What We Deserve

Micah 1:1-7 (NIV)

The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Hear, you peoples, all of you,
    listen, earth and all who live in it,
that the Sovereign Lord may bear witness against you,
    the Lord from his holy temple.

Judgment Against Samaria and Jerusalem

Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling place;
    he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.
The mountains melt beneath him
    and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire,
    like water rushing down a slope.
All this is because of Jacob’s transgression,
    because of the sins of the people of Israel.
What is Jacob’s transgression?
    Is it not Samaria?
What is Judah’s high place?
    Is it not Jerusalem?

“Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble,
    a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour her stones into the valley
    and lay bare her foundations.
All her idols will be broken to pieces;
    all her temple gifts will be burned with fire;
    I will destroy all her images.
Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes,
    as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.”

Much of Israel’s history is one of the rejection of God’s covenant with His people.  He called them to be His people and with that wonderful privilege came stipulations.  These stipulations were spelled out in the Ten Commandments.  Israel did not keep the Commandments and therefore had to be punished.  Micah, prophesying about 700 years before the birth of Christ, told of God’s anger and punishment coming against His people who had turned to idolatry and temple prostitution (verse 7).  God was going to use pagan nations to punish His people.  The northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah would both be punished by God.  The Assyrians would attack the northern kingdom and the capitol city of Samaria and the Babylonians would conquer the southern kingdom and the capitol city of Jerusalem (verse 5).
God is portrayed as a mighty God who comes to bring just punishment on His people.  They had rejected not only His covenant, but they had rejected Him.  They worshiped other gods and turned His temple into a place of idol worship and prostitution.  The house of the Lord was now filled with false images and sexual immorality.  God’s heart was broken and He gave His people ample time to repent.  He called out to them through the prophets to turn away from sin and turn back to Him, yet they did not.  He had no choice but to punish them for their sin.
I have a son and I love him very much.  When he breaks the rules I have to punish him.  He gets grounded or, when he was younger, he was lightly spanked from time to time.  It was torturous for the both of us.  He didn’t like the spanking and I HATED it.  I don’t want to punish my son!  Yet I know that I cannot let him grow up to be a sociopath who thinks that there are no consequences for his wrong behavior.  I’m certain of this – God hated punishing His people.  So He sent Jesus.
Jesus came to take the punishment we deserve.  God said that He would no longer punish His people and pour out His wrath on us.  Jesus willingly came to Earth and willingly laid down His life to take our punishment.  He bore the brunt of God’s wrath as He hung on a Roman cross.  He was mocked and beaten.  He was spit upon and flogged.  He was crucified for you and me.  He suffered the consequences of our sins.  Now, there is no condemnation or wrath left for the people of God.  We have been set free from the consequences of our sins.  God still disciplines and lovingly corrects us when we sin as any loving Father would do.  But the wrath and punishment we deserve was poured out on His only Son.  All glory, honor, thanks and praise be to Jesus for His sacrifice.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank You for taking my place on that cross.  I thank You for suffering in my place and bearing my shame and guilt.  Help me to live a life of gratitude for Your sacrifice.  Help me to live a life of love just like You did.  In Your name I ask these things, amen.

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