Tag: Micah

Prayer Time

Micah 7:14-20

Continuing theme of trusting in God for deliverance, Micah prays and hears an answer. Good to be reminded how prayer to true God can build confidence, confidence in true God encourages us to pray. Like other prophets, much of Micah’s message confrontational – didn’t shy away from calling sinful behavior what it is, rebellion against God and displeasing / offensive to him. Unlike so much of what takes place today – Micah condemned behavior, not the people. He clearly warned them of certain condemnation from God if persisted in sinful rebellion. At same time didn’t write them off – closes his prophetic ministry with Gospel: forgiveness and mercy and compassion.

Is also important that Micah’s prayer for help just as public as message of rebuke. This the sort of example all prophetic types should follow and set. Are those who take on role of calling out different groups – homosexuals, Muslims, abortionists – making sure as many as possible know how sinful their behavior is. But are they as loud and public to pray and proclaim Gospel truth? Applies to all God’s people regardless of specific circumstances, size of audience.

Micah cries out to God for help, he hears brief but powerful response, then applies that response to his audience.

A. shepherd your people v.14

guide them

in spite of appearances, was confident God still had a people – not same arrogant assumption spiritual leaders had made

their confidence based on biology, Micah’s based on theology – heritage of Abraham/Isaac/Jacob vs. heritage of God

does not take it for granted that God will shepherd his flock – prays specifically that God would do so… as good pastor (under-shepherd) should, not only in times of crisis

regular part of shepherd’s job involved travel – if sheep left in one place too long, will over-graze and kill the grass

shepherd leads sheep from place to place, using staff as walking stick to provide added stability on uneven ground

flock needs confident shepherd to follow – uncertainty easily transmitted to sheep, will make them reluctant to trust shepherd

protect them

rod can be for punishment or discipline – Prov. 13:24He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”

in this context, shepherd would use rod to defend flock – 1 Sam. 17:34-35 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.”

God’s people, the flock that belongs to him, can depend on God to defend against enemies – he works through his servants

even though human agents involved, is God’s power at work, his wisdom and direction we must depend on

shouldn’t simply expect God to protect – enemies getting in lick or two may be God’s way of reminding us to ask him

pasture them

feed them, let them graze – provide rich and safe pasturage: Ps. 23:2He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.”

not wrong to desire safety, nourishment, contentment – can ask for it for ourselves, for others, God will provide wisely

need to be sure we’re in the right pasture, not wandering off to what looks greener

should request confidently – “as in the old days” – God has taken good care of his heritage before, no call to doubt now

did not expect his flock / people to fend for themselves in previous generations, hasn’t changed – we’re still sheep

B. show them wonders v.15-17

God answers, brief and to the point – “remember the Exodus” – not much more explicit, little by way of detail yet powerful

700 years later much has changed… and much still the same – God’s people no more able to provide for own needs

and… God still fully committed to keeping his covenant, faithful as always, moving toward same eternal purpose

God’s goal of Exodus to redeem his people from bondage, not destroy them – same goal in Micah’s day… and today

those who reject God and his ways will: be ashamed

come to understand when God displays his power they’re not such a big deal – remember how one by one God dethroned all of Egypt’s gods, including Pharaoh

Pharaoh’s army no match for God’s power – not just defeated, completely destroyed – many generations later before threatened God’s people again

continued with Amalekites, other enemies during wilderness wandering, then those in and around Promised Land

so long as God’s people sought to obey and looked to him to supply needs, no enemy could prevail against them

would hold true throughout time both Israel and Judah in exile – might be POWs but would ultimately return to land

and… those God used to discipline his people would have their own turn to experience heat of God’s wrath

be silenced

even rebellious sinners bright enough to figure out it’s safer to be quiet – less risk of further humiliation… and maybe “problem” will just go away

some might be like Job when God put him in the dock: what about this, where were you then, can you answer….

Job: “I’d heard about you, now I’ve seen you; I repent in dust and ashes” – rightly overwhelmed by God’s greatness

most stick fingers in ears, pretend they can’t hear God – want to go on as before, actively resisting any kind of change

good example – Belshazzar, century and half in future: showed utter contempt for true God… demonstrated by use of sacred vessels from Jerusalem temple at his party

God’s finger writing on wall made his knees knock… but didn’t change his course – lost kingdom and life that night

be humbled

talk about being lower than a snake’s belly, can’t go any lower – Nebuchadnezzar came close to that after making himself object of worship

kingdom taken away, banished to live like animal, possibly for seven years so he and his subjects would know God rules

does not necessarily bring about permanent change of heart, does cause true God to receive glory and is ultimately for good of his people

keep in mind: God is longsuffering… does not respond to insults / abuse immediately – does not mean he never responds

humbling of enemies of God and his people may take place in this life – seems more common when whole nations are in rebellion against true God, persecute his people

rattle off succession of empires: Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman – forget took place over several hundred years in Europe, Asia, Africa

each a part of God’s plan A for mankind – none have prevailed / endured because none submitted to God’s authority

be afraid

reputation went before children of Israel – Josh. 2:9-11 – heard about what Israel’s God had done and were terrified

lost people / nations may strut through life but are inwardly in constant fear – Prov. 28:1The wicked flee when no one pursues…

all without exception will eventually fear God – either fear / reverence or fear / dread; occurred after exile also

probably number of factors that motivated Sanballat et al, fear certainly a big one – what would mean for them that God present and active among his people

should keep in mind: people get unpredictable, even violent in presence of fear; enemies may be fearful, we need not be

C. shower with blessings v.18-20

play on words here: Michaia short form of Michayahu – “who is like YHWH” – “who is a God like you?”… obvious answer…

pardoning iniquity

here’s one of the ways: God graciously dealing with sinfulness of people strong theme and especially needed now

hopelessness fueled by guilt, weight of sin, not knowing how to deal with it – psycho… have no tools, only God can pardon

delighting in mercy

and another: gods of the world delight in all sorts of other things – God delights in showing mercy, steadfast love

is only a big deal when there is reason why God might not show love – yet God lovingly made way to justly address sin

showing compassion

has showed compassion in past, will continue – see it most profoundly in what God does for his people that they could not do for themselves – himself paid penalty for sin so he could pardon, show mercy and compassion

what other God would even think of that, much less be inclined to do it? none so far in human history

subduing iniquity

another way God helps his people – treading down their sins and sinfulness – not allowing even redeemed people be as sinful as would otherwise be

also graciously subdues the effects our own sinfulness has on others, actively limits damage – no excuse for us!

removes sin

doesn’t just paper over it, ignore it… takes it away – and… put it on only one who could pay penalty… and he did

is how God can justly treat us our sin now as if our sin never happened – guilt has been removed, debt paid in full

continuing faithful

remember how God responded to Micah? remember the Exodus – that occurred because God remembered covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob

Micah confident that just as God showed loyal love to the fathers by delivering the children, that same loyal love and faithfulness will continue to Israel’s true children

and down through generations to Israel’s true children today, as distributed by Christ who inherited all promised blessings

If we are to experience those promised blessings, must be faithful to do our part in dependence on Christ – follow the shepherd, listen to his voice, obey his instruction, depend fully on him to guide and provide.

