We have been looking at the prophecy of Micah which helps us understand how to maintain faith while living in times of great wickedness. How can we maintain faithfulness in a broken world? In this final prophecy of Micah, he has declared what God wants in the first eight verses of chapter 6. God is not asking the impossible from his people. God is not asking for a bunch of religious activity. God is asking for their hearts to love justice, show mercy, and walk humbly before the Lord. But now God is going to tell the people what he is going to do. What God says is going to tell us a lot about the character of God. It will also tell us how we are to live during dark days and difficult times.
God Cannot Overlook (6:9-16)
God’s first point is very simple. He cannot continue to overlook all the sins that are being committed. He cannot acquit the dishonest person. He cannot overlook the rich who are full of violence. He cannot forget the lying tongues anymore. The Lord is going to destroy them because of their sins (6:13). One of the problems that we have as humans is that we perceive God’s tolerance as permission. We think because God has not acted that we are getting away with our sins. This is what these people are doing. They do not think that there will be a judgment for what they are doing (2:6-7; 3:11). I want us to see what God says. God says he has seen all the wickedness that is happening. Now he has come to a point where he is going to act against those sins. Sometimes we can so dismayed by all the sins that are going on in a nation. But I want us to see that God sees and is patiently waiting for the people to return to him. Eventually God will no longer overlook the sins of the nation and judgment will come.
Notice how God will begin his judgment against the nation in verses 13-16. God is going to take away their prosperity. They will not be satisfied when they eat. They will try to store up but will not have enough to save. They will plant but not have a harvest. Their labor will be for nothing as all of their economic prosperity vaporizes. The reason is stated again that it is because of their sins. They have followed in the sinning of King Omri and King Ahab. Therefore, everything will be taken away from them. It is important to think about what God says here. Who is in control of the economic prosperity of the nation? Who is in charge over it? Is it the kings of Israel? Is it the people? Is it how hard the people work? Notice that God says he is in control over a nation’s prosperity. Now all the people’s work will go for nothing and there is nothing the kings of Israel can do about it. We will see this even stated by the kings of Israel when we return to our study of 2 Kings. But we need to see that we have no control over the prosperity of our country. Our president nor our Congress has control over our prosperity. We do not have control over our own personal prosperity. God is sovereign over these things. If God wants our nation to be destitute, then that is what he will do. If God wants our labor to cause us to not be satisfied and be unable to store up and save any longer, then he is in control of that as well. We must see God declaring that he determines the wealth of a nation and he determines if there will be fruit from our labors. We must never think that we have the power to control our wealth. We must never think who we vote determines our prosperity. God maintains control over these things.
Look To The Lord (7:1-13)
Micah now speaks up and laments what he sees in the country. The first verses of chapter 7 gives the image of being unable to find any good fruit in the land. The faithful have disappeared and there is no one left who is upright (7:2). The people are killing each other and their hands are skilled in doing evil (7:2-3). Officials are bribed, the powerful do what they want, and justice is perverted justice (7:3). Even the best of the people is like a thorn bush. The faithful have been surrounded by the wicked and swept away. The evil is so great that you cannot trust your friend (7:5). You cannot have confidence in your loved ones or your friends. The son treats the father with contempt. The daughter rises up against her mother. The in-laws are against each other and your enemies are the people living in your own house (7:6). What is the upright person supposed to do when they live in a culture that looks like this? What is to be the response of the faithful when surrounded by wickedness, even within one’s own family? Look at verse 7.
But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 ESV)
The faithful look to the Lord. The answer is not going to come from Micah. He is not going to be able to change this situation. Only God can change a wicked nation. So Micah will look to the Lord. Micah will wait for the Lord. He will look to God to answer his prayer concerning the horrible wickedness in the nation. His hope is in God. This is such an important reminder for us when the culture or the nation falls deeper into wickedness. Our hope is not in a leader, a political party, a movement, or any other group. Our call goes to the Lord to be our hope and our help. You will notice that this is what Micah expresses in verses 8-13.
