God's Controversy with Israel
Micah 6:1-3
Hear you now what the LORD said; Arise, contend you before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.…

In this text we have God offering to plead before the sinner. The parties, who are they? On the one part, the Lord of universal nature. On the other part, man, Israel, the Church. The manner of pleading this cause. Who can coolly hear this language? At the sound of these words conscience takes fright. The matter of controversy is, the whole conduct of man to God, and the whole conduct of God to man.

I. HEAR WHAT COMPLAINTS MAN HAS TO BRING AGAINST GOD, AND WHAT, GOD HAS TO ANSWER. That a creature should complain of his Creator should seem a paradox. We are apt to complain of God on three accounts: His law seems too severe, His temporal favours too small, and His judgments too rigorous.

1. Are not the laws of God just in themselves. What is the design of those laws? Is it not to make you as happy as possible? Are not those laws infinitely proper to make you happy in this world? And doth not God exemplify these laws Himself? What does God require of you, but to endeavour to please Him?

2. Complaints against God as the governor of the world. Man complains of providence; the economy of it is too narrow and confined, the temporal benefits bestowed are too few and partial. This complaint, we allow, has some colour. But from the mouth of a Christian it cannot come without extreme ignorance and ingratitude. If the morality of Jesus Christ he examined it will be found almost incompatible with worldly prosperity. Temporal prosperity is often hostile to our happiness. Had God given us a life full of charms we should have taken little thought about another.

3. Complaints against the rigour of His judgments. If we consider God as a Judge, what a number of reasons may be assigned to prove the equity of all the evils that He hath brought upon us. But if God be considered as a Father, all these chastisements, even the most rigorous of them, are perfectly consistent with His character. It was His love that engaged Him to employ such severe means for your benefit.

II. HEAR WHAT COMPLAINTS GOD HAS TO BRING AGAINST MAN. Every one is acquainted with the irregularities of the Jews. They corrupted both natural and revealed religion. And their crimes were aggravated by the innumerable blessings which God bestowed on them. Apply to ourselves —

1. When God distinguishes a people by signal favours, the people ought to distinguish themselves by gratitude to Him. When were ever any people so favoured as we are?

2. When men are under the hand of an angry God they are called to mourning and contrition. We are under the correcting hand of God. What are the signs of our right feeling and mood?

3. To attend public worship is not to obtain the end of the ministry. Not to become wise by attending it is to increase our miseries by aggravating our sins.

4. Slander is a dangerous vice. It is tolerated in society only because every one has an invincible inclination to commit it.

5. If the dangers that threaten us, and the blows that providence strikes, ought to affect us all, they ought those most of all who are most exposed to them.

6. If gaming be innocent in any circumstances, they are uncommon and rare. Such is the controversy of God with you. It is your part to reply. What have you to say in your own behalf?

(J. Saurin.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.

WEB: Listen now to what Yahweh says: "Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear what you have to say.

God's Appeal to His People
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