He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
I want justice! Do you ever find yourself demanding justice? Stop for just a second and seriously consider what it is your are asking for and whether or not that is really the good God defines in Micah and the rest of the Bible. When we want justice we are usually asking for someone to be punished, right? Are we asking for justice or are we demanding vindication? In demanding punishment/vindication are we taking up the position of judge and jury and saying we know all the fact and therefore know how this situation should play out? Are we demanding justice all the time, or only when it suits us (which isn’t justice at all)? Really, is that the good we should be doing? Probably not.
God’s idea of justice isn’t just about punishment, it is about setting things right. Justice is about things as they ought to be. God declared His creation good – that is the standard. So, getting back to that is the just God is looking for. That is right, that is good. Go wouldn’t say “no justice, no peace.” God would say, and has in Jesus, declared “no peace, no justice.” God’s justice and our justice are very different from each other. If we want good, really want it, then we must pursue His justice and not our own.
God’s justice looks like injustice to us. Think about it. The very thing we want the most – forgiveness, salvation, heaven – has been made possible through an unjust act – the crucifixion of Jesus. We find our justification in the unjust death of Jesus. If you want justice, it starts with Jesus. It starts with living in Him and for Him. It starts with forgiveness, love, and grace.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.
What is deserving of honor and respect in our world today? Is it people who have achieved a certain status? Is it people who have been able to live by a certain standard? It is those people who agree with us? Is it the people who live in tremendous integrity? Just like it is hard to determine truth, it is also hard to discern what is honorable and where our focus should be.
According to Psalm 8 humanity has been crowned with glory and honor. That means it doesn’t matter what our status is or what the world says about us, we are honorable because God has give us honor – some of His honor. Genesis tells us that when He created us He did so in His image. God’s image is definitely worthy of some honor.
When we think of what is honorable in our world, we should start with the image of God. Where do you see God in this place? Where do you see God in people’s lives because those are the honorable things we should be dwelling on. Now, it might be hard to find that image, but even in the places we do not see His image we have a hope that God is at work restoring that image.
You are honorable today because God has bestowed on you that glory and that honor. We might be struggling to actually live in that honor and to live out that image (by image I mean all the things God is – goodness, love, grace, mercy, etc..) but that is where Jesus comes in. Sin has corrupted God’s image in us, but through Jesus that image can be restored. Look to God today for what is honorable and trust Him to restore that honor in your life.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
You would think living in the digital age that we are that it would be easy to discern truth from lie, but it actually seems to make it harder. Everyone seems to have their own truth and we are left trying to figure out whose truth is the real truth or the full truth. Who really knows what is true anymore!? It gets very frustrating and exhausting not knowing who to trust or believe.
Jesus tells us that He is the truth (John 14:6) and then here He tells those who believe that they should listen to His teachings to find the truth. What that tells me is that if we really want truth then we need to look to Jesus – the life He lived and the things He taught. Jesus has revealed and given a lot to us. Not only through His teaching but also through His spirit – who guides us in truth.
So, even during these uncertain times we can know truth. The truth we have access to isn’t just a list of facts, but it is a person. It is a truth that we can live in and have a relationship with. The truth Jesus offers us is one that can change us and free us. Jesus even prayed to The Father asking that we would be set apart (sanctified) in truth. The truth of Jesus is powerful and life changing!
There is no need to live this life in fear and uncertainty. We can be set free from the power of sin and also from the lies the world keeps telling us. We can live free of all of it when we continue in the truth of Christ. I am praying for you, that you might come to know the freedom in the truth of Jesus Christ!
Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”
The first time Nathanael met Jesus, Jesus acted like He knew him. He described Nathanael as a good man, one in which there was no deceit. This was a surprise to Nathanael because the two had never met. That is what led to this exchange between them and when Nathanael learned that God was very aware of him, who he was, and what he was going through.
Sitting under a fig tree was probably not all that uncommon in those days. Don’t you like to sit in the shade too? But, the way Jesus said it leads us to believe that He was talking about a specific moment, one that was apparently deeply personal to Nathanael, and he picked up on that right away. This moment that Jesus referred to was a secret no one else knew about. Jesus didn’t put his private information on display, He just said enough to get Nathanael’s attention.
Nathanael immediately recognized this moment for what it was and recognized Jesus for who He was. He didn’t try to explain anything away or run and hide. He allowed himself to be seen by Jesus. Jesus then assured him that he would see even greater things. It is amazing to me that once we allow Jesus to see us, fully see us, and we accept that and Him, how our eyes can be opened to the good things God has for us.
I want you to know that God sees you today. He sees the “fig tree” you are sitting under. He knows what no one else does and isn’t judging you for it, but is ready to comfort and redeem you from it. Accept that reality, accept Him today, and look for the good God has for you.
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.