Sermon for Advent Midweek Service, December 15, AD 2021

Micah 7:18-20

Who is a God like you? As we hear the final sermon this Advent season from the prophet Micah, we end with Micah’s statement, who is a God like you? He is the God who forgives sin of those who repent and trust in Him.

Who is a God like you? is the subject which has been posed throughout the book of Micah. Yes, God is bringing judgment on his people, the people of Israel and Judah, precisely because they refuse to acknowledge this – who is a God like the Lord? For them, it is any God could be like the Lord. Baal, Asherah, Molech, Mammon – any will do. To turn from the Lord and serve other gods, or to disobey God and pretend his commands don’t matter, is to say that the Lord God is no different than any other. If you look at most religions, this is exactly their view. Add whatever gods you want to the Greek pantheon, to the Hindu religion, it does not bother them. Just don’t say there is an exclusive God. This is even the general feel of our day, among people with no religion, or agnostic, or spiritual but not religious. You can worship whatever and however you want, unless your God is exclusive, above all others, and makes universal claims on everyone.

When God is no longer exclusive, when no one says, who is a God like you? people think they have freedom. If no one’s god is greater than any other, then no god can make demands on anyone. All can do whatever they see is right, they are free! This is the deception, the self-delusion, but it is not reality. Instead what happens is like what Micah describes in chapter 6 – God witnesses against the people who have abandoned Him as the only God. What does this look like? People do not seek wisdom, but instead lie in wait to take advantage of each other at every chance, there is no social cohesion. Those with authority to judge do not give just judgments, but judges, rulers, and the rich work together to weave great nets to hunt down the others. No one trusts anyone, there is no respect between children and parents, even husbands and wives cannot trust each other. These and more are the attributes of a society, or of a church, that no longer recognizes their God.

What can you do when you recognize those around you no longer recognize their God? Instead of “who is a God like you?” You hear “who is God anyway?” If you are looking you will see these conditions all around you, both outside and inside of the churches. When you open your eyes to such conditions it may cause fear or despair. What can you do? How can you overcome all this apathy and disregard for God?

Repent. Confess your sin and repent. This is the answer that the Lord gives through Micah. Whether you see that you are contributing to the problem and have generally abandoned God in word, thought and deed, or just despair of those around you, draw near to God in confession and repentance. The repentant and humble Christian is the one who comes admitting his sin, that he deserves nothing from God, but expecting everything from God. The Christian bears indignation from the world, trouble from his own family, shame from friends and neighbors, but knows that God is faithful and will one day vindicate him. He knows who God is – there is no other God like Him.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? No other God delights to forgive sin. All other gods demand sacrifices, of time, of other people, of money, of possessions – they must receive the sacrifice to be pleased. Our God is not pleased by man-made sacrifices. He does not delight in the death of the wicked. He does not delight in punishment. He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.

How can God have mercy on sinners, on those who betrayed Him? How can he pass over their transgressions when they have done nothing to appease Him? Why would God delight in the good of his enemies? God most of all shows His steadfast love in a way which Micah only dimly saw. For in His infinite wisdom, in His own counsel before the foundation of the world, He had compassion on you, and knew He would send His only Son to bear your punishment. That Ruler born in Bethelehem, Jesus Christ, would come, God made man, in order that God may have mercy on sinners. Our Lord made His own way, without our input, bearing the sins of the whole world on the cross so that there was no punishment left for sinners. Who is a God that would do that? Truly there is no other God like this, who would take on human flesh and die for his enemies.

Truly there is no other God like this, who as a man has risen from the dead and ascended to rule over heaven and earth. For not only has he taken the punishment for your sins, but Jesus has “tread our iniquities underfoot.” Jesus, the conquering king, has stomped all your sin into the dust so it no longer has power over you. In the baptismal waters, your sins have been forgiven and drowned in the depths of the sea, and you have risen to a new life as a conqueror with Christ.

This new life is still one lived in the world, in the reality of sinful people and your own sinful flesh. So you are brought back again and again to the faithful promises of God. He has promised to you new life in your baptism, and strength in His body and blood. These are everlasting promises. God has a perfect record of keeping them and does not lie. Since the time of the patriarchs Jacob and Abraham, God perfectly kept His promise, even when sinful men broke it.

Therefore, do not despair or lose hope, even in a world that is falling apart. For God is faithful and His promises are true. There is truly no God like Him, for no other god, made of wood or stone or circuits or your own flesh, has shown such compassion and steadfast love for you. Come to him in repentance and humility, acknowledge your sin and he will forgive you. Your sins will be cast into the sea. Your iniquities trampled into the ground. The crucified and resurrected Lord will marvelously vindicate you for all the suffering you face now for His sake. His promise will always endure. Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, Amen.






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