The high standard of God, requires a true Christian life to be one of continued repentance, humility and mortification of sin before Him. It is a life of continual and unwavering love for, and faith in God; always honouring Him, as a living testimony of His glory; always worshipping Him in obedience, praise and thanksgiving. Children of God must continually remain hopeful and joyful; holding to the expectation of a day of glorious redemption, in which each and every true believer will be fully and finally acquitted, and their sin abolished forever.
May we remember the promise of God in First John 1:9 which says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For our denial of our sin, not only deceives ourselves, but reflects dishonour to God. Thus, First John 1:10 continues: “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
In my prayer, God reminded me of His faithfulness and compassion, giving me hope through the prophetic Word of Micah 7:1-20, which I now share with you:-
Micah 7:1-7 reads:
“Woe is me! For I have become as when the summer fruit has been gathered, as when the grapes have been gleaned: there is no cluster to eat, no first-ripe fig that my soul desires. The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand. Put no trust in a neighbour; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
This is an intercessory prayer of the prophet Micah, who stood in the gap for God’s people, identified himself with them, and took up their reproach. Micah bemoaned himself as he lamented, that he lived in ripening times of destruction and calamity, in which many would suffer. The prophet described the universal degeneration of God’s creation, where devout and merciful people are dead and gone; and good and righteous people are few and hard to find. He added, that the sin of Israel, saw no comfort or satisfaction in families or relationships. The contempt and violation of those in leadership authority and in the courts of law in Israel, compromised justice; resulting in widespread dishonesty and national corruption. Due to the ungodliness and wickedness of the people, Micah and the prophets of the day, predicted that the day of the Lord would come, and on that day, God will pour out His universal judgement upon them.
In his counsel to the people: “Do not trust in a friend”, Micah was referring to the times of apostasy, in which no one may be assumed to be trustworthy. He further described the iniquity of Israel; their deceit and dishonesty which destroyed both families and the core of the Israeli society. The state of such lawlessness, in all relations of life and the persecution against God’s people, together, characterize the time before the Messiah comes to punish the ungodly and save Israel.
On seeing no peace or comfort in Israel, Micah looked to the Lord as Israel’s only hope. For Micah saw the true hope of His grace and His mercy, while waiting on God, for his salvation. These are, in effect, Micah’s article of faith for times of crisis, specifying the vision, attitude and faith of what every believer of God should be.
Verses 8-13 continues:
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgement for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will look upon her; now she will be trampled down like the mire of the streets. A day for the building of your walls! In that day the boundary shall be far extended. In that day they will come to you, from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the River, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their deeds.”
Here, the Prophet Micah spoke in the name for Israel (the people of God), addressing Babylon, her triumphant foe, who rejoiced at the destruction of Jerusalem and the calamities which were brought upon her. He stood in the gap for Israel in prayer, in the proper attitude of confession and repentance, acknowledging her sufferings brought upon her because of her sins. Micah held out great faith in the Lord and expressed hope for Israel, that God would deliver her from evil as he sought God’s forgiveness, mercy and righteousness; declaring that Israel will accept and bear the judgement of the Lord for her iniquity. He had faith in God that Israel would overcome darkness and that her enemy, Babylon, would be put to shame and punished. Israel would wait on the Lord patiently, trusting that God would eventually, bring her out of captivity. Micah believe that Israel would eventually triumph over her enemy, and Jerusalem would eventually be rebuilt, even after a long period of desolation, and that the boundary of the city would be extended to contain the returning people from all the nations. Thus, there is hope in the great day of the redemption of God, in which He will gather his elect from the four winds – from the four corners of the earth.
Yet, it was all fulfilled in the spirit. Jerusalem was restored; the people were gathered, first from the captivity, then to Christ; and yet the land was again made desolate through the fruit of their wrong doings, through those who rejected Christ; and it is presently so, until this day.
Micah 7:14-20 says:
“Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, who dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them marvellous things. The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their mouths; their ears shall be deaf; they shall lick the dust like a serpent, like the crawling things of the earth; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds; they shall turn in dread to the LORD our God, and they shall be in fear of you.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.”
Micah prayed to God, using the symbolism of that of Jesus Christ, His Son who is the true and good Shepherd of Israel, committing His church (His flock) to Him for His mercy, care and guidance. Micah knew that there was still a long way to go, and a long time to go, before God’s final deliverance and restoration of His people; a people who needed to face chastisement, suffering and captivity. When we read what God had directed Micah to ask for in the name of His people, there is no doubt that God wished to honour them by His grace and mercy. Just as in the closing of v14: “… as in the days of the old”, God answered the prayer in v15: “As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them marvellous things.”
We may confidently take God’s promises as real answers to the prayers of faith, and embrace them accordingly; for with God, saying and doing, are not two different things. In answering Micah’s prayer, God said He would protect, save, defend, and work miracles for them in their restoration.
This prophecy of mighty miracles (miracles such as those at the time of Israel’s exodus), is probably best interpreted messianically (in Christ, the Messiah’s Second Coming). The deliverance of Israel out of Babylon is to leave a great impression upon the neighbouring nations, for it will both honour and glorify God and His church. The nations will be ashamed when they compare the divine deeds of the Messiah with their own power. The immense compassion of God and His will to forgive and forget sin, in covenant faithfulness, and to all generations, demonstrates the amazing grace, mercy, power and glory of God and the establishment of His eternal Kingdom.
Let us not miss the opportunity to receive God’s precious and free gift of life, eternity and salvation. Jesus is the mighty God and Saviour; pardoning iniquity, transgression, sin, and saving all those who come to God through Him. Blessed is the Word and the Name of the Lord! Amen and Amen!