Bountiful Spirit - March 6, 2021
Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, show us marvelous things.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of your possession? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency. He will again have compassion upon us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and unswerving loyalty to Abraham, as you have sworn to our ancestors from the days of old.
Reflection by Ruth Wheaton Cox
These verses form a rapturous song of thanksgiving to God. Micah rejoices in the fact that God sees our transgressions and forgives them. In earlier parts of Micah, he warns of the inequalities, injustices, and depravity he sees in Jerusalem. He prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem and his song is meant to remind them of the blessings they had in “the good-old-days”, when they followed the beliefs they inherited from the time of Jacob and Abraham. For Micah, God is more than a being. God is also time, a history during which God has been a consistent presence for the people of Israel.
Just as in Micah’s time, we are living through a time of division and a time of tremendous inequities in our society. Sometimes I rebel against the idea that we need to go back to “the good-old-days”. To me those days represent a time of repression and denial that hurt so many people, but Micah’s ecstatic joy in the goodness that he wants us to remember is infectious. His joy makes me consider more than the hurtful outcomes of “ the good-old-days”.I wonder how the blessings of time might hold valuable direction for us today. The “good-old-days” can beckon us to consider how a legacy of American values can be more fully applied to all Americans today; “to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God”. (Micah 6:8)