Based on Micah 3:1-8
While our readings from Luke’s Gospel deserve our attention in these devotions, the readings from Micah are worthy of mention.
Micah and Isaiah lived at the same time and were called to deliver a similar message. No wonder, as Israel and Judah were in a time of great idolatry and disobedience. The word of the Lord through both prophets was that of warning, judgement and exhortation. The first several chapters of the book of the prophet Micah foretell doom and gloom as a punishment for their abandonment of the one true Lord God. The passage above proclaims judgement against wicked rulers and prophets who “hate the good and love the evil.” Micah says “they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil.”
Like Isaiah, however, Micah also prophesies a time of hope and restoration. He announces from the Lord, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel…And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord…And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace” (Micah 5:2-5). For now, Micah is filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, declaring to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. He is calling the people of Israel and Judah and their leaders and prophets to account, calling them to repent of their disobedience and evil. There would come a time when the Lord God would send a faithful and true Shepherd, but first, there is to be repentance and return to the Lord.
Martin Luther wrote of the ministry of Micah, “So, too, we now have to rebuke, denounce, comfort and preach, and then say, ‘Even though all is lost, Christ will yet come at the Last Day and help us…’” (quoted in the Lutheran Study Bible, CPH)
Prayer: O God, give me strength to love the good and hate evil, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Lenten response: Say a prayer for church leaders, that they are filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
3:1 I said,
“Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of the nation of Israel!
You ought to know what is just,
2yet you hate what is good,
and love what is evil.
You flay my people’s skin
and rip the flesh from their bones.
3You devour my people’s flesh,
strip off their skin,
and crush their bones.
You chop them up like flesh in a pot –
like meat in a kettle.
4Someday these sinful leaders will cry to the Lord for help,
but he will not answer them.
He will hide his face from them at that time,
because they have done such wicked deeds.”
5This is what the Lord has said about the prophets who mislead my people,
“If someone gives them enough to eat,
they offer an oracle of peace.
But if someone does not give them food,
they are ready to declare war on him.
6Therefore night will fall, and you will receive no visions;
it will grow dark, and you will no longer be able to read the omens.
The sun will set on these prophets,
and the daylight will turn to darkness over their heads.
7The prophets will be ashamed;
the omen readers will be humiliated.
All of them will cover their mouths,
for they will receive no divine oracles.”
8But I am full of the courage that the Lord’s Spirit gives,
and have a strong commitment to justice.
This enables me to confront Jacob with its rebellion,
and Israel with its sin.(NET Bible)
61:1 For the music director; to be played on a stringed instrument; written by David.
O God, hear my cry for help!
Pay attention to my prayer!
2From the most remote place on earth
I call out to you in my despair.
Lead me up to a rocky summit where I can be safe!
3Indeed, you are my shelter,
a strong tower that protects me from the enemy.
4I will be a permanent guest in your home;
I will find shelter in the protection of your wings. (Selah)
5For you, O God, hear my vows;
you grant me the reward that belongs to your loyal followers.
6Give the king long life!
Make his lifetime span several generations!
7May he reign forever before God!
Decree that your loyal love and faithfulness should protect him.
8Then I will sing praises to your name continually,
as I fulfill my vows day after day.(NET Bible)
1:57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. 60But his mother replied, “No! He must be named John.” 61They said to her, “But none of your relatives bears this name.” 62So they made signs to the baby’s father, inquiring what he wanted to name his son. 63He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 64Immediately Zechariah’s mouth was opened and his tongue released, and he spoke, blessing God. 65All their neighbors were filled with fear, and throughout the entire hill country of Judea all these things were talked about. 66All who heard these things kept them in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the Lord’s hand was indeed with him.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Luther again speaks of the infallibility of Scripture in Contra malignum J. Eckii judicium M. Lutheri Defensio, which left the press on September 30, 1519. In the preface he refers to the statement of Augustine, “I have learned to ascribe this honor (namely the infallibility) only to books which are termed canonical, so that I confidently believe that not one of their authors erred,” and continues, “but the other authors, no matter how distinguished by great sanctity and teaching, I read in this way, that I do not regard them as true because they themselves judged in this wise but in so far as they could convince me through the authority of the canonical writings or other clear deductions.” (17)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.