Employing the name of the long-running television drama, lawyers commonly refer to it as a “Perry Mason moment”: Just as a legal case appears to conclude, a lawyer turns and dramatically calls a surprise witness, drawing gasps from the courtroom. Once on the stand, the witness’s testimony then reverses the expected outcome.
In Micah 6, the prophet presents an ancient version of the Perry Mason moment—but with a twist. Much of the book has focused on laying out God’s complaint against Israel, which has grown to “hate good and love evil” (3:1–2).
But then Micah calls—gasp!— the mountains, the hills, and the “everlasting foundations of the earth” not as witnesses but as judges to hear the Lord’s “case against his people” (vv. 1–2). In the presence of the earth, which Israel has repeatedly pillaged and profaned, the people of God are deprived of the fig leaf of deniability. Their sin is laid bare. As with Cain, the ground itself calls sin to account (see Gen. 4:8–12).
To speak of the earth in such terms could be dismissed as simply prophetic whimsy or a figurative flourish. And yet it expresses a significant theological truth. Even as human beings stand at the center of God’s care, that care also includes the rest of creation (see Gen. 1:28; Lev. 25:1–7; Rom. 8:19–22).
Human beings have a right to use the goods of creation within reason. But as we do so, we must exhibit justice, mercy, and humility (v. 8), remembering that God loves His creation. Therefore, we never have a right to abuse, pillage, or profane them. If we fail to recognize this, we should fear that the rocks themselves will cry out in our own Perry Mason moment.
How can you steward God’s creation as an act of spiritual obedience? Ideas include cultivating a vegetable or herb garden, perhaps with a harvest to share with neighbors; participating in recycling efforts; and endeavoring not to waste resources such as food or water. Remember that you are worshiping the Creator by acts of justice and mercy.