The last chapter ended with the reminder that Israel and Judah would receiving the due for their sins–they chose to walk with Omri and Ahab instead of walking with their God, they would bear their reproach. This chapter opens with Micah’s acknowledgement of the voice of the remnant. He expresses what only the faithful in such times could say.
Big Picture: God is both the righteous, just, Judge; the compassionate and caring King; and the One who passes over the sins of His remnant…until the time of reformation comes! When Jesus would pay for our sins. Like many prophets, Micah points us forward to Christ our Passover!
So open up to chapter seven, and as we read, we’ll end with the reminder that God delights in unchanging love. Remember last week’s questions? See here.
Verses 1-2, everywhere you look, wanting fruit, but there is none. As the disappointed farmer finding no fruit, so the prophet acknowledges that there is no upright person among men. A bit like Elijah’s depressing thought of being the only one faithful. Also foreshadowing a time when Jesus would curse a fig tree. See Mark 11. He would later explain that He came hoping to find faith among Israelites, but found none.
…He came unto His own, but His own did not receive Him. But, to as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God…John 1:9-12
7:3 they were well practiced at evil! Both hands do it well. Ambidextrous in their evil! Imagine trying to sign your name with your non dominant hand; or to take up a favorite hobby with the wrong hand. They are so practiced at evil that both hands do it well. And this is not accidental, they weave together their evil plans. Their heart, mind, and body are involved.
7:4 The best is like a briar. Thorny. Ripping, Hurtful. Do you enjoy walking through a field of briars and a hedge of thorns. Sin oozing out of our hearts makes us like this toward our neighbor. Not so with Psalm 1:3 or Jeremiah 17:7-8 or John 15…a vine, a tree, rather than a thorn hedge.
So why post a watchman? Isaiah 21:6
7:5-6 Sin wrecks all relationships. Jesus came to undo this–to create fellowship IN HIM. But apart from being in Christ, people cannot be trusted, relationships cannot last, trust is easily destroyed as sin reigns in the heart and impacts thoughts, desires, choices, and actions. Not even family is exempt from this. Family was created by God to be the bedrock of society, a haven, a nurturing atmosphere. But apart from God’s work in our hearts, we cannot live in that reality.
Our hope? Psalm 27, God alone meets our needs; Ephesians the dividing wall is broken down, relationships can flourish, IN CHRIST, not apart. Never apart. The words to Mary at the cross “behold, your new family.”
Vs 7-13, a summary of Micah’s commitment to and faith in YHWH.
I will watch, I will wait, God will come and He will hear. “Though I dwell in darkness (and surely this was a dark time), YHWH is a light for me.” For the remnant: salvation and light and help, and verse 9, the long awaited justice coming from the True Judge–who will bring the faithful into the light, to see His righteousness.
Yet for the enemies, shame. For those who question and mock: where is God? Does He see? (A common theme! In plenteous psalms and other prophets, and Revelation). These are questions posed by God’s enemies, not by those truly seeking Him.
At that time(vs 11-12)–when God judges, the walls will be rebuilt and the boundary expanded. In Hebrew, boundary could also be “edict” as in the unjust laws from the land of their exile, those laws are not longer over them when God brings them out. This also has promise for the distant future, a time when the nations would stream together toward this place to worship God.
Our Shepherd King
14-20, one of the most beautiful statements of faith in Scripture, according to one commentator. I would have to agree. I have clung to verse 18 for many years.
In 14 Micah prays to God as King. thinks of the land which sounds like 4:3-4. The Shepherd with a scepter is unlike any other shepherd. Much like the New Testament teaches us to pray “Come Lord Jesus!” or to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” so here we can learn the beauty of inviting God to “Shepherd Your people with Your scepter, the flock of Your possession…” Such a robust prayer!
Vs 15, Exodus. So many times referred to in OT prophets. Exodus foreshadows the greater rescue of Christ rescuing us from our sin; and God reassures that He will show miracles as at the Exodus. Let this reassure you, beloved, that these prayers are precious to our God.
16-17 shame of other nations (i.e. people steeped in false worship). God will be recognized by them at last, when it is too late. They will very rightly be afraid.
How does that differ from the true fear of God that leads to wisdom and knowledge and understanding? And a life filled with joy and peace?
18-20 a truth to cling to! This is one to commit to memory, it will see you through many a doubt, fear, trial, or even those simply “blah” seasons of life. To understand this in light of the whole book is necessary, making these truths all the more precious.
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and unchanging love to Abraham which You sword to our forefathers from the days of old.Micah 7:18-20
Our faith is in Christ. He is the only true object of faith. We know this is fulfilled in Christ, because of His sacrifice on our behalf. The Jewish community loves this passage as well; reciting it at the New Year, when the atonement sacrifice is made. They empty crumbs out of their pockets into a moving body of water (stream, river), and visualize their sins being washed into the depth of the sea. We know that only in Christ is this reality, but what a beautiful way to muse upon the greatness of His salvation. When is the last time you spent some time out in His creation, watching the waters of a stream or river float away, never to return?
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash