Micah 1:5 All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Sama'ria? And what is the sin of the house of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?

Sometimes names have great meaning, and at other times one wonders if a name means anything at all. A girl may be called Irene, which mean peace, but have no peace and give no peace. But this time I want to talk about a name which means something – the prophet Micah, Micah was a common name once, it asks a wonderful question: Who is like Yahweh? [You will remember that Yahweh is the name of God, the name which was revealed to Moses, the name that means: I am?

Who is like Yahweh? This one question provides a good summary of the ministry of the prophet Micah, for it is the one question he keeps asking for the 50 years of his ministry, as he kept calling the people to repentance, as he kept calling them to turn from their other gods. Now its easy to dismiss Micah, and idolatry saying – these things no longer apply. We do not have high places, we do not sacrifice children, this is something other people do, but certainly not us.

We may not bow down to figures of wood, stone or metal – but there are still plenty of gods in our time. For if God is not at the center of our life, if he does not govern all we say and do, if doing God’s will is not our sole purpose – we have a god – because there is always something which is at the center, which directs our lives, which guides our purpose – and anything that stands in the place that God claims as his own, is an other god – and when we worship that other god, God is not just hurt, sometimes he gets angry.

God plainly tells us that he is a jealous god, and he will not permit the other gods to stand, and he will show us that they cannot be trusted – and the easiest way to see this is to see the thing to take pride in destroyed, and the thing you hope on be torn apart.

You see, idolatry is anytime we fear love in trust in a thing or person – in a way that we should fear love and trust in God alone.

It is also idolatry when we worship and serve a thing or person – in a way we should worship and serve God alone. It is idolatry when a person or thing becomes the center of our life – in a way that belongs to God alone. It is idolatry when our reason for being is wrapped up in a person or thing – in a way that belongs to God alone. In simple terms, idolatry is stealing from God, things He has earned, things he deserves, and keeping them for ourselves, or giving them to others.

Take the Sabbath – many do, it is a day to worship God, we worship God because he deserves our praise thanks and adoration. All creation owes God such worship and praise – kind of like taxes, there is no credit in paying what is owed. Now, it is grace that God takes this day, and gives it to us as a day of rest – but that does not change that he is still owed worship praise adoration and thanksgiving.

So how do you get people who don’t have time for God to listen? You take away what is at the center of their lives – you take away the very things in which they trust – and this is a good thing – for it shows them, while there is still time, that such things can’t save and that such things aren’t gods, and that such things do not deserve to be at the center of their lives.

That is the significance of Samaria and Jerusalem – Samaria was the center of Israel, the northern kingdom – and Jerusalem was the center of Judah, the southern kingdom – for Micah lived after Solomon, in the days when the kingdom is divided. God told the people through Micah, that both Samaria and Jerusalem would fall – and the reason was idolatry [by whatever name you want to call it].

When you see the things you believed in, the things your trusted, the things you hoped for brought to nothing remember that the basic question is simple: Who is like Yahweh? Who is like our God? Who else would send his only son to suffer and die that sinners might be saved?

And that brings us to the happy consequence, once we see that there is salvation nowhere else, once we see that there is no other name given under heaven by which we are saved -–then the worship of God ceases to be a chore – but it becomes our joy and delight and exceedingly great reward.