Micah, AZ SB 1070, Obama, and me
Recently, I felt like I should read the book of Micah. I wasn’t sure why — I’m still not totally sure — but I figured that even if the Holy Spirit was not specifically directing me to, it’s still the Word of God, from which I may glean His truth and become better-acquainted with His voice and His way.
This morning, though, as I sat down to journal about the passages that had stuck out to me, I saw a bit of a pattern.
In chapter 3, verses 5-8, the nation of Israel was going astray, even her government and most of her prophets. But, Micah says in verse 8,
“On the other hand, I am filled with power — with the Spirit of the Lord — and with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel in his sin.”
I felt like God was saying to me that even when the government goes astray, true prophets can speak to the heart of the people. In other words, even in times like these — ESPECIALLY in times like these — it’s important for the Church at large, and for those individuals who are seeking His heart, to keep an ear out for what He’s saying. A Godly government is important, but God will still make Himself know to His own, even when the people at large and the leadership — even some of the spiritual leadership — aren’t letting themselves be led by Him.
Indeed, in 4:5, it says,
“Though all the people walk each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”
That brought to my memory, being a child, and my mother telling me countless times, “I don’t care what so-and-so’s mother lets her do, you may not.” At the time, it seemed logical that if the majority could (especially if the majority included my best friend, the pastor’s daughter*) it followed that I should be able to, as well. But, the majority is not what governed my mother’s decisions for me (nor I, now, for my own children), and that’s not how God leads His own.
Here and elsewhere in Micah, God is repeatedly calling out to the remnant, to the minority, to set themselves apart fully unto Him, and to be gathered by Him, unto Him.
Micah 6:6-8 describes how the heart of God is not that we should apologize prolifically; He’d rather we do right in the first place.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (emphasis mine)
Typically, in these days, Republicans are good at justice, and Democrats at mercy. Our God has 100% of both. He has the justice, in which He commands me to act. He has the mercy, which He loves and calls me to love, too. And in my justice and mercy, he calls me to walk humbly.
He is the anti-grandstanding, anti-polarization God.
My salvation does not come from my political party, nor from the governors of my state or country. My God is my God, and He is my salvation — not just the salvation that translated me from death into life, but in my every minute, in my every need.
Micah 7:7-8 reads:
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall, I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.”
And, no, I don’t think God is calling me into detachment from the affairs of the world. I think Godly men and women are vital to the process of American government at every level. But, I find myself less willing to say, “Oh, yes! I wholeheartedly support…” or, “I am completely disgusted by…” one political notion or another.
Do I support immigration reform, and specifically the Arizona Senate Bill 1070 which has brought the nation to an uproar, with my Facebook friends right and left joining one group or another, for or against, inviting me to do similarly?? I don’t know. Our nation is a nation of immigrants, and the more I study American history, the more I’m struck with how greatly we have struggled — from at least the 1840s onward — with the “oldcomers” vs the “newcomers.” It’s a scene that has played and replayed repeatedly throughout the course of our history, and seeing history now repeating itself for the umpteenth time, I find myself loathe to close the door on immigrants.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
I do think that this is what America should be about!! And, I find myself unwilling to resent anyone who comes to America — even illegally — yearning for a better life. Wouldn’t YOU struggle across a desert or row for miles in a tiny rowboat if you had even a slim chance at keeping your family from starvation and political persecution?? I would.
On the other hand, I know that there are a number of very sound, just arguments against illegal immigration. (Although I am less swayed by the ones that are economically-based, as most immigrants are extremely hard-working and for the last couple of centuries have willingly thrown themselves into the grunt-work that we “oldcomers” are less willing to do, and generally GIVE into the economy much more than they extract.)
Yet, the law is the law, and once it is established, I also find myself unwilling to think unkindly towards sheriffs who do their darndest to get folks to obey the law!! I’m not a giant fan of Sheriff Arpaio, and I sure hope he does not run for governor, because I think he would make an AWFUL governor. However, I think he is profoundly effective as a sheriff, though his own grandstanding and publicity-seeking grates on me.
I think similarly towards our President. I am not a fan. However, I find myself challenging even my own criticisms of him, because, all cynicism aside, I do think he is doing what he thinks is right for our country at large, and for its individual citizens. I think that perhaps he sees himself as a Teddy Roosevelt/savior-of-the-downtrodden type. And, though I don’t agree with his methods, and I don’t agree with 98% of his apparent beliefs and theories, it’s hard for me to hate him, as I think his heart may truly be in the right place — or at least, he’s attempting for it to be there: he’s trying to make things right for the overlooked. Personally, I think that’s the job of the Church, not the government, but if the Church isn’t doing its job, but relegating it to the government with a huge sigh of relief… well, what’s a President to do????
*How I love you, Lori!!