Sometimes the Lord declares. Sometimes The Almighty thunders truths punctuated with an exclamation point. Many times He promises and swears oaths. On occasion, when God wishes to impact us…He sends some questions our way. In rare but unavoidable moments He demands answers from us.
“O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me!” – Micah 6:3
It should astound us that these words are not from some earthly king who sometimes acts rightly towards his subjects and other times in indifference to them. This question doesn’t proceed from some fickle monarch who takes delight in depriving his citizens of what they truly need. The One demanding an answer in this passage is a Father who chooses the children He adopts, removes their enemy status, seats them at His table after providing them a cleansing from their former wandering a in the wilderness and then stoops to speak immeasurable promise to them as the apples of His eye. These are the incredulous, if not saddened, words of your God who has asked others (and asks us now) concerning the ease with which we stray from Him.
“What have I done to you?” – You have bought us. You have rescued us. You have continued with us in constant patience. You have written our names in Your book of life. You have cast down the enemy who once enslaved us. You have soothed our fears and tamed our rebellious impulses. You have caused us to see Your beauty. You have empowered us to understand that Your grace exceeds our sin. You have granted us repentance and given us a new name. You have bled for us. You have risen for us. You have spoken to us. You have instilled in us the great thirst for Your return. You, O God, have made us Your own.
“How have I wearied you?” – We are unjustly wearied, O God. We have grown tired of divine delays. We have hewn out broken cisterns filled with brackish waters because Your refreshment was not quick enough for our hasty hearts. We could not wait on Your treasures so we indulged our own pleasures. We have not enjoyed faith, self-denial, steadfastness, humility, waiting, believing nor abiding. You have not wearied us – we have wearied ourselves because we have believed Your ways to be inferior to our own. We are capable people, proud children of Adam, educated and sophisticated and often adulterated. Our hungers cannot be denied so we have learned to provide feasts of wax fruit which may not satisfy our souls but certainly they fool our eyes. We confess our weariness of You each and every time we defy Your goodness and deny Your truth. Self-willed? We cannot hide this. Impatient with Your plans? Most days, yes. Wise in our own eyes? Need You even ask us this? Now, when we have acted from our haste we find that the pleasures of empty promises fade and we cannot deny that we are wearied. It is not you, God. We have brought ourselves to this spiritual cul-de-sac and shuddered that You will not bless us here.
“Answer Me!” – With what shall we answer You, O God? What answer could we give You? Your questions silence us and we instantly know that we have no answer. Isaiah covered his own lips when he knew that his sin was exposed. Peter requested that You leave him alone when he understood his unworthiness. The anonymous tax collector beat his chest and called out to You for mercy because he understood that You were good and that he was not. You know that Your children have no answers when they stray. You have asked the impossible question of us. It is You who must provide the answer. That answer for these indictments is the answer for all of your holy verdicts against us: there is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Should we look within we would be returning to the very tomb from which you have called us. If we sought to work off our guilt we would be painting a black canvas with blacker paint. O God, our only answer is that You have made us accepted in the Beloved, complete in Christ and new creations via Your relentless grace and lavish provision. We cannot even hazard a pledge to You that we have now learned our lesson and will never stray again. I acknowledge, rather, that I am certain that I again will turn my eyes from You and it will not be long that You will need to ask me again these very same questions. You, the questioner, are also the lone answer. Our mouths are closed as our hearts are convicted. We have no other response but You.
In this we stand and, when we are wise to recall it to mind, we learn afresh that we are not able to be weary with you for You alone are our hope and lasting joy.