Posts Tagged ‘Micah’

The 12 Verses of Christmas #3

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Micah 5:2

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: )

Luke 2:4

It’s always interesting to see a prophecy in the Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament.  This is the prophecy that foretold the place that the Saviour would be born.  If for no other reason, I would think a person would be forced to believe the Bible just because of all of the varied prophecies from the Old testament that He fulfilled.

Bethlehem was a small, seemingly insignificant place.  It would not be the place that people would expect the King of the earth, the God-man, the Christ-child to be born.  It was “little among the thousands of Judah…”  It was not the capital city.  It was not the biggest city.  But it was the city that God chose to be the location for the birth of His only begotten Son.

While we might consider the location of the Saviour’s birth to be insignificant, there is nothing insignificant with God.  Every detail was planned.  There would be no mistakes.  Little Bethlehem was the place that God had chosen for His Son.

The story of the Saviour on Earth would begin in the lowly town of Bethlehem, in a manger.  The amazing part is that all of this was foretold hundreds of years before.  The Bible is an amazing book, filled with glimpses of the Saviour on every page.

Who Is A God Like Unto Thee?

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.

Micah 7:18-19

These are some of my favourite verses in the entire Bible.  They ask a good question: “Who is a God like unto thee?”  That truly is a good question.  Is there any other “god” out there like God?  Is there any other “god” out there who would “pardon iniquity?”  Most other “gods” would seem bent on vengeance and judgment.  But not our God.  He “delighteth in mercy…”  Think of that!  Not only is God longsuffering and gracious, but He even “delights” in having mercy.  He wants to have mercy on us!  He doesn’t forgive us and have mercy on us out of a sense of duty, but He is happy to forgive us and have mercy on us.  What other “god” is like that?

As I have said before, I am ever grateful for a merciful, forgiving God.  If our God did not delight in mercy, I would have been cast off long ago.  I am grateful that He is compassionate.  I am grateful that He “pardoneth iniquity.”  I am grateful that, as these verses say, He will “cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”  What a wonderful thought!  Those black sins that stain our minds and our hearts will be cast into the depth of the sea!  Those humiliating failures will be in the depth of the sea; put there not by us but by the God Who “delighteth in mercy.”

Is there any other “god” who could “subdue our iniquities?”  Our fleshly sin nature is strong.  We can not defeat it alone.  But He can help.  Our God can subdue our iniquities.  Can any other “god” do that?  There is no God like unto Thee!  What a tremendous thought!

A Tough Pill to Swallow

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.

Micah 7:9

It is our human nature to want to always stand up for ourselves and defend ourselves whenever we find ourselves in trouble.  It starts when we are children and we try to find somebody, anybody, to blame when something goes wrong.  If we can’t find someone else to blame, we at least try to spin the situation so as to put it in as positive a light as we possibly can.   It is a very, very difficult thing to admit that we are wrong.  And it doesn’t get any easier as we get older.  We still don’t like to admit that we were wrong.

Micah says in this verse that he will “bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him…”  He has sinned, and is apparently being chastised by the Lord.  And instead of trying to justify himself or make excuses for his sin, he says that he will bear the indignation.  While being chastened for our sin is a tough pill to swallow, it is a necessary one.

There is a reason for Micah patiently bearing the Lord’s indignation.  The end of the verse tells us that, once the chastisement is over, “he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.”  If we will admit that we have sinned, ask the Lord for mercy and forgiveness, and wait on Him, He will bring us back to the light.  And we will behold His righteousness.  Sometimes admitting that we have been wrong is hard, but think of the beauty of the Lord that we will behold because of it.

The Difference

Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.  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.

