–By Elizabeth Ahlman
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old (Micah 7:18-20 ESV).
Micah says it all. Yahweh is righteous and almighty. He is perfect and unchanging. His love and mercy are ever before us as He delights in showing it to us and in having compassion and forgiving trespasses. He crushes our sins beneath His feet so that they may no longer accuse us.
But often we do not believe or confess this God like no other. Instead, we make gods of our own. Our sins stack up and up and up. From the sin of gluttony (food becomes god) to the sin of lust (pleasure becomes god) to the sin of anger (self-righteousness becomes god), our sins and the false gods they create pile up, condemning us to the deepest reaches of the true God’s righteous anger. And when faced with our ugly selves and the truth that we are so incredibly outside of God’s perfect will, our self-made gods crumble. They have no more to offer us. With the Prodigal son from this week’s Gospel lesson, we sit in the mud and debris of our own making and long for someone, anyone, to hand us a morsel of, well, anything. We long for someone to show us a god who isn’t inadequate or false or dead.
And then, Micah reminds us, there is a God like no other. There is one true God, and He pulls us out of the mud and the debris. He sends His Son to die the death we deserve for all of our false gods, and Jesus makes us to be the remnant which receives God’s steadfast love and forgiveness. He crushes our sins under His nail-pierced feet by carrying them upon His own scarred back. He buries them in the depths of the sea of His sacrifice on our behalf. We can rhetorically ask with Micah, “Who is a God like You” and know that the answer is no one. He is our God and we who live in His love, mercy and forgiveness know that there is none other like Him.
Let us Pray: Heavenly Father, You are the One True God, help us ever to confess You as our Lord and God and keep us from false gods of our own making so that we may live in the grace and mercy won for us by Your Son; though Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.