Written by Quinn Caldwell
Questions for Discussion
How often have you heard people in your circles refer to Micah 6:8? How often have they referred to other parts of Micah? Why do you think this is?
Quinn says, "…you might think that our faith is primarily a scold, trying to hector you into behaving better so you can save the world yourself." Have you ever experienced your faith this way? Do you ever find yourself acting like it's your job to save the world?
Quinn lists a number of collective sins he believes God is working on in our midst. Which of those have you experienced personally? Which have you been a part of perpetrating, intentionally or not?
The nations shall see and be ashamed
of all their might;
they shall lay their hands on their mouths;
their ears shall be deaf;
17 they shall lick dust like a snake,
like the crawling things of the earth;
they shall come trembling out of their fortresses;
they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,
and they shall stand in fear of you.
18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of your[d] possession?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in showing clemency.
19 He will again have compassion upon us;
he will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our[e] sins
into the depths of the sea.
20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our ancestors
from the days of old.
"You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
You will be faithful to Jacob,
and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
in days long ago." - Micah 7:19-20
There are certain Christians in the land who refer to John 3:16 so often, and so exclusively, that one wonders if they even know there's a whole book attached to that verse. Likewise, there are certain Christians who rattle off Micah 6:8 so frequently that you wonder the same about them. Stick only with Micah 6:8, and you might think that our faith is primarily a scold, trying to hector you into behaving better so you can save the world yourself.
If you're at all concerned about the current state of our country, it'll be worth your while to read a little further into Micah, though. You see, Micah 6:8 is (arguably) about personal morality, but most of the book is addressed to Israel as a nation. Micah's basic message might be summed up, "Everything sucks in our country right now, and we totally brought it on ourselves." If you agree with the first half of Micah's premise, the second half is pretty hard to swallow. Keep reading, though, and you get to the good stuff: we may have brought this mess on ourselves, but God's not going to leave us flailing around in it.
It is God's plan, Micah says, to tread on our white supremacy and hurl our corporate greed into the sea. God will grind our classism into the dust and drown our male dominance, will take our national aggressions and plow them into the dirt, and grab our transphobia and hold its head under the water. God may require of us that we do justice and love kindness, etc., but God requires of Godself that she be faithful to the oath pledged long ago: that one way or another, God will keep our sins from overwhelming us.
Oh God, as ever, be faithful. Amen.