International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday July 19, 2015
Purpose: To appreciate the importance of memory in an ongoing life of faith
Bible Lesson: Micah 6:3-8
Background Scripture: Micah 6
Key Verse: He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).
Micah 6:3-8 (CEB)
(3) “My people, what did I ever do to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! (4) I brought you up out of the land of Egypt; I redeemed you from the house of slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam before you. (5) My people, remember what Moab’s King Balak had planned, and how Balaam, Beor’s son, answered him! Remember everything from Shittim to Gilgal, that you might learn to recognize the righteous acts of the Lord!” (6) With what should I approach the Lord and bow down before God on high? Should I come before him with entirely burned offerings, with year-old calves? (7) Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with many torrents of oil? Should I give my oldest child for my crime; the fruit of my body for the sin of my spirit? (8) He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
To get the most from this lesson you need to include the first 2 verses of chapter 6. (1). Hear what the Lord is saying: Arise, lay out the lawsuit before the mountains; let the hills hear your voice! (2) Hear, mountains, the lawsuit of the Lord! Hear, eternal foundations of the earth! The Lord has a lawsuit against his people; with Israel he will argue.)
This is set up like a courtroom case with Micah as the attorney for God. I guess it would be listed as (Israel v. God). The people of Israel, which is all of the descendants of Jacob. This is not just for the Northern Kingdom of Israel, or the Southern Kingdom of Judah. This counter suit is for both nations.
It should be noted that Micah used God’s first-person-singular voice in verses 3-5. In verses 1-2, Micah, speaking of God in third-person singular, challenged his audience to lay out their “lawsuit” against God. Notice the courtroom God has chosen, mountains, hills, and the foundations of creation.
As Micah defends God, he builds a case against Israel’s failed memory. What did God ever do to Israel except redeem them? Micah uses three particular instances to jog the memory of Israel. The first was being brought out of Egypt by Moses, Aaron and Miriam. A second was how God, acting through the diviner Balaam, turned the Moabite King Balak’s plan to curse Israel into a blessing (verse 5; Numbers 22–24). The third, includes “everything from Shittim to Gigal,” likely referred to the crossing of the Jordan River into Canaan. Shittim was on the east side of the Jordan, and Gigal was on its west side (verse 5; Joshua 3–4).
The word from God was remember everything, not just these three instances. And when they did remember how should they respond? I am reminded of Samuel’s words from 1 Samuel 15:22 Then Samuel replied, "Does the Lord want entirely burned offerings and sacrifices as much as obedience to the Lord? Listen to this: obeying is better than sacrificing, paying attention is better than fat from rams.
Then Micah gives us a clue to what the LORD really wants from us, it can be found in our key verse. “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
Psychologist have found that families that know their history and family story survive tragedies and setbacks in their life much better than those that do not know family history. I think Micah would agree with the modern day psychologist on this point. Teaching our own family history as well as the history of our faith can go a long way in us surviving through trials and tribulations.
I am reminded of the great Fanny Crosby hymn “Tell me the Story of Jesus.”