THERE COULDN'T BE a more explicit, practical, challenging plan for living than the one proposed by the Old Testament prophet Micah. In seven short Bible chapters, he set out some wonderfully relevant ideas about effective prayer and God-guided action wherever we live in the world.

Micah was probably a contemporary of Hosea's and Isaiah's, and was concerned to expose the false prophets, dishonest leaders, and selfish priests who dominated the people of Judah and Israel nearly 3,000 years ago. He felt impelled to untangle the idolatries and empty rituals of his time. And there's just as strong a call for caring people to help untangle the new style idolatries and electronically shaped rituals of our time. There's an urgent need for conscientious prayer and thoughtful action in places such as Zimbabwe, Iraq, and North Korea. But where does one start?

Micah spoke of a God who condemns sin yet loves the sinner. And he leaves today's readers in no doubt that God has a plan for us, too. God delights in people who are fair in their dealings with others; show unconditional love toward family, friends, and neighbors; and obey His guiding principles. In Micah's words, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (6:8).

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July 18, 2005

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