Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What Does the Lord Require? by James Howell

Which of us hasn't asked at some time, “What does God want from me?” An obscure prophet wrote an answer to that question thousands of years ago, recorded in Micah 6:8.
in this brief book, Howell explores who Micah was, what was going on when he wrote, what his listeners received from him, what we are to receive, who this God is to require these actions, and what this behavior might look like.
Micah in Hebrew is an exclamation, “Who is like the Lord?” He was from a small village southwest of Jerusalem. He and his family had to flee to Jerusalem for safety when Sennacherib invaded Judah. He became a critic of the government, whose foolish ways had brought the invasion. He boldly denounced the leaders. But he was even more bold in hope.
Micah creates an imaginary trial. God presents His charges and mounds of evidence. The verdict is “guilty.” What is the sentence? What does God require? Howell notes that “require” or daras is Hebrew, includes a sense of seeking. It is personal.
The question is almost absurd. What could we possibly give God He does not already have?
Yet we find it is not what God requires, but who. He wants us, the way He created us to be.
God does not leave us guessing. He has shown us what is good. Three things, yet one as they all work together.
Howell explains what it means to live a life of justice. His description surprised me! (It involves advocacy, not punishment.) He next looks at ahavat hesed, loyal and tender love as a way of life. Last is being attentive to humility.

This slim volume is valuable. The text comprises 57 pages. The next 20 pages is a four session study guide with tips and very good instructions for leaders. This would be a perfect study for someone who has never led a group study before. The instructions are so good, this would be a pleasant experience for the novice leader.

Westminster John Knox Press, 88 pages.

I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. 

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