As I quickly scrolled through social media last week, I enjoyed the beautiful holiday pictures that filled my feed.
There were floral dresses galore, and adorable children bent over, reaching for brightly-colored Easter eggs until their baskets were full. I admired Spring-themed table decor, complete with creatively designed place settings and fresh-out-of-the-oven ham centerpieces. Of course there were loads of amazing family pictures with coordinated outfits, and – let’s face it – enough retakes to make sure there were no double-chins and all of the littles were looking and smiling.
I even painted my toenails for Easter Sunday, and ya’ll… that’s saying something. Heh.
Oh, how we strive for neatly packaged exteriors and eagerly show up in droves for Resurrection Sunday – a day full of life and light and rightful celebration.
But as we sang of God’s resurrection power and victory over death, a surprise tear escaped from the corner of my eye…
Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffersIt was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished– Stuart Townend
Amidst a powerful worship celebration, my heart was prompted to remember. Guys, it’s so good to remember (after all, we’re instructed to do just that in 1 Corinthians 11). Jesus died the death I deserved. It was my sin that He paid for – both past, future, and the sin that I confessed that very morning. Everything in us wants to run right past the mourning and straight to the celebration. But it’s this godly sorrow that leads to repentance, and that’s what makes the joyful grace celebration that much sweeter.
The book of Micah begins with mourning, and rightfully so. The Israelites were deep in sin – stubborn and “stiff-necked” like their ancestors before them, “who did not trust in the Lord their God.” (2 Kings 17:14) Because of the rebellion of many, it would not go well with them, resulting in exile and removal from God’s presence (2 Kings 17:18-23).
And so Micah wept for the destruction that would come upon Judah.
The book of Micah follows the same sort of progression we as believers should reflect on leading up to Resurrection Day – and throughout the whole year – as we stop and preach the gospel to ourselves: in order to fully grasp and properly respond to the depth and beauty of God’s mercy and covenant-keeping relationship towards us, we must first fully grasp the depth of our sin that once separated us from Him.
(I’m not talking self-pity here – that’s misdirected attention towards us. I beg you not to get stuck there. I’m talking about approaching our lives through the lens of the gospel and responding accordingly, so that we give all attention and glory to Jesus.)
Like those in Micah’s day, we are often much too hospitable with our sin. We go far too long before we name it for what it really is, mourn it, confess it, and turn from it in repentance. In a world that demands tolerance over truth, we sometimes even avoid the word altogether. In turn, we miss out on the comfort, freedom, and happiness that God provides in Him.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” – Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Hold on tight through Micah’s mourning… deliverance is coming.
In the book of Micah we’ll see both God’s judgment and God’s mercy. We’ll be reminded that we’re prone to wander, that the Lord disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), and that God is a relationship-restoring God; faithful to His promises. I pray that through this journey together we’ll grow in godliness, and be prompted to respond with joy and thanksgiving for God’s amazing compassion, forgiveness, and grace towards us.
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. – Psalm 30:4-5
At His feet,
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