I Will Look to the Lord

Micah 7:7-13

Picture painted by Micah in first part of chapter 7 – crumbling culture, under assault from both within and without. Sennacherib and allies doing their best to overrun northern kingdom, trying to enlarge borders of Assyria at expense of neighbors. Prevailing attitude of Micah’s countrymen – denial, refusal to admit problem of any kind. Declaring confidence God wouldn’t let anything bad happen to his special people, at same time living in open rebellion against that God.

Micah could see where things were headed, besides knowing what God had in store for his people. Micah also the real deal, one who genuinely lived and believed what he professed. Micah truly a friend of God, circumstances would not appear to support that… and would only get worse as time of Babylonian Captivity approached.

Quick rabbit trail – been on quite a roller coaster here in our country in last 50 years. Trend during previous administration consistently and rapidly downward when considering moral and spiritual climate. Seems to have moderated in last year – accurate? hard to tell, given lack of objectivity in media reporting. To extent there is genuine change, be thankful… especially to degree change represents turning toward God. Must be on guard – easy to get caught up in all the noise, give too much credit to wrong person for bringing about positive difference. Also easy to think is permanent change of direction – may only be momentary blip… Satan doesn’t give up easily.

Should be careful to follow Micah’s example – firmly retaining confidence in right person; seeing above and beyond immediate circumstances; recognizing God’s confirmation confidence rightly placed; diligently warning the lost of coming consequences for rebellion.

A. confidence v.7

look to the Lord

watchman – not simply “looking to the Lord”, putting confidence in him, counting on God to do his thing to help his people

is “looking for the Lord” – leaning forward, straining eyes to see as far as possible, detect at earliest possible moment God’s movement, God’s action

no wishful thinking here, is all confident expectation that God will indeed come into view, only uncertainty is when

“In the reeling and turning upside-down of things here below, the people of God are not so much to look to these incertainties, as unto the immutability of God in what he is to his people.” George Hutcheson

wait for the Lord

waiting like for someone he promised to meet – not going to leave his post, seek another solution / deliverer – will stick with his original plan no matter how long it takes

unshakable assurance is based on character of One he waits for – knows God will not let him down for any reason

also knows / is convinced is pointless to seek help or guidance from any other source – firmly committed to God… alone

important to remember – any intervening difficulties or delays intended by God to accomplish his perfect purpose in us

hear from the Lord

cannot really hear inflection, could easily believe emphasis on “my” – Micah’s God would hear him, unlike gods of people

even if praying to same God, he would hear Micah and not prayers of rebellious – Micah had even said so, Mic. 3:4

God would hear his cry with attention and interest, with intention to respond – God would hear Micah, Micah would hear answer in return

response from God could come in varied ways: audible voice, messenger sent by God, written word, Spirit’s testimony

B. circumstances v.8-10

things aren’t how they might look

may appear to enemies like they have prevailed… over individual (like prophet) and/or all individual represents (the church)

metrics people use frequently not same as God uses – we are limited to measuring what we can see, only miniscule portion of whole picture

e.g. – Golden Lampstand Church, Linfen, China… 50,000 worshipers – dynamited and bulldozed 01/.09/18, surely hard providence

yet, does not mean cause of Christ has been harmed; probably considered a win by Chinese officials – will likely spur more real growth than tolerance would have

need to keep opposite in view, more on this in a couple books – wicked prospering not all it appears; Micah understood

the believer sees differently

things dark / hidden to everyone else make sense to child of God – Micah understood reason for circumstances b/c had a light

sometimes a searchlight, illuminating large areas of life and culture… other times laser pointer zeroing in on specific truth and its application / significance

the Lord’s light of a kind to cut through fog of sin, something unbeliever has no help with – enables believer to see accurately what is real, not taken in by Satan’s deception

Micah won’t be surprised when judgment falls on his people… he sees it coming; not surprised by deliverance either

the believer suffers differently

recognizes suffering has purpose, not something random that happens for no particular reason, with no goal in view

here Micah shows great humility, standing beside his countrymen not over them – acknowledges his own sinfulness

stands with others found in Bible – David, Daniel, Nehemiah – not expecting to escape hardship because were less sinful

Micah knew God’s hand would be on him, not to crush but to correct – others would be shaking fist, crying injustice

the believer expects different outcome

Micah confident of eventual deliverance – when God’s purpose in suffering has been satisfied, brings believer out into light

too many people today surprised by suffering, don’t know how to deal, what to expect, often have no hope of good outcome

like Micah, child of God should not doubt good ending – may not be in this life, that’s ok – this life important / significant drop in bucket of eternity

day will come when perfect justice will be served – may be intermediate times God brings about justice as well

prosperity of wicked will end, righteous will be vindicated, all will know that God exists and his arm not short

C. confirmation v.11-12

laid low but lifted up

think about what future holds from Micah’s perspective for Jerusalem – Nebuchadnezzar, walls breached, gates burned

no way to secure / defend, not considered safe place to live – surrounding area devastated, unable to support city

as God carried out judgment on his people by hand of Neb., church God promised to put his name in thoroughly plundered

everything of value stripped off, rest knocked down or burned – Micah saw day when walls rebuilt, including Temple

next big thing after captivity would confirm Micah’s confidence in YHWH not misplaced – enemies ridiculed: “Where is the LORD your God?” – restored city / church their answer

greatly increased influence

God’s plan more than simple restoration to same old – humanly explainable means could produce appearance of that much

plan was / is for city, more importantly what it represented, to have significantly greater prominence / influence than before

would begin with Cyrus’ decree, 518 BC, continuing today, reach ultimate fulfillment in new heavens/earth

God in his church would become magnet for people from every tribe, people, language, nation, drawing those purchased by blood of Christ (Rev. 5:9)

