Monday, February 22, 2016
Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem
“And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.” (Micah 3:1-4)
The political, religious , and business leaders of Israel were responsible for the moral and ethical standards in the nation. They should not think they were immune to judgement for their sin. They hated those who did what was right, and protected the evil, ripping off everything the good people had and leaving them destitute and starving, with no more concern than a person cutting up a piece of meat to cook it. When God’s judgment falls, and they are calling for help, God will not listen to their pleas any more than they have for other people.
“Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.” (Micah 3:5-7)
The preachers and religious leaders were teaching the people to sin. When they took advantage and hurt them, they blamed them for getting upset, and anyone who didn’t donate to them freely was attacked. As a result, things would get so confused they couldn’t make their plans or predict what was going to happen. Their errors would become known and people would lose confidence in their recommendations and promises. They will reach a point where they are afraid to make predictions, because God doesn’t do what they expect.
“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” (Micah 3:8)
Though they didn’t want to hear him, Micah was full of God’s Spirit, empowered to teach them about justice, or fair play, and to warn them about their sin and disobedience to God.
“Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.” (Micah 3:9-11)
The leaders hated real justice and fairness. They deliberately perverted the laws, favoring one side over the other. They allowed or caused people to be killed to gain power and depended on sinful enterprises to keep them in power. Laws, political decisions and court rulings depended on bribes and lobbying efforts. The churches and religious organizations adapted their practices on what got people to give the most, and the preacher’s messages were based on what the people wanted to hear. All of this was based on their claims to be serving God, and statements that God was going to protect them so that nothing bad would happen to them.
“Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.” (Micah 3:12)
Because of their attitude and sin, Zion, the political and religious district of Jerusalem would be plowed like a field. The main part of Jerusalem would become a ruin with heaps of rubble everywhere. The temple mount would be as barren as God had made the places of idolatry in the forests.