Micah 7:7-8

I think that there is an important principle regarding the difference between a Christian and his “enemy” found in verse 8.  In this verse, Micah tells his enemy to “rejoice not against me…”  Christians are often mocked for their belief in the Bible and their faith in the Lord.  But our enemies are told to not rejoice against us.  The reason is simple:

1. “When I fall, I shall arise.”
-Christians still have a sinful flesh nature and will never be perfect in this life.  They are going to stumble and fall from time to time.  As is the non-Christian.  The difference is that the Christian will get up again.  Proverbs 24:16 tells us that “…a just man falleth seven time, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”  The just man is going to fall (and he is going to fall more than once), but he will get back up.  The wicked just falls.  Our enemies might try to rejoice when they see a Christian fail, but what they don’t understand is the fact that a Christian will “arise.”

2.”When I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.”
– Proverbs 4:19 says “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”  The wicked will never have light.  They stumble continually in darkness.  The Christian, even when it seems that they are “in darkness,” have the light of the Lord to guide them.  The Psalms describes the Bible as “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.”

The difference between the saved and unsaved is simple: the saved have Jesus Christ and all that He is, a helper and a light.  What a wonderful blessing!


Woe is me! …

The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood…

That they may do evil with both hands earnestly…

The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge…

Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide…

For the son dishonoreth 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.

Micah 7:1-6

Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

Micah 7:7

Yesterday, we looked at the verses that showed us just what mankind is.  It was a depressing look.  Thinking about the depravity of man will quickly cause us to exclaim, with the prophet: “Woe is me.”  But the story doesn’t end there.  The next verse says that, in light of all of the problems with man, we desperately need to “look unto the LORD.”

It is because of the sinfulness of man that we will not put our confidence in man, but in the “God of my salvation.”  We can not always trust our fellow man.  Our fellow man will disappoint us.  God will never disappoint us.  If we wait for our fellow man to deliver us, we will never be delivered.  God is the God of our salvation.

Man will not always listen to us.  Our friends and family have their own problems with which to deal and can not always focus on helping us.  God will always listen.  As Micah says in verse 7, “my God will hear me.”

We need to pay attention to who we are looking to.  If we are looking to people, we will get verses 1-6 and we will exclaim, “Woe is me!”  If we are looking to the Lord, we will get verse 7, and we will also exclaim, “my God will hear me.”

The Nature of Humankind

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.  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 watchman and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.  Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth shut 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.

Micah 7:1-6

In these verses, we get a glimpse into humanity.  There are many who would try to convince us that man is naturally good and that we are always improving and getting better as people.  But the Bible would tell us otherwise.  The Bible would say that man, in his natural state is wicked and evil.  The Bible would describe mankind as these verses describe him, and when we look at the world around us, it would seem:

“The good man is perished out of the earth.”

“…there is none upright among men”

“…they may do evil with both hands earnestly”

“The best of them is as a brier”

“…the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge”

We can see “sons dishonoring fathers” and “daughters rising up against mothers.”  We have been disappointed by those around us.  We have even been disappointed by those closest to us.  When we look at those things, we can surely say with the prophet: “Woe is me.”  Some would have us believe that man is basically good and that he is getting better and better.  But the Bible paints a different picture of man.  Fortunately, that’s not the end of the passage.  We will look at the next verse tomorrow.

Eating But Not Satisfied

Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.  Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.

Micah 6:14-15

These are sad verses.  The Lord tells His people here that they are going to “eat, but not be satisfied,” they are going to “take hold, but not deliver,” they are going to “sow, but not reap,” and they are going to “tread the olives, but not anoint with oil,” among other things.  In short, everything they work for will be destroyed.  They are going to toil and work without seeing any benefit from it.  All of their work will be for naught.  What a sad way to live.

The reason for these things is found in verse 12: “…the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.”  They had rejected God and become wicked.  After pleading with them to return and being rejected again, God had no choice but to judge them.  And these verses are a part of their judgment.

As I read this passage, I couldn’t help but think of all of the people who live like this even today.  How many people are out there who “eat without being satisfied?”  How many do everything they can to find peace and contentment, but never can?  How many try to take hold of something, only to find that it will not help them nor deliver them?  That is a sad way to live, but many do.  Many walk in darkness.  What are we doing to bring those to the Light?  We know the answer.  We know that people do not need to eat without being satisfied.  We know that Jesus said in John 6:35 “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger…”  Let us always try to bring people to Him!

