Courtroom dramas:- Accused, The Brief, The Courtroom, Criminal Justice, Crown Court, Judge John Deed, Kavanagh QC, Rumpole of the Bailey, The Verdict.
Silent witnesses, v1f (Skiddaw watching over Keswick, Matterhorn over Zermatt, Mount of Olives over Jerusalem)
1. Listen, vv1-2
‘Listen to what the Lord says…hear…the Lord’s accusation…listen…for the Lord has a case against his people.’
Jerusalem’s magistrates are crooks, her prophets men-pleasers, her priests money-grabbers, her rich people lovers of violence and her merchants liars and cheats.
Not merely an accusation, but an appeal:- v3 – “my people”. It’s not just rules they have broken, but a relationship.
We must listen too, for God has spoken:-
- universally: ‘He has not left himself without testimony’, Acts 14:17.
- decisively: ‘In these last days he has spoken to us by a Son’, Heb 1:1.
- to the churches: ‘Hear what the Spirit says to the churches’, Rev 2:11.
No judge more just, no father more wise, no husband more loving. Therefore, let us listen to him.
2. Remember, vv3-5
V3 – perhaps the fault is on God’s side?
- I rescued you when you were in slavery, 4a
- I sent wise and gifted leaders, 4b
- I protected you when you were in danger, 5a
- I brought safely to the Promised Land, 5b
Anything more recent? (N.B. the passing of time makes no difference to some things.)
We can update the list:-
- Jesus has died, and therefore the burden of our sins has been lifted;
- Jesus is risen, and therefore the life of the world to come has begun already;
- Jesus is ascended, and therefore reigns over all;
- Jesus is interceding at God’s right hand, and therefore can keep us from falling;
- Jesus will come again, and therefore life has a purpose and a goal.
The Lord’s Supper – ‘remembrance…until he comes’, 1 Cor 11:25f.
How can they – how can we – claim that the fault is on God’s side?
3. Quit, vv6-7
Voice of a would-be worshipper. Increasingly extravagant offerings:-
- Burnt offerings, 6b
- Calves year old, 6c
- Thousands of rams, 7a
- Ten thousand rivers of oil, 7b
- My firstborn, 7c
Like an unfaithful husband offering money to his distraught wife: “There – now are you satisfied?”
Mt 23:23 – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Quit any thought of putting yourself in the right with God.
4. Walk, v8
“He has showed you what is good”
To ‘act justly’ is to conduct our lives with honesty, fairness and integrity.
To ‘love mercy’ is to give, where no giving is required, to act when no action is deserved. To ‘love kindness’ is to look on the weak and vulnerable with the eyes of God’s love and give them not what they deserve, but what they need. (Craigie)
To ‘walk humbly before your God’ is to walk carefully, or circumspectly before him.
This is addressed to God’s people, a redeemed people. V4 comes before v8. ‘Love so amazing, so divine (v4) demands my soul, my life, my all (v8)’. Grace first, then gratitude.
Exodus 20:2 – “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Eph 2:9 – ‘By grace you have been saved, through faith, it is the gift of God – not because of works…For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand for us to do.’
Making sure we all know the good things that are happening at Trinity.
Luke 10:2 – “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”