In 2016, British citizens were riveted by a political drama worthy of Shakespeare. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, leaving his Conservative Party in need of choosing his successor. Cameron’s antagonist Boris Johnson was considered a frontrunner for the post, with influential supporters including Justice Secretary Michael Gove. But hours before the deadline to declare candidacy, a shocking announcement upset expectations: Gove withdrew his support for Johnson and said that he himself would seek the position.
Is God a reliable ally? Whose side is He on? On the one hand, in the book of Micah (and elsewhere in the Minor Prophets), God plays the role of witness for the prosecution, prosecuting attorney, and sentencing judge. He brings charges against His people, declares their betrayal of His covenant, and finds them guilty of their crimes. On the other, He is the defense attorney, pleading Israel’s case, and the judge, who hands down acquittal. Though Israel is guilty of idolatry, oppression, greed, and sexual license, though she will be punished for her sins, God will not stay angry forever but “delight to show mercy” (7:18). Who is this God? Micah asks. What God is like you?
We know God’s character because He revealed Himself through history, and Micah asks his hearers to remember. Remember Egypt—when you were delivered from slavery by God’s mighty hand. Remember Balaam—the prophet hired by Balak, the powerful king of Moab, to curse you; he could do nothing but bless. Remember Shittim—where you fell into sexual immorality right on the heels of Balak’s smear campaign. Remember Gilgal—where you crossed the dry riverbed of the Jordan, observed the first Passover meal in forty years, and praised your Deliverer. Remember your unfaithfulness and God’s steadfast love.
Who is a God like you? It’s a question relevant for us too. Compared to all other world religions, Christianity is distinctive for its emphasis on grace. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love, nothing we can do to lose it. This grace doesn’t give us license to sin, but it indebts us further to fierce loyalty and love of our God.