2: "And now, O mountains, listen to the LORD'S complaint! He has a case against his people Israel! He will prosecute them to the full extent of the law." - "The people are called upon to declare why they were weary of God's worship, and prone to idolatry. Sin causes the controversy between God and man."1 In this trial between God and His people, all of creation is called to stand witness.
3: "O my people, what have I done to make you turn from me? Tell me why your patience is exhausted! Answer me!" - God asks a question that has no real answer - the reasons for turning from God will not hold up in court.
6: "What can we bring to the LORD to make up for what we've done? Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves?" - Recognizing that there is no defense for their actions, the people seek quick and easy ways to pay God for His forgiveness.
8: "No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." - A relationship with God requires a changed heart.
Points to Contemplate:
Does God have a "case" against you?
Has He led you through the wilderness to the Promised Land only to see you forget about His love by turning your focus towards other gods? Has He richly blessed your life only to find you filled with pride and self-importance? Has He wiped clean the slate of your sins only to have you continuing along the same path of selfish indulgence? How will you answer God's question: "What have I done to make you turn from me? Tell me why your patience is exhausted?"
What sacrifices are you offering God? Are they meaningless offerings that God could never use? In those times that you recognize that you have turned from God's path and followed your own desires, what things do you do to appease your feelings of guilt? Do you attend church more regularly, teach a Sunday School class, or work a weekend at that food shelter? Perhaps you put a larger check into the offering plate or gave a homeless person a five-dollar bill? Do these actions make things right with God?
What does God want from you? Hasn't He already told you everything you need to know? Is it a surprise that He wants you to always do good in the lives you touch? Aren't you aware of His commandments to love all people at all times? Is there anything about being humble that you don't understand? Are you going to allow God into your heart so that He can create real change in you and in your life? Will you let Him transform you into the image of Christ? Promises of the Gospel:
The Israelites had a long history of being richly blessed by God and then turning from Him to appease their own desires. Their history is an analogy for our own lives. We are more likely to follow their example of faithlessness then God's pathway to glory. It is the human condition. And God knows this but it does not mean He wants it to be this way. He offers His love unconditionally and undeservedly. Grace flows like rain into our lives. We can do nothing to earn His love but it does not mean that we should simply go on with our lives as though nothing has transpired. The pathway to holiness, the process of sanctification where God transforms us into the image of Christ, is based on our willingness to focus on God. We stay focused when we choose to "to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with (our) God."