One of the strongest influences in my life came from my father. Dad was a farmer and worked hard from sunrise to sunset each day. I guess you could really call him a gentleman farmer as he was well educated attending both Defiance College and Bowling Green State University. He loved to engage in vigorous discussions especially about politics, current events and history.
My earliest memories as a child were of my grandfather and father having lively debates over political issues of the day. However, one thing that stood out was my father's unswerving devotion to honesty and truth. He was not afraid to stand up for what was right no matter what others said. He was outspoken on many occasions when others shrank from speaking the truth, and not only did he speak it, he lived it before our family.
Our country has been caught up in many issues of late that seem to divide people even as I write this. There are many promises made and many slippery words spoken daily to gain favor with one group or another. But the thing which will stand through all of this is God's Word which is the truth! And what does He call EVERY believer to do? Read Micah 6:7-8: "Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
If we look at the verses that come before these, we see that Micah is recalling what the Lord has done for Israel. He is trying to show the people that it is absurd to depend on empty ritual and sacrifice to gain divine favor when in their hearts they don't mean it. Israel is not being truthful with themselves or with God. They don't understand that God's grace is free...not earned. They also do not understand that their end of the covenant with the Lord meant that they are to show
justice and mercy to their fellow man and not just perform their liturgy.
How does this apply to us? Are we willing to put ourselves on the line for the Lord? Are we willing to speak the truth when it isn't popular to do so? Or do we hide our commitment to Christ so we don't say something that might be politically incorrect? These are hard things to think about but we need to examine ourselves.
I have always been troubled by public office holders or "want-to-be" office holders who proclaim they are a Christian but say and do things which are contrary to the Word of God. The Lord tells us to let our "yes be yes and our no be no". So this issue goes to the heart of where we are with God.
We need to walk in justice and truth with our fellow man as well as with God. We need to have hearts of mercy for those who need the love of Jesus Christ and we certainly must walk humbly before the Lord. God has spelled it out for us. Our faith, our beliefs mean little unless we live what we believe and are unafraid to take a stand for God. We live in evil days and are often asked to compromise our ideals for the sake of "getting along and not rocking the boat." However, the man and woman of God cannot fall into that trap. We must stand strong in the Lord and not fear what men may think of us. After all, He will give us the words to say and the right time to say them if we abide in Him. May we have the courage to stand for our convictions so we will not fall for empty religion. Selah!