Chapter one, discussed here, focused on sins against God; chapter two will focus on sins against man. This prophet speaks not only of Judah and Israel’s religion that has incorporated the practices of various nations, but now speaks to their unjust actions toward their countryman that reflects those nations as well.
As we read we are reminded that if we are trying to do life on our own apart from Christ, we too will not be able to do justly, or to even care about our neighbors. When you live life “Coram Deo”, before the face of God, you acknowledge Him as Creator, and you care for His creation. This section describes the lives of those who live as though God were not Sovereign; they live by their fallen appetites and desires, and flippantly believe that God have their back if they “need” Him.
Open up to Micah 2!
2:1 contrast Psalm 130:5-6, night watches. The godly person waits expectantly for God to act, whereas Judah and Israel are filled with those who scheme iniquity on their beds. All their thoughts, even as they fall asleep, are iniquity. They do not commune with God, nor remember His statutes, nor care to acknowledge Him.
2:2 as did Ahab and Jezebel–see 1 Kings 21. The people are charged with coveting; and coveting leads to theft and abuse and oppression. They cheat their own neighbors.
It is so important as you read to take note of connecting words. Therefore, verse three cannot be separated from the previous ideas. Therefore, God is devising calamity, disaster; consequences. A yoke from God, of Assyria, from which God’s people cannot rescue themselves. See Amos 5:13
2:4 Her enemies will mock at her in her calamity; Hebrew “lament with a lament of lamentation.” Judah and Israel had grown so proud, but will now face their true condition: humiliation and shame at having forsaken the One True God, and rebelled against His words. They coveted and oppressed and took–therefore they will lose their home and land.
2:5 cf Joshua 13:6; no one to measure out an inheritance to, since the enemy will be dividing the land for himself. See Leviticus 18! The land will vomit them out, as it had previously vomited the nations who inhabited the land before they came. As they entered the promised land, it was measured and allowed to them; they lose this blessing because of their sin.
Most People Abhor God’s Word
2:6 Tired of having morals and standards? Want ‘justice’ apart from a foundation of Goodness? Want God to stay out of your business? Israel and Judah had reached this point, as do many in every generation. They cry out to the prophets “Do not preach!” Similar to Amos 2:12 and Isaiah 30:10. They want to live according to their own desires, and demand that God look the other way rather than confront their sin.
We have no taste for the Word when we our eyes are fixed on the temporal. Coveting leads them to become oppressors. Coveting never stops at simply ‘wanting’ but leads us to all manner of evil, in this case violent bloodshed and theft.
2:7 Deep in their sin they demand that no one speak the Word, and question whether God’s Word can do any good. Not all questions are bad (Isaiah 1:18; John 4; John 14:5, 14:22; for example). Jesus often welcomed and warmly answered questions. So what makes this questioning bad?
His Words Do Good
God responds with a question: “Do My words not do good for the one walking rightly?” This question is worth focusing on. Spend some time this week journaling through how Jesus and the Apostles answer this question in the New Testament, how the Psalmists would answer, how Moses would answer. What assurance do we have that His Word “does good”?
2:10 no rest, cf 4:2 and Jeremiah 6; Isaiah 30; Matthew 11:28-30. God has always had a heart for the oppressed, and invites the oppressed; contrarily they are confronted for doing the oppressing.
2:11 Israel and Judah were looking for false prophets, each generation has its own way of searching out teachers/preachers/prophets like this. See 2 Timothy 2:13; 4:3. This generation has its own way of seeking out preferred teachers.
Paul reminds the churches in which he preached that he never came with “persuasive words.” Yet, do we not judge who we listen to by how “with it” a speaker is? Or how in tune with your political opinions? Or how they play upon your feelings? Or how they validate your struggle as though it were your identity? Deep down, we do not always say “hmm, I’ll seek out an evil teacher” but if our conscience is not ruled by God’s Word, we will.
To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.Titus 1:15-16
2:12-13–covenant faithfulness, Gospel promises! Take a quick trip through John 10 and notice the correlations. Jesus is the gate, and is the Shepherd. Shepherd is a kingship term–most ancient near Eastern kings claimed to be a good shepherd, I am forever indebted to Dr. Donald Fowler for this beautiful lesson. You can download his article here.
“The one who breaks through goes up before them; They break through, pass through the gate, and go out by it.So their king passes on before them, And the Lord at their head.”
Who is this one? The one who breaks through, who demolishes whatever keeps us out of the Kingdom, the obstacles in our way? The Messiah! The Door, the Way, the Shepherd, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He opened the way into the Holy Place, He broke through.
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…Hebrews 10:19-20
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash