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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Micah: Baring Foundations

Are you getting comfy about an up and down spiritual life? Think again.

When God’s people are disobedient the whole earth is affected. “Hear, everyone who lives on the Earth,” (Micah 1). When bible believers rebel, what can you expect from non believers? The Lord was an angry witness against all earth dwellers. And this was all due to Jacob’s transgression, to Israel’s sin (Micah 1.5).

The church being the true Israel of today (Gal.3.7-14), the same principle applies. When the world is in chaos and nature suffers from men’s abuse, the church had better checked its ranks. Sometimes church people denounce government corruption and blame it for God’s ire. Well, they better look at themselves first. Denominationalism, because it runs counter to Jesus’ prayer in John 17 for complete unity, is vile corruption. Sometimes, government reflects the condition the church is in.

Baring Foundations

In Micah’s time Judah’s spiritual life was fluctuating—going up in Jotham’s time, going down in Ahaz’s time, then going up again in Hezekiah’s time. King Jotham did well in God’s sight but the people did evil. King Hezekiah did superbly but later took fleshly pride in his achievements by showing off to Babylonian envoys. Good that he later repented. However, overall it was a dismal performance. A fluctuating relationship with God, though it has its ups, is not God’s standard. God always wants an ever-increasing glory (2Cor.3.18). That's being God's flesh.

In general, God sized up Israel’s “success” as nothing but “wages of prostitutes” (Micah 1.7). When God weighed Israel’s success, taking away the pretentious decors and embellishments to “lay bare her foundations” (Micah 1.6), Israel was left with nothing but idolatry and prostitution. In their own eyes they were doing well—good worship, good offerings and gifts, good finances, good image. But God saw differently:

“Her idols will all be broken…all her gifts (money offering) offered at the temple will be burned with fire…I will demolish her images…and her money offerings are derived from prostitutes’ wages.”

They had so much money for “ministry” but failed to see that wages from prostitutes could never be used for anything except as money for promiscuity again. “Since the gifts are from the wages of whores, as the wages of prostitutes it will again be used,” (v.7). Prostitution can only lead to more prostitution. In can never lead to God.

King Ahaz brought in many modern worship systems into the temple. He even re-fashioned the temple system to look like the one he so admired in Babylon. Many of today's church worships look like what you'd find among rock bands in bars and bistros. 

Idolatry and Prostitution

Idolatry and prostitution in Micah’s time was probably also in a literal sense, but God was referring more to spiritual idols and prostitutes. You’re guilty of prostitution and adultery if you’re idolatrous. And being idolatrous is not just worshiping statues. First and foremost, it’s befriending the world—using man’s ways and the ways of the world in ministry. Denominationalism. Many believers and pastors worship their denominations. Many pastors are nothing but defenders and propagandists of their denominational church. That’s first class idolatry and prostitution.

And anything you do in prostitution as you “serve God in your church”—though it looks good to men and sound biblical—are nothing but prostitution to God. Remember the Kingdom principle here: The wages of prostitutes can only be used for prostitution again. Nothing else.

Incurable Wound

Micah had the sharp spiritual eyes to see Israel’s incurable wound, and that the malady had reached her sister Judah (v.9). Today, churches have blurred or blind eyes to see only their fleshly successes. All they see are their denominations, church buildings, beautiful worship programs that "touch" them, their membership, and finances. They all base their “success” on these factors. Just listen to their reports in their assemblies. And they don't want to be criticized for their worldliness and religious spirit. They'd say you're too judgmental if you did that. 

Well, the mere fact that they’re denominational already manifests the initial symptoms of an incurable wound.

Incurable Sisters

Israel and Judah were “sisters” in God’s eyes. God had been telling Judah to learn from her sister’s sins. Instead, Judah did even worse. Israel’s sin was Samaria (v.5), the capital of idolatry. But Judah made Jerusalem the capital of both idolatry and sexual immorality right inside the temple of God (“high place” in v.5). God saw his temple reduced by men into a mere “high place.” Many churches today are mere high places. And in most cases, it’s an incurable wound. Denominational born again churches never learned from the sins of Roman Catholic churches.

Name Reversal

Micah saw the Israelites and the people of Judah in God’s eyes. The people may had been priding themselves with the presumptuous names they have called their cities by, but God saw differently. He saw that the negative meanings of their names were more apt for them. Gath, sounding like tell, was not worthy to be told. Beth Ophrah, meaning house of dust, should indeed roll in dust. Shaphir, meaning pleasant, should walk in nakedness and shame. Zaanan, meaning come out, will not come out—and probably hide in fear.

Churches today are named with high-sounding names. Well, just make sure that you name yourselves justifiably. If you’re “God is Lord Church,” make sure He indeed is Lord in your church. If you’re “Jesus the Victory Church,” make sure you are indeed victorious, and that the victory is of Jesus.

If you’re “God is Lord” and your Sunday worship is full of men’s programs, activities, plans, and gimmickry, God sees it as a place where God is not Lord. More so if you use the ways of this world, like when you choose leaders using parliamentary procedures, or when your leaders are chairmen, superintendents, directors, and presidents, instead of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. If your “successes” are due to the financial supports you get or big beautiful church building or well planned programs, your victory is not of Jesus. Or, if you have no real spiritual victory—and you just look good on the outside, in God’s eyes your church is “No Victory Church,” not “Jesus the Victory Church.”

I’ve seen churches that just look alive and well and rich; but inside they’re either rotten or dying. And the spiritual disaster they suffer comes from the Lord (Micah 1.12).

So, if the Lord were to lay bare your foundations, what would He find, and what would remain of you?

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