Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Micah lived in a world of turmoil. War, bandit raids, famine, invasion defined the years. The Jewish family was split between a decandent and idolatrous north an the unpredicatble south that wavered between rejection of God and half-hearted attempts at revival. There were glimmers of faith but an overwhelming sense of gloom. There were long enough gaps between disaster that prosperity was felt by a few. But even this was at a severe cost. The growing distance between wealth and poverty created more divisions and hard feelings. Those with means padded their security by seizing the meager holdings of the poor. The community shattered. Those in a position to oppose the injustice balked at the challenge and even participated in the abuse.

The threat of war loomed from the north. Syria was being pressed by Assyria around the corner of the fertile crescent. Syria and Ephraim sought the alliance of Judah to defend against the coming invasion of Assyria. But Ahab of Judah recognized the might of Assyria and buckeled. Against his brothers he brokered a deal with the Assyrian hoard by surrendering the holy implements of the temple. Shrewd but soaked in sin.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Indciting Leaders

When is it time to indict leaders?

Micah indicted both the civil and religious leaders of his day. He accused the civil leaders of consuming the people. He accused the religious leaders of altering their message to obtain money.

We are often too quick to critisize those in leadership. It is too easy to do. It is the national past time. It drips of cynisism and does nothing to help any situation. Our leaders fear our disdain. They are paralyzed from doing anthing because any attempt they make is met with vitriol. But it makes interesting news. It is easy to make fun of.

Micah preached against greed

Greed is too close to ambition. Ambition is a protestant virtue. It is very difficult to separate an ambitious businessman from a greedy one.

No one knows when prices are excessive or when they are merely reflecting supply and demand realities.

No one knows when a salary is fair or obscene (executives, professional sports, celebrities).

No one knows when an interest rate is usuary or a reasonable return on risk.

No one knows when wages paid are fair or modern day slavery.

We can't preach against greed because we don't know what it is!