Today’s Chocolate: Green & Black’s 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate
Today’s Passage: Micah 6
I didn’t get Friday’s post done on Friday. I just checked on timeanddate.com’s World Clock, and it’s not Friday anywhere in the world right now. So, here I am, breaking my principles and blogging on the Sabbath. Of course, my tongue is in cheek as I say that, because I don’t believe for a second that it’s inherently wrong to read the Bible and write words in any medium about it on any day of the week. And I think I can get this post out without breaking the Sabbath! All I have to do is be very careful not to do any work as I write it. It may be tricky, and it might even take work, but with determination and hard work, we can put up a Chocolate Book post without working.
I hope it’s clear that I’m poking fun not at Judaism, but at my own laziness and fastidiousness. I deprecate myself, dear readers. Let’s dispense with introductory remarks and consider Micah 6.
In this chapter, the Lord gives his personal testimony: “testimony” because he evokes the courtroom, and “personal” because he speaks to his people as one who has a relationship and a history with them. He opens with an invitation for Israel to make its statement and to hear his own: “Arise, plead your case before the mountains…Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the Lord” (1-2). God may be trying his people on charges of gross sin, but they have a right to a trial before a jury of their native geography. But even as they defend themselves, God will make his own case.
But his opening statement eschews technical legal terminology for a personal appeal. He asks, “My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me” (3). He reminds them that he liberated them from slavery in Egypt and gave them leaders in the Exodus. Will they put him on trial for his kindness to them? Will they bring a countersuit against him for being so good?
Two things strike me about God’s statements to Israel here. One is that, as much as he cares about his people and wants them to enjoy life in his presence, God must be just. “Can I justify wicked scales and a bag of deceptive weights?” (11) he asks. Greedy men have valued wealth and acquisition more than God or their own countrymen. Even if he created the people who commit these evils against him knowing full well they’d disobey, he must play by the rules of justice, rules which he made himself. He must hold his people accountable in the cosmic courtroom, but he doesn’t have to be glad about it.
Second, he didn’t get into this game for the animal sacrifices. We know sacrifices of atonement aren’t trivial; they’re intended to teach important lessons about the cost of forgiveness, but they’re not intended to give God a dead cow to make up for breaking his law. He asks another rhetorical question: “Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil?” (7). No, the rams and oil were his to begin with; he can create as many and as much as he wants at any time. What he wants is for his people “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (8). And apparently he wants to receive it freely, or else he’d coerce his people into doing these things.
That’s enough dancing around the rim of the Theodicy Can for today. I recognize that for many of you the lid may still be off and the worms still squirming, but we can’t hope to resolve all these issues in a single post, or even in consideration of a single Biblical chapter. Tune back in for more Micah on More Micah Monday.