Micah 6* God's controversy with Israel. (1-5) The duties God requires.(6-8) The wickedness of Israel. (9-16)1-5 The people are called upon to declare why they were wearyof God's worship, and prone to idolatry. Sin causes thecontroversy between God and man. God reasons with us, to teachus to reason with ourselves. Let them remember God's manyfavours to them and their fathers, and compare with them theirunworthy, ungrateful conduct toward him. 6-8 These verses seem to contain the substance of Balak'sconsultation with Balaam how to obtain the favour of Israel'sGod. Deep conviction of guilt and wrath will put men uponcareful inquiries after peace and pardon, and then there beginsto be some ground for hope of them. In order to God's beingpleased with us, our care must be for an interest in theatonement of Christ, and that the sin by which we displease himmay be taken away. What will be a satisfaction to God's justice?In whose name must we come, as we have nothing to plead as ourown? In what righteousness shall we appear before him? Theproposals betray ignorance, though they show zeal. They offerthat which is very rich and costly. Those who are fullyconvinced of sin, and of their misery and danger by reason ofit, would give all the world, if they had it, for peace andpardon. Yet they do not offer aright. The sacrifices had valuefrom their reference to Christ; it was impossible that the bloodof bulls and goats should take away sin. And all proposals ofpeace, except those according to the gospel, are absurd. Theycould not answer the demands of Divine justice, nor satisfy thewrong done to the honour of God by sin, nor would they serve atall in place of holiness of the heart and reformation of thelife. Men will part with any thing rather than their sins; butthey part with nothing so as to be accepted of God, unless theydo part with their sins. Moral duties are commanded because theyare good for man. In keeping God's commandments there is a greatreward, as well as after keeping them. God has not only made itknown, but made it plain. The good which God requires of us is,not the paying a price for the pardon of sin and acceptance withGod, but love to himself; and what is there unreasonable, orhard, in this? Every thought within us must be brought down, tobe brought into obedience to God, if we would walk comfortablywith him. We must do this as penitent sinners, in dependence onthe Redeemer and his atonement. Blessed be the Lord that he isever ready to give his grace to the humble, waiting penitent. 9-16 God, having showed how necessary it was that they shoulddo justly, here shows how plain it was that they had doneunjustly. This voice of the Lord says to all, Hear the rod whenit is coming, before you see it, and feel it. Hear the rod whenit is come, and you are sensible of the smart; hear whatcounsels, what cautions it speaks. The voice of God is to beheard in the rod of God. Those who are dishonest in theirdealings shall never be reckoned pure, whatever shows ofdevotion they may make. What is got by fraud and oppression,cannot be kept or enjoyed with satisfaction. What we holdclosest we commonly lose soonest. Sin is a root of bitterness,soon planted, but not soon plucked up again. Their being thepeople of God in name and profession, while they kept themselvesin his love, was an honour to them; but now, being backsliders,their having been once the people of God turns to theirreproach.
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