YHWH will prevail

each time throughout history God has moved on behalf of his people, defeated his / their enemies, confirms his plan A in force

reinforces confidence true God will surely accomplish his eternal purpose without fail in future as he has in past

should not look at circumstances to boost confidence, should not allow circumstances to shake confidence – rather God’s character confirmed by history, plan foretold in revelation incl. last chapter

D. consequences v.13

sinful rebellion is costly

meanwhile… all this good news not “pie in the sky”, for Micah or us – not to that point yet in God’s redemptive plan

more God intended to accomplish – just as OT sacrifice picture displaying cost of sin and need for Savior, God’s judgment in time gives taste of what awaits one who dies in their sin

demonstrates God’s commitment to justice, serves as warning: cannot sin with impunity against holy God or his people

true justice will prevail

acts of God’s judgment we get to read about / observe encourage believer – God not blind or insensitive to real injustice

God has the power and will use it: Acts 17:31“because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

temporal justice not the last word

justice begins in this life, why God ordained civil authority, also why God has at times acted apart from civil authority

when we see justice only partially achieved, sometimes not at all, remember: God will have last word, all things set to rights

intended to pave way for redemption

temporal consequences less than perfect / complete by God’s design – must leave room for repentance and restoration

shows need and sets stage for redemption – God delivering his people from exile / slavery to earthly masters and from sin

Several things for us: keep looking at Jesus, not circumstances. Have confidence in God, not earthly systems or leaders to provide hope. Don’t forget God’s purpose in suffering and hardship – punish evil and make us more like Christ. Use hard times as opportunities for witness, warning lost of uncertainty of life and certainty of judgment for lost. Jesus is our hope, strength, comfort, the one who keeps soul safe from all harm.

Micah Bemoans the Nation’s Sins

Micah 7:1-6

Is hard lonely work to be prophet! Have lot of bad news to give, don’t have many friends, see more clearly than most all that is wrong with given society / situation. Our Lord said: “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.” (Luke 4:24) Not only is prophet not accepted, has no honor “among his own relatives, and in his own house”. (Mark 6:4)

Prophet has a part on both sides of equation – relating to God, identifying with God and his perspective… identifying with people and relating to them. Result of not relating to God: lack of zeal for truth and right and justice; not relating to people: lack of sympathy and compassion. The one who lacks zeal is unconvincing; who lacks compassion is harsh and abrasive. To be compelling, persuasive, and effective communicator is physically, emotionally, spiritually demanding work… and many times produces little obvious result.

Is good to note: results of prophetic ministry not entirely dependent on prophet. Two examples come quickly to mind: Isaiah, Lord Jesus. Isa. 6:9-12 Commissioned and sent with this for expected results: would hear without understanding, see without perceiving, calloused hearts, deaf ears, blind eyes. And… largest church told about in Jerusalem month after Jesus public ministry ended only had 120 people.

Requires ministry of Holy Spirit accompanying preached truth for positive results. At times what from human perspective appears to be absolute disaster God uses in powerful way; opposite also true. Micah certainly not lacking for either zeal or compassion, is obvious as he brings message to conclusion.

Expresses profound disappointment over how countrymen are behaving, hoping against hope and reason they would listen / heed God’s gracious warning. Why against hope and reason? Micah knows his people, human nature, the trajectory they are on, and God’s promised judgment. Micah has God-given ability to see clearly what is happening, what future holds. Is deeply saddened by what he knows cost of disobedience will be, feels the pain of few remaining godly in nation. Micah in good company – two different occasions in life of Christ

Luke 13:34“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Luke 19:41-42Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

Micah not engaging in theatrics – is genuinely distraught over what he is certain future holds for his people, including probably some of his relatives.

A. lack of good men v.1-2


good men like prophet frustrated by absence of good men in community – are ultimately talking about contrast between saved and lost, righteous and unrighteous

however, even lost have ability to make better choices, use reasoning ability they do have to thoroughly think things through

not only prophets who should have this outlook, should be default for all God’s people – nothing selfish about it

Christ-follower sees how much harm lost people bring on themselves and others, how barren of joy and meaining lives are

compassionate believer does what they can to persuade lost of God’s truth – produces as much (often) as field does immediately after harvest

should cause sorrow and grief in those who know better – recognize degree of unnecessary suffering loved ones experience


big picture – Micah has “godly” in view, similar to Elijah’s perspective: overwhelming majority displaying ungodly character

when that is trend, for godly to gradually disappear, short of special act of divine providence, outcome usually certain, and not good one

faithfulness, especially to covenant commitment, primary characteristic of God and should be of his people – one of first things to go in society’s decline

primary commitment for ungodly is to increasingly large image of self – in process trust no longer has basis and civil society begins to unravel

think of how much that gives believer joy is product of trust, trusting relationships – as that erodes, individual becomes more and more isolated

puts up walls / boundaries in effort to keep from getting hurt, eventually no one trusted – what keeps hurt out also keeps out rewards, blessings that can be experienced by even the lost


vicious circle – growing faithlessness leads to conflict, hurt feelings / defensiveness / looking out for #1, diminishes trust

is kind of decline in society that fuels anger and violence… is no respecter of family ties – is one thing when Gospel forces separation, that not purposely destructive

fighting among ungodly intended to harm, destroy others – eventually rebounds on individual, profoundly self-destructive

things lead to things, fighting usually doesn’t stay small – larger problem gets, more likely “innocent” by-standers involved

Micah’s sorrow, Cicero’s analysis takes on new significance in light of current political situation:

“Morality has perished through poverty of great men; a poverty for which we must not only assign a reason, but for the guilt of which we must answer as criminals charged with a capital crime. For it is through our vices, and not by any mishap, that we retain only the name of a republic, and have long since lost the reality.” [Cicero, 106-43 B.C.]

