During the time of the Kings, God sent prophets to Israel to bring people back to the way of life that God intended for them. Many chose to worship idols and to act in ways that violated the laws of God. The Prophets also rebuked the people of Israel for the injustices that they were committing. They were neglecting those who were in need and dealing unfairly in their business. Meanwhile, the people continued with their regular religious practices expecting their sacrifices to please God even though their lifestyle didn’t match their worship. Through Amos, God even told Israel that he was tired of the religious festivals and sacrifices while they continued to neglect justice and righteousness.
Israel was living under the assumption that as long as they continued the religious practices and sacrifices, everything would be acceptable with God. They neglected, however, the commands that God gave to treat people fairly and to take care of the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner. Because of this, God sent prophets to call Israel to repentance and to recognize that religious ceremonies aren’t enough to please God. Through Micah, God called them to, “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Around the first of the year at Westbrook, we explored what a Healthy Soul looks like and walked us through the ABC’s of spiritual transformation. “C” stands for Contributing and “D” stands for Doing. To grow and mature into the image of Jesus Christ, we are called to be contributors in the body of Christ and doers in the world. While we may not be guilty of the exact same things as the Israelites, it is easy to fall into the temptation that going to church is enough.
At Westbrook, our mission is to know Christ fully and make him known. We believe that it is the calling of every believer to not only spend the time on the weekends worshipping God and getting to know him better, but to also see themselves as missionaries sent to the places the they work, live, and play. As we come to the prophets in The Story, we see how Israel neglected the call to love God, but they also neglected the call to love their neighbor. We live under the same call that they did. The Missional Shift we have been making at Westbrook is a call to whole life discipleship. It is a call to let every area of your life be transformed by the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit so that we can live out the two greatest commands: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Let us heed the call of the prophets and ask ourselves:
- How can I love God this week with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength?
- How can I take time during the week to love my neighbors as myself?