Micah - by Richard Neufeld
The book of Micah was written during the time of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, all kings of Judah, and his words are for both Jerusalem and Judah; that is, both the Northern and Southern kingdom. It begins with warnings of relentless destruction coming on behalf of the evil of the inhabitants of the land, that Jerusalem and Samaria will be reduced to a heap of ashes and the people carted off to exile. The second and third chapter denounce wicked oppressors, corrupt rulers, and false prophets, all of whom make and take bribes, steal from the poor, crush the weak, and walk in darkness.
3:6-7 says “Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God.” The following verse has a stunning and beautiful proclamation which perfectly encapsulates the work of God’s prophets: “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”
Even in the midst of what looks only to be doom and gloom, Micah proclaims a message of hope that, in the latter days, the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established above all and that all nations will flock to it, where there shall be justice and equity and that war shall cease. He paints a picture of peace, between man and man, between man and God, where all live in the joy and security of the presence of God. The fifth chapter tells of the coming exile at the hands of Babylon, but also contains a messianic prophecy, that the ruler of Israel is to be born in Bethlehem and that a faithful remnant of Jacob shall be saved by the hand of the Lord.
Micah wraps up with an indictment from the Lord and encouragement to wait for the God of Salvation. In these last chapters we find the famous reminder – “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
At the outset of the beginning of these Bible in one Year blogs, Pastor Dave stressed the importance of focusing on big picture points as we were writing. There is always the risk of getting caught up in small topics here and there, but we are always careful to write our blogs as a part that makes up a far larger picture.
Micah is exactly in that style – the flow and themes present capture a snapshot of the overall Biblical story. Beginning with the condemnation of wickedness, oppression, corruption, cruelty, and falsehood, Micah reminds us of our own sin and evil. Yet God, being who He is, doesn’t resign us to our sinful nature but steps in to rescue! This points us towards the coming of Jesus Christ, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days (5:2b), and the Gospel as a whole. We have sinned, we have fallen short, yet it is the Lord Himself who makes up the difference.
From there flows the encouragement to wait for the God of Salvation: “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me,” (7:7). The Holy and Compassionate nature of God is upheld throughout this whole book, from the pronouncement of judgement upon the wicked to the final verses in which it is proclaimed “He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea,” (7:18b-19). We see in Micah a condensed version of the entire Biblical narrative. Let the wickedness and corruption of which we read in the book of Kings give us greater confidence that the Lord and the Lord only is to be praised for His goodness, justice, love, and mercy!
As we’ve seen by now, the Bible is full of a variety of different types of writings and styles of literature, many different authors and all sort of genres present. Yet each book, each story points us in the same direction – each page of Scripture is meant to reveal a part of the eternal God! The Bible is God’s written revelation of Himself to mankind, the written Word of God that points toward the Living Word of God. It is shows us not only His nature but our nature before Him and how desperately we need a Saviour. Not only that, but it is the Gospel, the Good News for everyone that the gift of salvation is found in Jesus Christ! Micah is a book that encapsulates these themes, and our lives can and should tell the same story.
Like the books of the Bible, each of our lives is drastically different from one person to another, yet we too can point to Jesus in our diverse ways. Consider today if your life reflects the precious gift of salvation bought on the Cross of Calvary. Have we realized our own wickedness and the judgement that was rightly on us? Have we stiffened our necks, or have we humbled ourselves and thrown ourselves at the feet of Christ and asked for mercy? Have we admitted our own wrong and sinfulness and given our lives over to Jesus in a way that brings about real change? I ask that we all might prayerfully and honestly consider whether our lives bear witness to the one we follow!
Application Question –
How would others describe your faith? Is it noticeable in the things you do and say?
Lord God, thank you for working to save sinners, not just back in ancient history but here and now. I don’t deserve it, yet you have called me your child, your friend, and invite me to live with you forever. Let my heart never grow cold to this good news, let my ears never tire of hearing of your salvation. Give joy to your servant this day as the world is full of turmoil, and keep safe those who cannot keep themselves from the harm around them. I pray that my life will always reflect your saving grace and truth, and that I might be a light to those around me, especially those who don’t know or even hate your name. Amen!
Song - Holy, Holy, Holy (we bow before thee) - Shane and Shane
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.