Read Micah 3
Focus on verse 2
I can think of a few places were upside down is desirable – pineapple upside down cake is just one of them! There are many other places where upside down is really not helpful – like when driving a vehicle or carrying battery acid. There are also some places where upside down is just really confusing. One of these places is in the realm of ideas.
In today’s reading Micah graphically describes the moral state of the nation of Israel as follows:
…you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones, (v. 2)
When good is bad and bad is good, morality is upside down! When morality is upside down, humanity suffers. People suffer because honesty and truth lose their value in a morally upside down society. People suffer when pride and greed replace humility and generosity because the powerful begin to use their power to increase their advantage over the weak instead of using it to protect and care for the weak. They may not literally “tear the skin off of people” but the result is no less painful.
The world that Jesus Christ was born into was such a world, where the powerful used their power to further oppress the powerless. The worldview that Jesus introduced seemed upside down compared to the culture He lived in, but in reality what Jesus was doing was offering people a view of what a right side up worldview actually looked like.
True Christianity is decidedly counter-cultural in nearly every respect. The reason American Christianity is not seen as clearly counter cultural as Jesus was is because much of what we call Christianity in America has little to do with Christ, and more to do with justifying our pride and selfishness. This scathing rebuke that Micah wrote is directed not at the godless nations around Israel, but the religious leaders of Israel. As to whether it is a suitable rebuke for the church in America? Perhaps an honest self-evaluation would be appropriate. While it may not be possible for us to change the world-view of the entire church of North America, it may also not necessary for us to do that. All that is needed is for each of us to examine our own world-view and, as they say, “If the shoe fits – wear it”.
Revival begins in the heart and mind of only one individual, that individual is that one who looks back at us in the mirror. I can’t change your world-view to look more like that of Jesus, but you can… just as I can change mine. The most important step we take with this is the step between “can” and “do”. I can allow God to change my heart, you can allow God to change your heart, but until we actually step out in faith to initiate the action and “do it”, it remains little more than good intentions. All it takes to begin turning our upside down world right side up is one small step of faith.