B. corrupt leaders v.3-4

good at evil

no surprise to informed believer that man is by nature evil: Paul methodically makes case for it in first 3 chapters of Romans

not always prepared for degree to which some work at doing evil well – work with both hands to get better / more practiced

in society like Judah of Micah’s day, bent on rebelling against God, sinful behaviors don’t stay at street level – move up chain of command

in setting (like ours) where people get to choose own leaders, will opt for ones most like themselves, most likely to promote values they practice and endorse

evil at top doesn’t need to percolate down – what it does is fuel spread / progression of evil by example, absence of restraint

greedy for more

another vicious circle – determined not to do it God’s way, instead pursuing gifts instead of Giver, what by God’s design will never satisfy human desire or need

leads to more furious pursuit of wrong things, greater abandonment of godly principles and choices, more frustration and less satisfaction

e.g., in nation where people getting shorter from poor nutrition, dear leader spent $350,000 alcohol and $70,000 cheese 1 year – $1000+ per day

usually not pursuit of / greed for more for its own sake – wrongly convinced (by self and Satan) more will satisfy genuine need

truth is, and godly person gets it, only pursuing God and his design for life brings true satisfaction and contentment


“devoid of qualities or endowments that give charm or attractiveness” – not talking about physical appearance or the like

talking about those in leadership who are abrasive, contentious, hard to be around – contact from any direction causes pain

especially when is godly vs. ungodly – closer one gets to God… like prophet Micah… more painful to be near God’s enemies

observing / experiencing outward evidence of rebellion against God causes believer discomfort – language, worldview, principles followed and promoted

C. broken relationships v.5-6

the wonder really not how many divorced, break-ups, and the like – wonder is how many (lost) actually stay together

starts out with grief over condition of society as whole, from top down – here gets to day-to-day relationships, how fractured they become

Micah’s message recorded for us so will be prepared, know what to expect from ungodly surrounding culture, how to respond


Micah not telling hearers / readers to be cynical, not trusting anyone – is saying if neighbor acts according to character of rebel against God, cannot rely on him

may have decent neighbors, help when they can, if you need it – when costly inconvenience to them… not so much

Neighborhoods and families are falling to pieces. The closer they are-sons, daughters, in-laws-The worse they can be.” MSG

goes right back to starting point – lack of faithfulness to one another because of faithfulness to God; when God is absent….


“for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”

probably each can put names and faces to each of these from personal experience – know root cause, godlessness

not even most intimate relationship exempt – husband and wife: anything you say may be used against you (5c) – some of most caustic quarrels between spouses… present or former


“men of his own household” = his own servants – generally treated as employees rather than property in Micah’s day

no matter the character of employer, employee loyalty thing of the past – for ungodly, loyalty centers on benefits: salary, vaca, insurance, 401k

cannot be counted on to meet expectations, show up for work, deal honestly, show respect – adversarial relationship

If circumstances and relationships in our experience are better than this, thank God for restraining ungodly so they’re not as bad as they could be. At same time, should be prepared for these sorts of things to get worse – our society in general drifting away from God and his principles. May be some positive up-ticks from time to time, overall trend still down.

Knowing that, how should people of God think, speak, act in current cultural climate? Come back in two weeks, will explore that! ,,,Meanwhile when goes this way, don’t be surprised, don’t get angry at people. Get angry at sin and Satan, commit to personal faithfulness, pray for and evangelize the lost… especially those in all kinds of leadership.

Where is Wisdom?

Micah 6:9-16

Concept of covenant one found throughout Bible. Covenant – word use to identify binding relationship between God and individual or group; a covenant is established by God with conditions, promises, consequences. God initiates it, defines its terms, administers it, determines whether it has been kept or broken.

While God’s providential care extends to all his creation, there are special benefits promised to those who are participants in his covenant. The particular covenants God has made provide structure to his special revelation, the Bible. Even use it to find way around – books of the Old and New Covenant.

Covenant not identified here in Micah but surely forms basis for prophet’s message, God’s charges against Jewish people. Referring in particular to Mosaic Covenant, instituted at Sinai with Moses as God’s designated mediator. Expectations summarized in 10 Commandments, further conditions recorded later. Was Israel’s repeated failure over extended period that resulted in God taking action. Will back up to review the standard, then look at how Israel failed to keep the covenant and what God promised the consequences would be. Encourage you to consider how closely this parallels situation in own nation today.

A. covenant terms v.8-9

the standard (8)

not new information: Deut. 10:12-13; 30:15-16

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.”

they really knew not only what God expected for proper worship, knew what he wanted from them in everyday life

justice balanced by mercy relies on second table, summarizes love for neighbor; walk humbly, first table, love for God

Micah not first to remind people of God’s expectations – was one in long line of faithful servants sent by God to warn people

significant problem by this time in Israel’s history: large numbers of unfaithful servants, failing to uphold biblical standard

were a lot of them, they were loud – making much noise to convince themselves / others nothing to worry about, their way was best

came with conditions (Deut. 7:12)

always true for God’s covenant – he lays out expectations, standard, requires his people to follow – promises reward for obedience, consequences for disobedience

“Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.”

God not obligated to provide blessings promised when people blew it, yet he did… graciously and mercifully… for generations

like good father promised reward comes first and more prominently – at same time, threat of judgment not far behind

is a set of principles absent in too much of our society for few generations now – practice too often is reward without conditions, disobedience without consequences

little understanding / respect for authority, the idea of an objective standard of right / wrong, acting as gods to themselves – ultimately comes from absence of God’s standard in the home

but you need to listen and heed (9)

they knew but they disregarded – treated God and standard as ultimately meaningless… a practice neither wise nor safe

it is wise to fear Your name” – “the fool has said “there is no God” (Psa. 14:1) – both Old & New Testament saints recognized outcome when men fail to fear God (Abraham, David, Paul)

Gen. 20:11 “I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife.”

Psa. 36:1-4 “An oracle …concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes….”

Rom. 3:10-18 “There is none righteous, no, not one; …There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

only way to avoid full force of God’s retributive justice – fear God, heed his warning, stop adding to guilt by further sin

understand that pleasing God requires changed heart, only he can do that – however… total pagan does not need to run into sin, pile up guilt at such an alarming rate

