January 22 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 4-6; Matthew 14:22-36
You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
READ MICAH 7:18–20
“In moments where tragedy happens or even hurt, there are opportunities to demonstrate grace or to exact vengeance,” the recently bereaved man remarked. “I chose to demonstrate grace.” Pastor Erik Fitzgerald’s wife had been killed in a car accident caused by an exhausted firefighter who fell asleep while driving home, and legal prosecutors wanted to know whether he would seek the maximum sentence. The pastor chose to practice the forgiveness he often preached about. To the surprise of both him and the firefighter, the men eventually became friends.
Pastor Erik was living out of the grace he’d received from God, who’d forgiven him all of his sins. Through his actions he echoed the words of the prophet Micah, who praised God for pardoning sin and forgiving when we do wrong (Micah 7:18). The prophet uses wonderfully visual language to show just how far God goes in forgiving His people, saying that He will “tread our sins underfoot” and hurl our wrongdoings into the deep sea (v. 19). The firefighter received a gift of freedom that day, which brought him closer to God.
Whatever difficulty we face, we know that God reaches out to us with loving, open arms, welcoming us into His safe embrace. He “delights to show mercy” (v. 18). As we receive His love and grace, He gives us the strength to forgive those who hurt us—even as Pastor Erik did.
By Amy Boucher Pye
REFLECT & PRAY
Father God, You love us without ceasing, and You delight to forgive us when we return to You. Envelop us with Your love, that we might demonstrate grace to those who hurt us.
How do you respond to this story of amazing forgiveness? Can you think of someone you need to forgive? If so, ask God to help you.
The prophet Micah declares, “What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8). However, Israel had not lived up to those requirements. In chapter 7, the author reviews the nation’s grim prospects because of their disobedience (vv. 1-6). But verse 7 of this final chapter signals a sudden change in tone, and the book’s last thirteen verses comprise a surprisingly triumphant hymn. Why is it triumphant? Because the prophet praises God’s character. Despite all the harsh (and deserved) pronouncements of judgment, God will be true to His word. He will redeem His people. And so Micah asks, “Who is a God like you?” (v. 18). Israel’s loving God will keep His covenant as He “pledged on oath . . . in days long ago” (v. 20). Tim Gustafson