What Does God Want? (The Answer)

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Micah 6:8

In the previous verses, which we looked at yesterday, we found the prophet asking a question of God.  He wanted to know what would please the Lord.  What could we possibly give or do to please God?  Would sacrificing animals or even our children atone for our sin or appease God?  Of course not.  So many people and religions through history have vainly tried to reach God by a series of mechanical rituals.  None of those things will do.  What does God want?  Fortunately, God tells us exactly what He wants in this verse:

“…what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

That is what God wants.  He wants us to “do justly.”  He wants us to do right.  He wants us to obey Him.  There is nothing wrong with that!  We should all be striving to do right all the time.

He wants us to “love mercy.”  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I love the mercy He has shown me.  I love the fact that God, in His great mercy, sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.  I am thankful that He has mercy on my when I stray from Him and don’t obey Him.  Do we truly “love mercy?”

He wants us to “walk humbly with our God.”  It seems that the issue of pride and humility keeps coming up, no matter where you are in the Bible.  He wants us to be humble, and to remember that He is God and we are not.  And He wants us to walk with Him.  Can you imagine that?  The God of Heaven and Earth wants us to walk with Him!  What an honor!

Many people think that God wants something that is impossible for us to give.  In reality, these things aren’t that difficult.  And they are pretty simple.  Do justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God.  Let’s do them!

What Does God Want? (The Question)

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the most high God?  shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?  shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

Micah 6:6-7

These are questions that men from all ages have asked.  They are questions that people ask today, whether they think about them or not.  The age old question is this: what does God want from us and what does He expect from us.  “Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God?”  is the way the verse starts.  How do we approach God?  That is a question that many religions around the world ask and try to answer.  Some say that we approach God by being a good person (or bringing our own good works and our own righteousness).  Some say that we approach God by doing all of the things that leader of the religion tells us to do.  Some say that find God within ourselves and that getting closer to God is actually just a journey of self-realization.  Some say that we approach God by denying ourselves things, some even going so far as to advocate self-beatings and things of that nature.

The writer of this book offers a few possibilities: maybe burnt offerings.  God did command the Israelites to have sacrifices of burnt offerings.  But then it goes on to ask if the Lord would really be pleased even with “thousands of rams.”  Would a bunch of cattle really please the Lord? Not really.  Would rivers of anointing oil satisfy God?  Of course not.  God owns all of the cattle already and He created the oil.  He doesn’t need things like that.  The second verse goes so far as to ask if He would like a sacrifice of our firstborn.  Sadly, many cultures throughout history have tried to get to God in this way.  But God doesn’t want those outward shows of devotion.  He wants our hearts, and our obedience, as we will see in the next verses.

What Have I Done Unto Thee?

Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’s controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.  O my people, what have I done unto thee?  and wherein have I wearied thee?  testify against me.  For I brought thee out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

Micah 6:2-4

This book was written about a thousand years after the events that the Lord mentions in these verses.  In that thousand years, the people had drifted away from the Lord and had started worshipping idols.  They had strayed far, far from the Lord and judgment was coming.  But in verse two, the Lord says that “he will plead with Israel.”  He is still going to plead with them to return to Him before the judgment comes.  And He asks them two biting questions in verse three: “what have I done unto thee?” and “wherein have I wearied thee?”  He then tells them to “testify against me.”

God offers the Israelites an opportunity to air their grievances against Him.  What has He done to them?  Has He hurt them?  Did He do evil in delivering them out of their slavery in Egypt?  Did He wrong them by redeeming them and providing for them in the wilderness?  Was it bad of Him to give them a land “flowing with milk and honey?”  Did it make them angry that He gave them chance after chance to return to Him?  Maybe they weren’t happy with His longsuffering and mercy.  These questions should have reduced the people to tears and turned them to immediate repentance.  But it didn’t.

When we stray from the Lord, I can imagine Him asking us those same questions.  The next time we find ourselves not doing what He wants us to do, we would be wise to consider these questions.  Hopefully our answer will be different.