Posted in deliverance, judgment, micah, old testament, wrath

Micah’s question: Who is like God in His judgments?

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The faithful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains. (Micah 7:2 NIV)

Some thoughts on Micah’s entreaty regarding the moral breakdown of Isaraelite society, after listening to James Montgomery Boice’s exposition of Micah 7.

God has stored up His wrath on sinners for His great Day. We know this because it is promised repeatedly throughout the Bible. But that does not mean He is not judging now, also. He does send His wrath onto the earth when He judges nations. (Romans 1:18). He is supreme in His holiness, and one of those supreme attributes is that He judges now. When He judges a nation, its rulers, and its people,  He shows us that the wages of sin really is death. (Romans 3:10). On a more individual level or regarding a family unit, when we go our way He begins to show us the frustration of sin in our lives, and eventually if someone is unrepentant, destruction comes- ether now or later.

Micah begins his picture of judgement on national Israel by showing a three-pronged cycle.

1. God judges moral breakdown in a society. “Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets.” (Micah 7:2b).

2. It continues with a breakdown in leadership. “Judges accept bribes. Rulers demand gifts. The powerful dictate what they desire— they all conspire together.” (Micah 7:3).

3. His judgment finalizes with breakdown in the family, the most personal and foundational of all. Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips. For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies are the members of his own household. (Micah 7:5-6)

The cycle Micah describes above begins with a general immorality in a society, descends to more personal immorality such as corrupt leaders, rulers, and judges. It ends with neighbors betraying one another and one’s own intimate family members being an enemy. A society exhibiting that kind of judgment is truly at the end of its national life.

We see that last-stage internal family betrayal as an indicator of a society’s moral breakdown is repeated in Matthew 10:36, “And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”

Societies break down, that happens. What Micah is doing in recording his own day’s societal breakdown is that he was showing the breakdown against God’s moral excellency. In chapter 7, Micah is talking about the judgment of God upon a rebellious society. What makes this so significant, is that this is an aspect of God’s judgment in the here and now (of Micah’s day, of Jesus’ day and of our day and of the future day) and not only a future Day of the LORD. It’s like this- if a society refuses God who made them and blesses them and protects them, then breakdown will follow. This promise of wrath revealed upon corrupt and rebellious societies is mirrored in the New Testament cycle of Romans 1:18-32, a cycle which I’ve mentioned often.

When you see this kind of breakdown is should be evident to the people as to what has happened in their national life. In Romans 1 it effectively states that when they would not have God, He would not have them. When a society rejects God, the decline of national life is inevitable. They reject God, He rejects them. They rebel against God, He gives them over to rebellion. After a while it is impossible to detect who is doing the rejecting, as the very sin a society chose becomes their very own judgment.

Micah asked, Who is like our God in His judgments? and it is good and wise thing to remember and ask ourselves in this day.

Yet for all the reality of wrath and judgment, there is a promise of deliverance! There is no one like God in His judgments, yet there is no one like God in His deliverance. God judges, but He delivers and when He delivers, He shepherds! He is a good God who cares for His flock. Micah was speaking specifically of Israel and to Israel here, look at the promise of future deliverance of the nation God has elected!

You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
You will be faithful to Jacob,
and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
in days long ago.

He is a God who fulfills His promises! What do we need to do in the meantime, as we wait for the glorious return?

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.
(Micah 7:7)

Posted in fig tree, micah, prophecy

Under the fig tree

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Here is something pleasant in store during the Millennium:

but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:4)

In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree. (Zechariah 3:10).

Gill’s Exposition says of the Micah verse,

It was usual for persons in the eastern countries to sit under vines and fig trees to read, meditate, pray, or converse together, where they grow very large, as were their vines; and even with us they are frequently raised and carried over supporters, so as to be sat under; and of fig trees, we frequently read in Jewish writings of their being very large, and of their going up to them, and praying on the top of them; and of sitting under them, and studying in the law there.

What a promise to Israel! S. Lewis Johnson preached on the verse in the sermon Jehovah Supreme from His Temple in Zion

Therefore, if someone in Micah’s day had pondered what the prophet was saying, “Zion shall be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap or ruins,” he would have known, had he pondered those promises correctly, that while Jerusalem does face a time of chastisement and a time of judgment, that’s not the end for Jerusalem. Jerusalem has a glorious future.

The ruin of Jerusalem and their present disobedience as a nation cannot negate the covenantal pledges that God has given in the Abrahamic promises which were renewed to Isaac and to Jacob. They cannot be annulled because God has given his word that they will be fulfilled. And remember our great biblical principle: the God of the Bible cannot be frustrated insofar as his purposes are concerned. He will fulfill all his purposes. So, when we come to the fourth chapter, we come realizing that Jerusalem becoming a heap of ruins is not the final account of the future of Israel.

One of the many blessed benefits of the fulfillment of the Micah verse will be as Johnson explains,

And furthermore, when the decisions are rendered, the media will not turn to the republicans or the democrats and give the opposite side giving them an opportunity to quibble over decisions that are made by the high authorities. And that in itself is enough of a relief for us to say, Hallelujah when we think about the kingdom of God upon the earth. We’re not going to be told, Now what do others say about this? But when things come from Jerusalem, that’s the final word. He is the arbiter of peace.

LOL, no more talking yelling heads at Fox News or CNN. Here is another blessing the prophet Micah foretells:

The most significant thing about this of course is the freedom from fear that we finally have. But of course this can only be fulfilled by the prior condition of the opening lines of this chapter. And of course, the prior condition is submission to Yahweh, Israel’s God, because that is implicit in this whole account. All of these blessings that he unfolds here are blessing that proceed out of the fact that the day is coming when men are going to submit to the God of Israel or Yahweh.

What a day that will be.