Be careful who you follow, be careful who you listen to.
In Micah 3, the prophet Micah moves on to address two groups of people in particular: the leaders and the prophets.
The leaders are the rulers of Israel: those who should be setting an example, leading the way, demonstrating justice. As role models, when the leaders get it wrong, they lead the people astray. They set the tone for the nation. They should love good and hate evil, but in reality, it’s been the other way round, which has led to the most horrific atrocities. The nation has been built on bloodshed and wickedness. The leaders despise justice and distort what is right.
It’s become all about money.
Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Micah 3:11
These leaders are misguided. They’re complacent. They think that because they are God’s people (even when they’re not acting like God’s people), then God is with them and no harm will come to them. They think that when the time comes, they’ll be able to just turn to God and cry out for His help and that He’ll answer and rescue them, because He’s that kind of God. They forget that a covenant is a two way relationship, that they’ve had their part to play in respecting God’s ways, in trusting and obeying the one true God.
He’s seen all that they have done and He cannot ignore that. When disaster strikes, He will turn away from them.
And then there are the prophets – not the real messengers of God like Micah, but the false prophets who are leading the people astray, who are feeding them lies, who are telling them what they want to hear. Al the prophets and seers and diviners are going to be disgraced, found out, rendered useless.
And Micah will stand firm.
But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the Lord,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression,
to Israel his sin. Micah 3:8
There is power in doing things God’s way.
Don’t try to tell me the Bible isn’t relevant to today. All of this is still being played out across our world today. Let’s take what’s going on in America at the moment. There’s a leader who cannot be trusted, whose lies are being exposed, who’s making decisions that divide and alienate and cause suffering, rather than bringing people together in justice and love.
And then there are all sorts of prophets and church leaders presenting all sorts of conflicting messages. People speaking in the name of God and yet saying completely different things. It’s so hard to know who to listen to. Although if you listen to God working within your heart, then you can learn to follow your intuition and follow the truth.
I’ve been reading quite a lot of writings by Chris Kratzer. He’s always talking about grace and how grace is brave. He’s certainly very brave to be challenging and confronting the power of the Evangelical American Church.
Take a look at one of his blogs ‘The Conservative Christianity that is Killing You’ for example. This is the opening sentence.
Sometimes in life, we don’t realize the things silently destroying us from within—false beliefs we have long held to be true, misplaced values we have long embraced as being invaluable. Chris Kratzer
It’s good already, right? That’s exactly what this passage from Micah is saying.
Be careful who you follow. Be careful who you listen to.
Read on. He’s outspoken all right. You may well not like what he is saying, because he’s challenging everything you’ve stood for your whole life.
And you may reach the end and still disagree. Or you may see a glimmer of truth in there.
Chris Kratzer doesn’t hold back. He challenges the leaders and the prophets. He’s ‘putting into words what only grace is brave enough to say’. That’s a great strapline.
Putting into words what only grace is brave enough to say.
May we be brave enough to do the same.