Micah chapter 4:5 says “For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.” Reading the news from which ever country, we see people wanting what is best for them – the ‘I am entitled’ syndrome instead of what is best for everyone. People have their own gods which translates ‘I want....’ and we are all seeing the consequences of this – usually not good news!
Imagine how God felt when he saw the Jewish nation, his chosen people, taking on the values of its neighbours, instead of being the example that God had asked it to be. This was to be a prosperous nation, caring for its people and being such a shining example so that others would see that the God of the Jews was the true God, but instead, they were in decline with Israel ready to be wiped out and Judah condemned to 70 years in exile, all because the majority of the people chose to follow their own god instead of the true God.
Having been around for 70 plus years, I have seen the movement of some Christian organisations, and that has not always been for the better. I have seen what were outreach thinking churches in this area retreat to declining Christian clubs with no public face, let alone community involvement. Yet I read of churches in some areas, thriving and ministering to their community in the name of Jesus. I have read recently of the need for the Uniting Church, now 40 years since the amalgamation of 3 denominations, having to reassess their future, because of the decline in membership.
Stopping to think where we are heading is a good thing as it is easy to go our own way and be sincere about it, but be sincerely wrong. I can only imagine the frustration of the Old Testament prophets, when the people refused to listen to their warnings of impending doom and destruction if they did not turn from their wicked ways. The faithful Jews must also have felt the same, as they knew that they would also suffer because of the majority turning away from God.
God calls us to be continually faithful to him, not in our own strength but in his strength, despite what is going on around us. This has been particularly difficult for people in the Middle East or in Muslim countries especially during Ramadan, but with the ‘entitled’ attitude now creeping into Western culture, it can even be difficult for Christians to speak out on Christian values.
An anti- discrimination complaint was lodged against the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart because of the church’s attitude towards marriage being between a man and a woman – a view held for hundreds of years. Eventually the complaint was dropped but not before a lot of unnecessary and nasty confrontations. Margaret Court, a famous Australian tennis player with a tennis complex named in her honour, and now a Christian Pastor, also spoke of her view of marriage being between a man and a woman, and suddenly there was an outcry from some sectors of the public to rename the tennis complex because these same people did not agree with her views. Yes, even in a Western democracy, it is becoming harder to express one’s views or maintain freedom of speech . Outrage and entitlement have replaced open discussion and dialogue and the freedom to disagree. That is why Micah’s opening sentence struck me as so relevant for today.
Being a Christian today is not always easy, so I interpret this prayer from a Christian organisation to not only relate to helping people in Jesus’ name, but also standing up for what is right and best for all people.
“Pray for the well-being of all the people who do good in this world so that they can restore their energy and keep being a force for good.”
Micah 4:5....”but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever”.