Die to Resurrect

Psalm 98; Micah 7:7–9, 18–20; 1 Timothy 6:11–20 (read online ⧉)

Micah’s unwavering loyalty and trust in God can be hard to swallow for many. Micah believes that he can wait for and trust in God.

What is fascinating with Micah’s words is that he admonishes his enemy who is gloating over Micah’s fallen state. Micah doesn’t defend himself. In fact, he openly and forthrightly acknowledges that he has sinned against God. What a fantastic pattern that we should all follow! When we hide our sins in the dark, they can fester and rot deep within us. Yet, when we shine the light on them, they cease to rot. The consequences may be awful and shameful, but the light cleanses them.

Micah owned his transgressions. Micah owned the consequences.

Micah believed that God would redeem and rescue him. He had decided to wait upon God’s timing for his restoration. That is often courageous for us when we are in the midst of trials and tribulations. Micah was in the middle of them, too.

The redemptive expectation that Micah had of God was immense. He understood that God’s grace and mercy were beyond comprehension. In addition to his own redemption, he looked to the redemption of his people…of God’s people. Micah understood that the people were far off from God. Micah also understood that God’s faithful and unfailing love was always waiting to Resurrect the repentant heart.

While the Jews had the Law to define the particulars of their holy calling, gentiles (non-Jews) still had the Imago Dei (the Image of God) in them telling them deep down what they were doing was not in line with the Creator of the universe, even when they didn’t understand. Hence that is why Paul talks to Timothy about fleeing from much of what is common to the temptation of humankind. Timothy was both Greek and Jew (thus dirty to both “sides” of the family). He probably has some awareness of the Jewish Law, but he would have also been quite familiar with what was common (and considered acceptable) in Greek/Roman circles.

Thus Paul was calling Timothy to something greater than either bloodline or culture. He was calling Timothy to Jesus Christ. When Paul recalls Timothy’s “good” confession. Instead of confession, a better (and longer) way of saying it would be a strong, firm, public declaration of allegiance. Timothy had (effectively) declared that Jesus Christ was more important than all of that, and Paul was holding him to it. Timothy, as the “successor” to Paul and a leader in his own right, was to hold on tight to what he “confessed” he believed, and to not let others draw him away.

Paul reminded Timothy that all that was going on now was in preparation and was before the age to come, the age of Resurrection. The underlying truth being that if Timothy let go of the faith in the here and now, the age of Resurrection might very well not come to him.

Timothy may not have had the depths of pain that Micah did, though it’s likely that his heart was broken at the (martyr’s) death of Paul and other Christians. For Timothy, the Resurrection life held hope in the midst of pain. The Resurrection life that Micah was expect was, without question, different in scope than Timothy was expecting. Both, however, were dependent upon a relationship with God.

God, may we continue to place our sins and failures before you in hopeful expectation, not to avoid the consequences of our actions, but to restore and maintain right relationship with you. May your father’s heart continue to be gracious to us. May the sacrifice of you, Jesus, continue to remind us of the cost, drawing us closer to you through the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

1) How do you balance the fear of and concern for punishing or consequences with hope and faith with God?

2) The life of a Christian is full of many little deaths. What is the latest death that you have experienced that has drawn you (or is drawing you) closer to God?

3) There is an old saying that a coward dies a thousand deaths, and a hero only one. What is the difference between that and the deaths that a Christian experiences?