January 10

Genesis 6:5-6 (NIV) 5The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

'Nacham' means comforting sorrow, regret, pity. That describes God's heart over man's condition in that day. Seeing man choose sin and its destructiveness, grieved the heart of God. It 'atsab' (pained or vexed) God's heart to see our choices. Something had to be done to stop man from torturing himself and his fellow man (vs. 11). A cleansing of the earth had to take place. I have the same feeling, to a degree, when I must spank my children. I cry and hurt with them, but I know it will be better for us all in the future. This verse reveals the heart of God against sin and what it does to us through our own choices. God does things that He knows will be painful to Him and to His creation at times but with a good end in mind.

Sin had mastered most of mankind, like it mastered Cain. God works to bring about the least amount of pain within the boundaries of His justice. He works with this end in mind, bringing many sons to glory. The flood came to spare mankind from themselves. At times, we question God's justice, but we can always be sure that His heart is for man, who is made in His image. It was with a grieved heart full of pain that He directed Noah to build the ark. It will be with a grieved heart that the next great purging of the earth takes place by fire (2 Peter 3:7-12) under similar conditions among mankind. We are watching the rapid erosion of man's thoughts and inclinations. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37 (NIV).

Consider: Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

January 10

Micah 6:6-8 (NIV) 6With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

When you begin to understand the holiness of Almighty God, you know you must worship Him. What could you bring that would please Him? The ancients offered animal sacrifices. For the life they had received, they offered the life of an animal that they were custodians over. The valuable products of daily life, meat and oil, were offered in thanksgiving and honor to the Great Provider. Some cultures sacrificed their firstborn to be right with God. The God of the Bible said He never asked for that from man. What can we do about our offenses, the sin of our soul? Micah tells the people what they already know. God had shown us what is good. He has shown us His requirements.

The first listed is to act justly. Greed had perverted justice in the legal system and in the business world. The poor were taken advantage of. The second requirement was to love mercy. They had hardened their hearts toward having any mercy, not realizing God was extending immeasurable mercy to them at that very moment. The last requirement was to walk humbly with God. They, in pride, had turned their backs on His laws.

If the people Micah addressed took to heart these simple requirements of God, they would have repented and pleaded for God's mercy. The change in their lives would have brought about a new lifestyle that reflected God's attributes. Instead, they went through empty religious rituals.

God requires the same things from us. The only way we could ever walk in justice, mercy, and humbly with God is through the life of Christ in us.

Consider: We often think God is after sacrifice. He is after a heart yielded to Him. That results in acting justly and with mercy and humility. Is your heart yielded to Him?