B. covenant failure v.10-12

wrongful profits (10a)

little if any efforts made to correct sinful behavior – “are there yet/still treasures of wickedness” – practice still continuing

still enjoying fruits of dishonest gain – treasures that had been acquired by wrongful means – numerous ways for that to occur

hidden costs not obvious to buyer; substandard performance/workmanship; bait & switch – offer one thing, sell something less; could be flat out theft

have clear NT example of how to deal with that sort of circumstance: Zacchaeus – “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Luke 17:8)

cheating in business (10b-11)

dishonest weights and measures especially unjust / sinful because cheated in both directions under barter system

item / product / service being sold weighed or measured, amount would be overstated – e.g., 15 oz being sold as full pound, 55 minutes billed as full hour

reverse would happen with what was offered in payment, amount would be understated – a bushel only 3-1/2 pecks; 8 hours labor compensated < day

today: charge for work not actually done; overstate bill of materials; claim higher costs than actual

customer / laborer both overcharged/overworked and undercompensated – no wonder such practice so displeasing to God

violence (12a)

word used here has fairly broad range of meaning, almost always sinful in some way – includes malicious cruelty, injustice, wickedness against God or others

those with significant wealth use power associated with it to manipulate people / situations to their advantage – bullying, coercion, backroom deals, may involve real harm

sometimes individual with wealth directly involved, other times may manipulate from distance – election outcomes, staged protests (BLM, Keystone), volatile situations in other nations, media coverage

not ever the result of pursuing the right end with right means for right reasons – some degree of purposeful wickedness

dishonesty (12b)

sinfulness not limited to people in high places – all inhabitants, all residents guilty of speaking lies, promoting what is untrue

is the exact opposite of truth, groundless, without basis in fact or reality – consequently, contrary to God and opposed to truth

underlying purpose: promote opposite of truth and actively suppress what is true and real – Rom. 1:18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”

deceit (12c)

speaking words intended to deceive, beguile – remember the Serpent’s persuasive and harmful conversation with Eve

includes idea of treachery / betrayal, what is said intended to lead other person into danger or risk – high profile: pimps, drug dealers – understate / hide risks associated with product or behavior

present circumstances, examples abound: big business, big government, even big “churches” serving as tools of Satan and his destructive purposes

C. covenant consequences v.13-16

see Deut. 28 – v.1-14, promises for obedience… “if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God” (1), “if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.” (13)

“But …if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, ….all these curses will come upon you and overtake you” (15ff)

promised consequences for disobedience in effect the reversal of all promised blessings – people’s behavior toward God the opposite of what should be, God’s actions toward people opposite of covenant promises… perfect justice

sickness (13a)

Deut. 28:58-61“If you do not …fear this glorious and awesome name” – plagues, sickness, long-lasting afflictions, severe enduring illnesses, diseases, madness, blindness, confusion of mind

think for moment: all diseases/illnesses hear about today vs. 50 years ago – easy to blame gov’t, business, medicine

given parallels of current outrageously sinful behavior, no stretch to think God and not others the Prime Mover, and list of consequences goes on

poverty (13b)

possessions and production stripped away leaving people destitute – efforts to reduce poverty made ineffective by enemies

hunger (14a)

produce of land and labor taken by others leaving people hungry – outside enemies will leave nothing for locals to eat

disappearing savings (14b)

invest in construction / property only to lose it – labor more for smaller return, subject to various forms of oppression

diminishing productivity (15)

frustrated purposes because God will oppose / reverse plans and efforts; pests eat the harvest, disease strikes plants

ruined by wrong heroes (16)

Omri / Ahab encouraged Israel to sin yet Micah’s contemporaries followed their practices instead of God’s law… to their doom

should carefully consider ones thought to be suitable heroes, worthy of following and copying

The wise person fears the Lord, does their part to follow his commands. Also encourages as many others as possible to do likewise. A people cannot continue in sin against God without eventual consequences… no matter how many times we sing “God Bless America”.


God, What Do You Want?

Micah 6:6-8

Common question – implied in Nicodemus’ “unspoken” questions; rich ruler; Philippian jailer. Is perhaps most important of ultimate questions – how can a person be right with God? Countless millions not even bothered by idea they might have a problem. Others figure their genius adequate to sort it all out. Some genuinely troubled by thought they might not be on good terms with God, seek until they find answers. Then are ones like Jewish people of Micah’s day, especially ones living in Judah.

Had been content to just live one day after next, pursuing the great Jewish dream. Life was good, maybe few clouds here and there, but people in charge said no need to be concerned. After all, were God’s special people, he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to them. Just to be safe, made sure they were keeping Sabbath, offering required sacrifices, maybe putting little extra in benevolent offering every so often just for insurance. Along comes Micah, a few other noisy prophets, trying to convince them something was wrong, God upset with them for some reason.

Likely an edge to it in this context – people just been confronted for sinful behavior by God, red-faced defensive challenging “whaddya want” almost. And close on its heels, we’ve done that. So is this ridiculous amount what you really want, it’s impossible for us to do that. Micah reminds them – you already know what God expects, what will please him. Problem not that they didn’t know what God wanted, was that they didn’t want to comply with expectations. Is entirely possible, even likely… some genuinely wanted to know how they could be made right with God.

Truth is, what God really wants from men/women/boys/girls is impossible by human standards and effort. Bright future for anyone out of the question, is fruitless quest for anyone apart from God, point Micah relentlessly proclaims. And that is where Micah ends, holding out hope because of who God is:

Mic. 7:18“There is no other God like you! You forgive sin and pardon the rebellion of those who remain among your people. You do not remain angry forever, but delight in showing loyal love.”

Meanwhile, Micah doesn’t back off from confronting sinful behavior. Doesn’t lower the bar, keeps it where God put it… not to be mean, but to be honest and faithful.

A. is this what he wants? v.6

what do I bring

question is typical, the one people almost always ask – e.g., Philippian jailer: what must I do to be rescued from certain death

two places to put emphasis – what must I bring: implies there is some way individual can improve standing, negotiate a deal… iow, some kind of self-help plan

what must I bring: implies there is something individual can acquire / perform that will gain them right / good standing

how shall I approach

what is proper protocol – how low to bow, how many steps away, right side or left side; and of course, what to wear

major assumption here, that there is safe and legitimate way to approach holy God – is God after all, not earthly king (e.g. Esther and Ahashuerus)

there really is a way, but not of man’s invention or making – is God alone who established “protocol”, defined what he will accept

is this acceptable

true, burnt offerings something God did require and accept – but… calf more substantial animal than God required for individual – personal sin offering sheep or goat

is this an overstatement intended to impress? or… is is it indication of syncretism, mixing elements of two or more religions

more in line with what would be sacrificed to Baal, other gods – just as important, though… focus here on external ritual

notice how questions address everything but the condition of worshiper’s heart – no indication of acknowledgment of sin, attitude of genuine repentance

the one asking seems to think is good reason to believe they can meet God’s expectations, perhaps a little more effort / expense

mindset persists, even increases in next series of questions – seems may have been some question in minds of people just what kind of God YHWH really was

