Journal Micah 2-3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Do not preach” —(thus they preach [anyway])—“…one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.”
Should this be said, O house of Jacob? Has the Lord grown impatient? Are these his deeds? Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly? …
If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink, he would be the preacher for this people!”” Micah 2:6-7 and 11
Observation: Softening up the message, anyone?
Analysis: It took a while to come to this assumption. “What is Micah talking about”, I wondered? How I did this was to recite it out loud, in different tones and inflection until it came out of my mouth in something that sounded logical.
And with that, a corresponding scripture reference came to my thinking: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions…” 2 Tim 4:3
I think that is exactly what Micah is prophesying to Judah and Israel—don’t preach of challenging things like exposure of sin and repentance, “…disgrace (and shame) will not overtake us…”
I consider my personal life, how I shy away from speaking my mind, if I think the words are too harsh: “I am so sorry for what has fallen to you, but your lifestyle may have brought you here. Confess your deeds and repent…” These words choke in my throat because, on the surface, they sound so critical and condemning; they do not ooze love and forgiveness, they are Judgmental.
While I am facetiously “thinking” that I am trying to present an “acceptable” witness to another, what I may be doing is arguing with God: “…do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly? …
I am my worst impediment to speaking about the Gospel. Where the rubber hits the road, I can be ashamed to speak about the Gospel, all of the Gospel. I can be reluctant to speak about the Judgment and subsequent Wrath of God that (according to His Word) all of mankind is destined for. I am good to speak of the love that Jesus has, but conveniently leave out that the Savior is also assigned the duty of being Judge of all Creation.
Micah looks like he is reminding Judah that God is not fooled: they are picking and choosing what they want preached—just like what I and maybe the rest of American Christianity struggles with.
I wonder if I can find some spiritual calamine lotion for my itching ears…
Prayer: Father, many are called, few are chosen. I am not a person convinced of the “free will” ambiguity imagined about your Sovereignty. You are who you are.
Help me to long for the sweetness of your Word; that sweetness that is full of flavor but not saccharine–cloyingly and sickly sweet. I don’t want to pull out what I consider the Bad News of the Good News so that I can sell a gospel. People deserve the Whole Gospel.