating for what today is called justice, whether it is social justice, racial justice, climate justice, or gender justice. What today is called justice is really vengeance and retribution. Today’s false prophets preach this justice, but it is not based on the commands of God. Justice to them is whatever gets them paid. This is not a justice that lasts, it is the whim of fallen men. Do not believe them.

For true justice is the justice of God’s Word. Christ establishes it. The latter days that Micah speaks about have come. Christ has established justice not by taking over the kingdoms of this world, but establishing a greater Kingdom, the first of all kingdoms. It is a Kingdom which gathers people from all nations, where they come to be instructed in the way of the Lord and preach to those outside. The Kingdom, the is where people gather to His Word being preached and His sacraments given. It is the Church. This Kingdom will never fall because it is established on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ has been raised from the dead, and He is King. Disputes are decided by His Word. There is no war in the church, for it does not extend that way, but by preaching and hearing.

Even now, this Kingdom comes to you, but has not yet been fully purified. Wicked men still act, even within church walls. There is no need to fear. Christ will return to defeat all those who oppress Christians. He will make every city built on corruption and gangsterism and exploitation into a farm field. Even if true Christians are scattered about the ends of the world, Christ will provide for them. He gathers those who trust in Him. When He returns, the Prince of Peace will bring about a time like you can only dream of. There will be no corruption, no covetousness, no war. For peace will not be the peace of the false prophets, on human terms. Peace will be based on God’s Word, “for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” This peace is here now. You know it, and soon even the oppressors will know it. For the Word of God is true. Amen.






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