B. is this better? v.7

if a little is good, is more better

this in line with expectations of false gods – if one sacrifice is good for a little, more or bigger sacrifice good for a lot

even without factoring in idol-worship, questions if sincere show they didn’t comprehend significance of sacrifice to God

questions more likely come from attitude of defensive sarcasm – I suppose you expect me to do the impossible by…

if talking to false rather than true God, response would be yes – remember real source of power… Satan, goal to destroy

since ridiculously impossible isn’t it, let’s compromise

is how sarcastic line of reasoning is supposed to work – way overstate expectations, show how foolish, settle for something less maybe even than real starting position

whole lot wrong with that approach toward God… in what it implies about God and his character, and attitude toward sin

assumes God in dealing with people has floating standard, is room for negotiation, brings YHWH down at least closer to level of his people

indicates a failure to acknowledge seriousness of sin – if strict economics applied, even wildly overstated sacrifice not sufficient to “repay” God for offense done to him

more important question: what is purpose of sacrifice

compare true God vs idols – sacrifice for idol’s benefit, different purpose for God – idols have insatiable appetites

if you don’t get results promised from false god, must be because sacrifice wasn’t big enough, costly enough

no sacrifice required by God from people supplied any benefit whatever to God – different significance for both God/people

sacrifice way of God showing mankind seriousness of sin, ultimately pointing to the once-for-all sacrifice, Lord Jesus

sacrifice way for people to show obedience / devotion to God, trust in his promise that if they sacrificed he would forgive

question really much closer to mark than one who asked realized: “Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion, my offspring – my own flesh and blood – for my sin?”

answer: a man’s son cannot atone for his soul… but God’s son can – God would give his own Son as ultimate display of his loyal love to his people

C. this is what he really wants v.8

here’s where Micah brings them back to root problem: their issue didn’t start with worship practice and sacrifice, had its beginnings in worship during daily life

just like religious leaders of Jesus’ day, probably were doing ok with external rituals – problem was they didn’t love God and neighbor… an issue of the heart

whether were following “official” idols or ones of the heart, they did not love neighbor because did not love God

starts with “God already told you what he wanted”… where? Hos. 12:6 e.g.So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.”

even back in Hos. 6:6 “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

act justly… can do that

starts at lowest rung of ladder – basically treating others according to rules of civil society in all spheres of life

does not require going beyond duty, simply act and react as justice mandates – could cover basics with 2nd table of Law

also includes acting so as to promote just dealings among others, especially when in some sort of leadership position

knee-jerk response to prophet: of course, can do that; may not want to, haven’t always done so, certainly have ability to

love mercy… hmm, can do that

turns it up some – love mercy / kindness / faithfulness – tough word to adequately render in English, chesed, used of God to describe his love/loyalty/faithfulness to his covenant people

requires going beyond simple just dealings, also gets into issue of motivation and desire – can maybe act that way, but to love it? maybe not

pretty broad swath of God’s character made evident by chesed, what he expected his people to display to one another

is expected of all who bear image of God, especially so of those who claim to be related to him by covenant, old or new

walk humbly… um, nope, can’t do that

this really is goal – one truly walking humbly with God will do justly and love mercy – an impossible achievement for Jews

had shown over long period were too proud of self and own achievement/ability to walk humbly under any circumstances

is why captivity / exile in Babylon a foregone conclusion by this time – people would have to be humbled first

not a new answer, either, another reason for Micah to say “God already told you” – Psalms of David, Ps. 40:6-8; 51:16-17

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; …Then I said, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”

“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise.”

God’s purpose for his people: that they, having been conformed to image of his Son, would accurately reflect his image to others. iow, God is in business of restoring image that was horribly distorted yet not lost in Fall. Will be fully restored in next age, but… don’t have to wait until then for it to start. In fact, should be doing our part now to encourage growth in likeness to Christ – our own, and that of brothers and sisters.

Walking humbly with God means keeping details of relationship straight – things like dependence, submission, obedience, trust. Doesn’t happen by itself, we need to use means God has supplied so we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18) In the process, “let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Heb. 10:24)

The Lord’s Indictment

Micah 6:1-5

Good father when training children does not leave them hopeless. Occasions when something occurs that damages / hinders relationship, father disciplines but without removing hope of reconciliation. Previous two chapters God giving hope to his people – they do have a future, situation is serious but not hopeless. Now, returns to theme of consequences for their sinful behavior.

Is serious business when God confronts his people this way; yet even though a hard subject, God treats them gently. Can almost hear tone in voice as he pleads with them as one heartbroken by their hurtful behavior. God pulled no punches in first 3 chapters – called them on the carpet for sin at all levels of society. Would be justified in writing them off, ending relationship because of their “breach of contract”. Chooses not to do so, here God reveals what it is in his character, his nature that results in their redemption from ruin.

Prophet gets or tries to get people’s attention – are as focused on own agenda as those who walk into swimming pools, fall down set of stairs, other dangerous things while paying attention to cell phone. Micah’s announcment: “Listen up, God is about to speak”.

A. God calls v.1-2


YHWH himself takes on several different roles here – judge, bailiff, prosecutor for starters – “All rise, court now in session, Sovereign Lord and Judge presiding”

defendants have been summoned to appear before Judge, expected to give reason for their sinful abandonment of God

given opportunity to plead their case, prove before God and witnesses why they should be judged “not guilty”

just as defendants get to present their side, so the prosecutor will declare the charges against them and bring evidence of wrongdoing

God simply because of who he is certainly does not need to condescend in this way – how did he reveal himself to Moses?

“merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” Ex. 34:6-7


Creator calls his creation to view the evidence presented by both sides, then give their own acknowledgment that God is just

might wonder what kind of response would mountains, hills, foundations of the earth give to their Creator – whatever he asked / required of them

no more unresponsive in appearance than God’s people are in reality – they really are as hardened as mountains against God

is also significant that God acts from global perspective – is calling whole earth to act as witnesses to proceedings, witness against defendants

outcome of this court case will have effect worldwide – is intimately connected with full scope of Redemption and Redeemer – remember Mic. 5:2

pretty sad when you think about it – out of entire created order, mankind and some angels are only ones who resist God

serious enough that eternal God brings suit against his people – has a case against them and, knowing God, nothing about it is in question

B. God challenges v.3

find fault with actions

shocking development – Judge comes off the bench, moves defendants over to prosecution table, takes his place as defendant

“Testify against me!” imagine that from the Judge, in this case YHWH himself – not stated in overpowering way but pleading

not begging – pressing his people to think about what are doing, take off their rose-colored glasses, do reality check

begins with how God has acted toward his people – “what have I done to deserve / warrant being treated this way in return”

true and objective answer is obvious – YHWH has done nothing whatever to provoke their rebellion, in fact just the opposite

would be similar situation to Hosea asking Gomer, “what reason did I ever give you to run away, back to old life?”

