Monday, October 15, 2018

From Rubble to Riesling…Concrete to Champagne…Mess to Merlot

This past Sunday I preached on the book of Micah—a prophetic book about the destruction of Samaria and Jerusalem. It’s a hard book to read, full of devastation, suffering, and hardship, but also full of hope. After three chapters of impending doom, chapters four and five offer the promise that one day God will right all wrongs and bring about his ultimate redemption.

God doesn’t bring calamity and disaster just for the sake of being cruel. God is always interested in the restoration of all things.

I didn’t mention it in my sermon, but there’s a strange verse in chapter one that seems to make this point. Micah 1:6 begins, “Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards.” And then Micah proceeds to explain this destruction in further detail. So, at first glance, this line about planting vineyards doesn’t seem to fit with the overall story of judgment. What does ‘planting vineyards’ have to do with anything? Why would God bother to share these words through the prophet Micah?

I think it’s because destruction and judgment is never the point. Restoration and renewal is always the point.

Even in the midst of this diatribe about devastation, calamity, and being hauled off to exile, Micah offers us a hint of restoration: this tearing down process is going to make room for new growth. The heap of rubble will make space and fertile ground for a vineyard to rise up in its place. It actually sounds really nice: less concrete and more wine.

While it can too often be taken out of context—essentially that God will make everything good for Christians—I love Paul’s words to the Romans, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” When you face struggle, pain, and suffering, take heart that God is with you and is working to bring about goodness from your grief. It may take time, but God loves you and is actively working on your behalf.

So, as we endure our own personal devastation, calamity, and ‘heaps of rubble,’ may we hold hope that our God is One who takes those places of destruction and transforms them into places of beauty. May we have eyes to see the restorative work of God in all circumstances—even in the midst of pain and suffering. And may we not lose sight of God’s presence and activity in the midst of our seasons of struggle.

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