Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Arrogance, by Hans Holbein the Younger, c.1530
For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.
— Micah 1:3-4
During a time of arrogant self-indulgence in Israel Micah comes forth as the voice of the oppressed, railing against injustice and inequality. In a similar way to Amos, he is also the voice of integrity, calling out the false piety of the wealthy, who through self-exaltation have abandoned God, keeping only a facade of worship while serving only themselves. Micah's sermons reproach unjust leaders, and speaks up for the rights of the poor against the rich and powerful. Micah is also future-facing, prophesying a world at peace, a kingdom of God, fair, just and kind.
Micah begins his ministry with this image of a mighty God flattening the high places of the earth, perhaps a metaphor for the self-exalted, the rulers and ministers inflated by their self-appointed powers, or perhaps a literal description of what God is capable of—and such a God who can melt a mountain can surely melt the hardened hearts of men.
Arrogance is perhaps one of the easiest sins to fall into. We work hard, we deserve to have what we have gained—including the power that comes with wealth; if you don't have much it is because you are lazy; why should I share? And then to turn away from the needy towards the people like oneself, creating walls, narrowing the view. We can justify such behaviour easily, but slowly and surely we lose our connection to God. We lose it because God is God of all, not just of our group, so to connect with God is to embrace the other, those people not like us. Micah came to remind the people of Israel of their duty to God. His message is as valid today as it was then. There is much in the book of Micah to bring us to our senses in this time of division.