Meet Micah, contract lawyer…
“Hear what the Lord says:
Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.
Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
and you enduring foundations of the earth;
for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
and he will contend with Israel.
“O my people, what have I done to you?
In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.
O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”
What God Requires
“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
When looking into Micah, I came across the ‘covenant lawsuit’ (Micah 6.1-8) where God sues Israel for breach of contract. The people have violated the covenant they had with God. If Micah is representing God and presenting his case then he’s not just a prophet, he’s a lawyer…
Lawyers sometimes hold a strange position in the public imagination. On the one hand they are respected professionals with access to levers of power, but on the other hand - like politicians and journalists - they are often treated with suspicion or made the butt of the joke.
Part of this is a healthy tongue in cheek disrespect of authority figures but there’s also an underlying wariness of those in society who wade into the grey areas and have to make difficult judgement calls. Sometimes there is no easy road and yet they walk it for us. The services they offer are vital for a well functioning society, but as they ask individuals to negotiate conflict, compromise and complexity there is the fear that self-interest or ego will take over.
I’ve found it useful to think about prophets as lawyers - people with a certain status, who are listened to but sometimes distrusted, who have to walk a difficult line. They are people who speak uncomfortable truths, who can challenge power structures and shift public opinion. Their calling requires personal conviction but also the ability to withhold personal judgement.
So as we think about the lawyer Micah, let’s remember all those called professionally to be Complex Characters - those who try to resolve disputes, hold power to account and negotiate peace.
hold me secure,
as I try to say as you say
tell as you tell
shout as you shout
whisper as you whisper.