25 August – Additional Notes
MICAH 7 – Faithfulness and Forgiveness
Remaining faithful to one employer (through all the ups and downs), or sticking with one mortgage company, one utilities or insurance company for the duration of our adult life, as Mark’s Dad did, is very unusual if not absurd now. The change has happened in one short generation and we could say that we’re the better for it.
But what if the culture of change affects our relationships – our ability to forgive others for being second best; our inability to think how our actions and choices will affect others; or, our ability to trust? [v5-6]
When Micah wrote his book, he foresaw a day of national disaster where the righteous would be swept away, and not one upright person remained. [v1-2] Just like a courtroom situation, Micah puts forward, in his book, a case for the prosecution. In the first third of his book he lists the accusations that include false prophets preaching for money and priests abandoning their love for God. Violence and corruption are the norm while those in positions over others, rule with cruelty.
If this doesn’t sound familiar from our own newspapers, today’s chapter could be a well-known scene for anyone suddenly caught up in WWII; the atrocities of the Rwandan; Sudan or the Sierra Leone civil wars. There’s been enough movies on WWII – or movies like Hotel Rwanda or Blood Diamond – to make us aware of unbridled decline.
What Micah writes could easily be apocalyptic and part of our future where, both hands are skilled in doing evil, rulers demand gifts, Judges accept bribes, and the powerful dictate what they desire! [v3] His vision certainly has a sci-fi feel to it as something that could be part of what’s ahead – especially after Jesus used Micah’s words in v5-6 in His own prediction about our future.[a] It sounds impossible that a man’s enemies could be the members of his own household, until you read books written after events like Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China. How many people in history have stood where confusion reigns [v4] and said, “We never thought it true, not in our lifetime.”
When I read Micah’s thoughts – especially in v2 and v13 – I couldn’t help but think of the movie I Am Legend. It makes me wonder if these Hollywood movie producers are getting some of their ideas from the Creator’s epic storyline. Like Will Smith in I Am Legend, Micah saw a day when humanity would hunt each other with nets. [v2b] Yet Micah didn’t allow what was in front of him, to stop him from looking up…
“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me.” [v7]
So, like all the ancient prophets in the Creator God’s HIStory, Micah again says that – even in the most ominous of circumstances, when all hell breaks loose – the Lord’s grace and faithfulness is still alive. Even when we come under our Maker’s discipline [v8], He pleads our case and establishes our right as one who turns from our wrongdoing. He’ll bring us out into the light to see Him first hand in all His righteousness. [v9]
There will be a day of reckoning. [v10] There will come a time when “…the earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of our deeds…” [v13] In the meantime, and through all the storms, our Maker will shepherd His people. [v14] Just as in the days of Moses, the Creator God’s wonders will once again be seen on earth – just as He did at the time of ancient Egypt. [v15-17]
Having said that, though, He delights in mercy and shows compassion by pardoning. He’ll forgive the remnant of those who are left asking for His faithful forgiveness – no matter how few. [v18-19] So, after all that’s said and experienced in his book, Micah looks up and chooses to finish his prophetic vision on a global note. The Creator God is faithful and shows love. [v20] He’s true to His most ancient promises, even as far back as Abraham where He pledged on oath in days long ago that “all nations on earth will be blessed through him”.[b]
Let me leave you with this question: Who, in all of human history, has ever described a god like our Maker, Father God, who pardons sin and delights in showing mercy? [v18] What god has ever showed us steadfast faithfulness and infinite forgiveness by having compassion enough to “tread our sins underfoot”? There’s no greater “blessing” out there in all the earth for me today, except that all my iniquity be hurled into the sea! [v19]
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[a] Matthew 10:21-22,34-36; 24:9-15
[b] Genesis 12:3; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:8