We quote the passage about God giving us angels to protect us and to keep us from even dashing our foot against a stone--and with good reason. It's an important promise in the Bible. And yet, in Micah 3:9-12, the prophet rips apart the Jewish leaders--political and religious--for making the same claims of depending on the Lord for protection. Why the contrast and what are the implications for us today?
Micah was condemning the leaders of Jerusalem because despite the fact that they said they were depending on God, in fact, they were depending on the money that lined their pockets for doing the work they were called to do--ruling the people, teaching God's ways and prophesying. They meted justice only when the price was right, twisted what was right for a cost and were building the nation's foundation on corruption. Despite these ungodly ways, they assumed that God was with them because they were his people. The consequences? Jerusalem would be reduced to rubble.
Perhaps most of us reading this are not leaders of any sort and yet, as part of the Body of Christ (if indeed you are), how guilty are we of the same thing? How often do we assume God is with us just because we claim to be Christians? How often do we assume that no harm will come to us because we belong to Jesus Christ? Remember Jesus telling the crowds that many will say, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?"
Jesus said in the verse before, "...only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" will enter the kingdom of heaven and tells the people that he will tell those who protest that they did much for God in Jesus' name, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Matthew 7:21-23 NIV
"Only he who does the will of my Father." The leaders in Micah's day were not, even though they were doing all the right stuff--leading, teaching, prophesying. For them, it was just form and ritual. It was about entitlement because they were children of the Promise. They were living in presumption of favour because of their name, rather than choosing to pursue God's will.
What about each of us? Are we also living in presumption? Do we say, "Because I said the Sinner's Prayer..." or "Because I've been baptised..." or "Because I grew up in a Christian home..." or "Because I go to church regularly and give tithes and offerings and teach Sunday School and am part of the worship band...I am depending on God so no harm can come to me"?
There are consequences for such thinking. In Micha's day, the consequences predicted were that Jerusalem would be reduced to rubble. In Jesus' day, and now, the consequences promised by Jesus are that we will not get to enter the kingdom of heaven. Sobering thoughts.