Journey to the Manger: Micah

Lauren hold up the Red Light sign that holds the prophet Micah's message to the people of his day: Stop doing bad things!

Lauren holds up the Red Light sign that includes the prophet Micah’s message to the people of his day: Stop doing bad things!

Today we met Micah the prophet on our Journey to the Manger.

Micah the prophet

Micah the prophet

Micah had a difficult message from God for the Israelite people. His nation was very near to being overrun by another kingdom because the Israelites had turned away from God. They were doing bad things, treating each other with disrespect and ignoring God’s laws. Micah pleaded with the people to repent of their sins and turn to God. Though the people continued to sin, God still showed His people great mercy. Through Micah, God shared His plan to one day restore Israel through the coming Messiah, who would be born in Bethlehem.

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, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

– Micah 5:2

The kids and I played Red Light Green Light to reinforce Micah’s message to the people. Each time we turned to the red side, we said, “Stop doing bad!” When we switched to the green side we called out, “Start doing good!” If a person didn’t stop right away, we chose to be merciful, just as God is with us. After a few turns, Jackson and Lauren got into a fight about who would hold the stick, with both kids yelling and shoving. After a separation time out, the Red Light Green Light game became personal. Both children knew they needed to stop doing bad and start doing good. Both prayed for God’s forgiveness and mercy, and then apologized to each other.

God’s mercy is great and His love, unending. God longs for us to turn away from our sins and follow Him. He delays punishment so we have an opportunity to repent. God loves us in the midst of our sin, and just like the Israelites, God gives us hope when we don’t deserve it. Jesus didn’t come because we had it all together. He came because we needed Him desperately.

Jackson works on his puzzle page for Day 4 of Journey to the Manger.

Jackson works on his puzzle page for Day 4 of Journey to the Manger.

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.

Thankful: God is the lawgiver

When He finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God.

– Exodus 31:18

Today I am thankful that God is the lawgiver.

When God set apart and called out the Israelites as His own special possession, it was God who established their laws. God redefined their way of life and methods of worship. He became their center, and their success, survival and satisfaction radiated out from God’s presence.

God led the people to Mount Sinai, where He literally spoke His commands for all to hear. Exodus 20:18 records, “All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance.” God’s awesome power was overwhelming to the people, and so Moses went alone up the mountain, where God personally met with him and gave His law.

God is our ultimate authority. He IS truth, and is the only One worthy to establish justice and order. Man’s rules will always have weaknesses because we are imperfect. God is holy and without blemish. His standards highlight our need for Him.

I may not always like God’s rules. I may not understand His commands. I might struggle with how to live out His instructions in a culture that has drifted so far from God’s standard. But, I am not God! I did not create the universe. I did not send my Son to redeem mankind. I do not determine eternity. My agreement with God’s laws has nothing to do with it. HE is God. He sets the rules. I am to obey.

My life is not determined by those around me. My life is found in Jesus Christ. He is both the lawgiver and the fulfillment of the law. I will choose to trust and follow Him.