God is going to be the one to let the faithful rise again. The Lord will be my light (7:8). He will bring me out to the light and bring me vindication (7:9). The enemies who were against him will be covered in shame (7:10). Further, Israel is prophesied as being restored in verses 11-13. The earth will be made desolate in judgment for its deeds. But the people of God will be restored. When a nation is wicked, we look to God to be our vindication as we continue to walk in faithfulness to the Lord. We do not cave into our culture. We do not model our society. Even if we can say like Micah that there is no one left who is faithful and the best person is nothing better than a thorn bush, we will continue to love, serve, and be faithful to the Lord. The righteous will suffer. The faithful will be swept away by the wicked. But we look to the Lord for help and rescue.
I want us to see this hope that we have as it is emphasized in verses 8-9. Notice that the prophet says that he has sinned against God. The faithful are not pictured as the perfect. Micah does not say that because he has sinned that he cannot look to the Lord in hope. Sin does not stop us from hoping in God. Our failures to not keep us from being able to trust in the Lord for vindication and rescue. Our failure and our sinning are not to cause us to turn away from God but to call out to the Lord all the more. Our hope is that the Lord will vindicate his people. The text says that he will plead my cause even though I have sinned against him. What a picture! We can still hope in God even after our failures.
No One Is Like God (7:14-20)
Finally, God wants us to see that there is no one like him and that is why you can put your hope in him. In verse 14 Micah calls for the Lord to shepherd his people and show them your wonders. Do great works for your people again just like you did in the past when you rescued them from Egypt (7:15). Let everyone see the power of the Lord and turn to the Lord in fear and awe (7:16-17). Now listen to the final words of Micah as he tries to impress us with who God is.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? (7:18)
We have seen in this prophecy that the people are worthy of God’s wrath. The people are worthy of God’s judgment. There is wickedness and injustice everywhere. But who is a God like this God who pardons our sins and forgives our transgressions? We have a God who does exactly the opposite of what he deserve! Listen to more about his character in verse 18. He does not stay angry forever but delights in showing faithful love. God does not delight in anger. He does not want to have wrath toward us. God delights in showing mercy. God delights in being faithful to his word and faithful toward us. He will have compassion on us again and tread our iniquities underfoot (7:19). He takes our sins and walks on them. God is pictured as pulverizing our sins into the dirt, destroying them under his feet. Further, he throws our sins into the depths of the sea. What a wonderful picture! Have you ever lost something in the ocean? You are not going to find it again. I have lost my glasses in the ocean before. When you cast something into the depths of the sea, it is not coming back up again. Our sins are pictured as permanently lost in the seas. This is the God we have. God does not say that you have no sins. Rather, God says that he sees our sins but he tramples them under his feet and casts them into the sea. Your sins are gone, never to be seen again.
This is the faithful, steadfast love of the Lord. Any time we doubt that God tramples our sins under his feet or doubt that he casts our sins into the sea, we are to remember that God is faithful. God always does what he says. What has God said about himself as Micah ends his prophecy?
God says he cannot overlook the sinning of our nation and the sinning of people forever. God can take away our physical blessings and take away the prosperity that we have because of the nation’s sins. God is in control of what will happen to our nation. If our nation continues its path of ever-increasing sinning, then our judgment will be certain and it will not matter who our leader is or what economic plans we think we can put forward. God controls our destiny. Therefore, we need to look to be faithful and point the world to look to a faithful God who loves them. All of us are under the condemnation of our sins. Even Micah says that he is worthy of judgment and will bear the indignation of the Lord because of his sins. But God will pardon those who come to him. God will show unfailing love because he delights in showing his faithfulness. He will show you compassion and throw your sins into the sea if you will come to him. Who is like the Lord who shows compassion and forgiveness to those who have sinned against him? We serve an amazing God!