find fault with expectations

second question the flip side – “what have I expected of you to warrant being treated this way? how have my expectations been excessive or unjust?”

probably much people wanted to say in own defense, much that would be critical of God but… still had a little sense of right / wrong

deep down knew God was right, they were wrong, and it irked them terribly – were more determined to satisfy desires than satisfy God… do what felt good, not what they knew to be right

probably did genuinely feel like God’s expectations were burdensome – was that way because they and God did not have shared goals, were working at cross-purposes

for one whose greatest desire is to serve self, serving God is huge hassle – at same time, know God is right, they are wrong

dead silence in courtroom as God challenges them: “Answer me!” – no one has courage to respond audibly, take up challenge

Note: this kind of scene has practical as well as theological ramifications – know about God’s just character, commitment to justice in society, clear instruction about standard his ministers of justice are to follow

but… in what spirit is justice to be administered? God demonstrates here example to follow – not cold / harsh, instead warmed by mercy and grace

at same time, must not ignore what Bible teaches about that Day, final Judgment Day – will be perfect justice, time for mercy and grace ended at that appearing of Judge

C. God counters v.4

expects Israelites to think seriously, consider and compare what could expect for quality of life / future in Egypt vs. Canaan

since God always has more than simply physical/temporal in view, what could expect as friend of God vs estranged

delivered to new home

especially in light of next verse, far more in God’s mind than simply what he took them from – includes what brought them to

had clearly stated good destination in place for them from time of covenant w/Abram on – integral part of it was God’s commitment to supplying all needs… abundantly

released from debt

their situation: hopeless, in many ways little different from conditions in parts of Asia today – e.g. brick kilns in India

Bonded labour is most widespread in South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan. Often entire families have to work to pay off the debt taken by one of its members. Sometimes, the debt can be passed down the generations and children can be held in debt bondage because of a loan their parents had taken decades ago.” antislavery.org

the equivalent of being able to earn less than minimum payment on credit card – debt amount stays constant or grows

God didn’t give better paying job, even in place with better living conditions – took away their liability for debt, prevented collection agents from having access

designated leaders

graciously gave leaders “with skin on” for them to follow – did not expect them to figure out their future on their own

“Moses, Aaron, and Miriam together, are Lawgiver, to deliver and instruct; Priest, to atone; and prophetess to praise God”

God had made provision for civil, social, spiritual life of his people – unlike other gods, did not leave to stumble around in dark trying to figure out by trial and error how to please

had daily reminders of God’s commitment to care for his people – with all this evidence in God’s favor, what more could children of Israel expect, why would they rebel against him

D. God clarifies v.5

but wait, God has more to say – is further compelling evidence God has taken good care of his people, has acted faithfully and righteously not only toward them directly, also on their behalf

and one more thing: if God could accomplish all this for his people in previous generation, their present dire circumstances not God’s “fault” – not lack of power or interest

sovereign over prophets

Balak, Moabite king deathly afraid of Israelites, what their presence across the river would mean for Moab – engaged prophet-for-hire Balaam to curse Israel

Balaam gave lip service: “as the LORD speaks to me” (Num. 22:8) – heart was in different place, really wanted Balak’s money

long story short: Balaam repeatedly prophesied blessing on Israel, contrary to desire of Balak yet according to God’s plan

interesting parallel: Balaam’s donkey asks same question as God, “what have I done to you?” (Num. 22:28) – people’s treatment of God like Balaam beating his donkey?!

sovereign over princes

not just one attempt by Balak to bring harm to Israelites: tried three different locations, thinking one more auspicious than another – each time YHWH prevailed

Balak so frustrated, finally gave up, sent Balaam home… but God not finished speaking – had more to say

God declared his sovereign rule over all Israel’s neighbors, in process used unbelieving prophet to announce Messiah: ​”I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17)

sovereignly good toward his people

couldn’t have made it much simpler at either departure from Egypt or arrival in Canaan – just walked on, dry feet, no loss of life or property

God intended Micah’s audience to remember all that took place between bookends listed, properly acknowledge God for his righteous treatment, acts of deliverance

God made powerful case for his own righteousness and justice, culpability of his people. Not only had Israelites sinned against God grievously, did so in face of repeated undeserved blessing. And again, remember Gomer – rescued from her life of ill-repute, rescued again and restored to right relationship. In similar way, God had acted repeatedly to encourage his people to renew faithfulness, sending prophets/priests/kings devoted to God and with love for his people.

Keep in mind: God from the beginning has redemption of his people in view, he is actively working all things to that end. Gives hope he will not abandon sinners, let any fall through cracks, allow to wander away and not be restored. Being reminded of God’s faithfulness and goodness should incite us to praise and proclamation – praise him at every opportunity, proclaim truth of his love as shown in the Gospel to all who will listen.

The Ruler of the Kingdom

Micah 5:2-15

Anticipation something Jewish people of old understood – seems like much of their history spent waiting… for God’s promises to be fulfilled. God promised Abraham a land… for his descendants. God promised David a kingdom… for Solomon. God promised deliverance from captivity… after seventy years. God promised Messiah the Prince would come… after seventy weeks worth of years. Micah didn’t know about Daniel’s weeks, did know this Ruler from Bethlehem would not be showing up any time soon. We should be able to relate to Micah – confident Lord Jesus will show up again, no clear idea of when, thinking probably won’t be right away.

Yes, waiting can be hard. But for people of God, never simply a wait with no idea whatever of the next thing. God graciously spoke through prophets in old days, more recently by Son the Lord Jesus – purpose to give his people hope. Think how long, bleak all those years would be without some word from God to give hope. For us, no promise of future bliss leave us thinking “life stinks, then you die”. Loving Heavenly Father didn’t leave his people in that condition, present text one of those provided for both ancient people and us as well.

What prophet tells us about Ruler of coming kingdom unbelievably impressive – every other ruler of every other kingdom in history of mankind pales in comparison. Amazing things would take place under administration of this ruler from otherwise insignificant place called Bethlehem.

