Friday, February 26, 2016

The Believer In A Time of Judgment

Micah 7:1-20

“Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.” (Micah 7:1)

Micah describes himself like a hungry person in fall after all the crops have been harvested.  Birds and animals had already gathered the gleanings of grapes and other fruit, and there was nothing with which to satiate his hunger. 

“The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.  That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.  The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.” (Micah 7:2-4)

The entire culture was rotten and no one tried to do what was right.  They were constantly killing and taking advantage of each other.  The evil was accepted , with corrupt politicians and judges accepting bribes and powerful men able to get almost anything they want done.  The best and most honest will take advantage if given an opportunity, like carrying a piece of rose bush in your pocket.  The guardians and policemen will be troubled  by the things that happen

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.  For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.  Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:5-7)

One dared not trust the advice they were given, even by friends.  Secrets one told a friend or mate were likely to be used against him.  The sons had no respect for their fathers, and the daughters constantly rebelled and blamed they mothers for their problems, even suing or killing them.  Mothers in law and daughters in law made no effort to get along, and the worst enemies were members of one’s own family. 

“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.  I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.  Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.” (Micah 7:8-10)

Though he served the Lord, Micah lived among the wicked people and would be affected by the things that they experienced.  When those things happened, his enemies should not think he was as bad as the rest.  Even at the worst times he would have the Lord as his light.  Knowing his own sin he would accept God’s judgment, trusting him to deliver him.  Those enemies that have made fun of his trusting God will be destroyed and he will survive to see it.   Micah was a figure for what Israel could expect. 

“In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.  In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.  Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.” (Micah 7:11-13)

One day God’s judgment will be ended, and Jerusalem rebuilt.  People will come back from all the countries they have been driven to when that that happens.  In the meantime, however, the land of Israel will be deserted and unoccupied as a result of the behavior of the people. 

“Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.  According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things.” (Micah 7:14-15)

Micah prays that God would deal with Israel like he did when they came out of Egypt.  They had gotten used to living on their own land and not answering to God.  They needed to experience the struggles before they took the land, conquering the Land of Gilead and taking the Land of Bashan. 

“The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.  They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.” (Micah 7:16-17)

When Israel sent the spies to Jericho, Rahab told them all the people were terrified because they knew God was going to give Israel the victory.  When the Lord returns as King and reclaims Jerusalem, the nations of the world will have that same awareness of His power.  They will do everything in their power to escape his judgment, fearing the consequences of drawing his attention, like a snake hiding in the dust or a worm crawling out of a hole to get something to eat. 

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.  He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” (Micah 7:18-20)

There is no other God who is willing to forgive deliberate sins and not hold the actions of our ancestors against us.  He doesn’t hold grudges, because he loves to give mercy.  He will consider our feelings and bring our sins under control, taking them away and sinking them into the deepest sea.    He will keep the promises he made to Abraham.   

While this prophecy was specifically to Judah, it relates to Christian today, as Galatians 3:6-9 explains.  “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

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