A. promise v.2

Micah by inspiration already declared there was kingdom coming, even gave somewhat of time reference – that day, latter days

if a kingdom, must also be a King / Ruler to govern subjects of that kingdom – here are given explicit promise of one-of-a-kind Ruler

Ruler would have significance because of who he was, not where he came from – his hometown of little significance, same likely true for residents

chosen by God to rule on God’s behalf – not someone picked out by people – good thing, their track record not very impressive

also not typical individual – watch time references Micah uses… prophesying 8th century BC, says Ruler will come forth (future) whose origins are from of old, from everlasting

only one kind of individual who meets those conditions – human (will come forth) and God (ancient origin) in same person

this text almost certainly in list of ones Jesus identified to those on road to Emmaus – Luk. 24:27And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

this kind of promise would certainly resonate with faithful followers of God in Micah’s day – a righteous Ruler who brings about what is good and lasting for his people

same true for people of all kinds today – those suffering persecution, others enduring effects of corruption and immorality

B. preparation v.3

some things needed to take place first – God’s people not ready for Messiah / Ruler during Micah’s day, neither rest of world

identified later in this section, all that needed removal in order for people to be pure / holy – exile in Babylon achieved much

God would “give them up”, iow deliver / hand them over to their enemies – periods of hardship one time when what is true, important made clear

thought they wanted to worship idols, had more to gain from false gods than true God – given what they wanted, lived for a time in thoroughly heathen culture, largely isolated from sense of true God’s presence

came to understand futility, extremely high personal costs that accompany living in society permeated with idolatry

same holds for truth – spend time with those who in every part of life are committed to faulty worldview, realize value of truth

imagery Micah uses strongly implies whole process of preparation going to become less fun, more painful right up to final moment

talks in terms of labor and delivery – often hope of newborn baby to cuddle not enough make labor pains tolerable

what God needed to accomplish in his people not going to be very tolerable in the moment even though outcome would make it all worthwhile

God’s plan not only about Jewish people, had Gentiles in view also… and their preparation – Gentiles needed more time to grasp futility of their worldview

had whole range of gods designed to meet all needs, satisfy all desires; had pursued study of philosophy, little more to be added by later generations

were pretty sure by Paul’s day that none of them provided ultimate answers – we know… temple to the Unknown God

C. provision v.4

when time was right for this Ruler to come forth from Bethlehem, would not be tyrant or despot like were accustomed to having

of first priority: acts as shepherd to his people, leading not driving, providing not plundering – governs with majesty and authority of God himself

is in line of shepherds God had sent to lead his people: Moses, 40 years as shepherd in Midian; David, called from tending flock to be anointed next king

makes perfect sense that shepherd/sheep imagery would be strongly present in Jesus’ teaching about himself and his people

is God’s power and strength that enables this one to rule well, provides unlimited resources to meet needs of his subjects

this kind of ruler inspires confidence in his people, gives sense / feeling of security – expect him to do as good shepherd, keep sheep safe and secure from harm

picture painted here more comprehensive than simply nation of Israel – greatness of this Ruler not just local phenomenon

his greatness and authority will be acknowledged and exercised throughout the world – will be some hold-outs, e.g. Assyrians

D. peace v.5

need to read and understand carefully what is promised here: “this One shall be peace”, not “this One shall bring peace”

yes, he will give his people peace, he will bring peace to them, but goes deeper than that: this Ruler will be their peace

he is the one who makes his subjects at peace with God and at peace with one another… because of who he is

he is the one who stands between (daysman) and reconciles because he has paid penalty for sin, thus removes source of conflict, reason for absence of peace

in addition… he will through his emissaries deal with enemies of his people, here identified with Assyria, enemy on the doorstep

under Ruler’s direction, two-pronged approach to deal with hostile peoples – 7 shepherds, 8 princes – both necessary for the health and security of God’s people

shepherds go forth against enemies carrying word of God, the Gospel, sword of Spirit sharper than any two-edged sword

those the Gospel doesn’t conquer restrained by power of sword given to civil magistrate to encourage righteous, discourage/punish evil-doers

E. protection v.6

not intended to be lot of God’s people to go through life in a bubble, nothing viewed as negative getting inside the bubble

conflict ebbed and flowed but was present at some level in every part of Jewish history – is what to expect in fallen world

notice Micah does not say this Ruler will insulate God’s people from Assyrians – says he will deliver from their enemies

several versions: “he will rescue us” – use “rescue” when individual/group is in danger, perhaps already received some harm

enemies will at times cause harm to people of God, maybe even death – so how does that reconcile with Ruler rescuing us

remember how God works – constantly moving his people toward goal of Christ-likeness, uses “good” and “bad” in process

Satan and agents want souls, permitted only to cause harm to bodies – they cause physical death, is really deliverance for believer from this life to next

F. propagation v.7-9

widely scattered – people from Israel and Judah carried into exile: think mostly of Babylonian, large numbers relocated to another nation

earlier exile of Israel much different – Assyrians didn’t keep Jews together in large communities – scattered into many places, many from Judah deported to Egypt

over time Jews did return to land of Israel… but mostly from Babylon – majority of those scattered put down roots, stayed

were not forgotten by God, in fact dispersion an essential element of God’s purpose – God’s people, Jew and Gentile, intended to be light to the nations

especially true of faithful remnant – think ahead, apostle Paul, where he went first in each town: synagogue, fertile ground for Gospel to immediately take root

beneficial influence – good proof text against monastic life: intended to be rubbing shoulders w/all kinds, refreshing like dew

don’t have to live in monastery to act like monk – do business, hangout, be hospitable w/Christians only, avoid unbelievers

all those can be good but remember Jesus ate with sinners – we can do same, safely, when focus on doing God’s business

distinguishing mark – their trust not in horses and chariots, not in man’s solution – trust in their Ruler to shepherd them wherever they are dispersed in world

good proof text against “Rapture’s coming” mindset – wherever God has placed his people, intends them to be productive good citizens and ambassadors for the Gospel

Ruler will make certain that his people prevail against adversaries, overcome enemies – not using military but spiritual means

G. purity v.10-15

this Ruler not interested in trying to build up his kingdom on rotten foundation, putting new facade on deficient materials

methodically strips away everything not consistent with his character and principles / priorities – cut off, destroy, remove

new kind of Kingdom where all that represents confidence in man is removed: military power, material accomplishment, self-government, religious rituals

will be nation of kings and priests, a holy people that Ruler will govern, expecting subjects to trust in him alone for all things

all this take place in very small measure in Jewish history, more fully in Church, anticipates final realization in new earth when kingdom present in its fullness

Meanwhile, are still here, so must have work to do carrying on God’s business until Christ returns. Should do so boldly, confidently knowing advance of Kingdom is certain. Primary task – live as good citizen in Christ’s kingdom, telling all who will listen of our righteous Ruler and hope he offers to all.