A Voice in the
order the book
Chapters - Topics:
Re: Explanations (Micah 1)
This being a "walk-thru" series, not a detailed "book study", we are going to pick-n-choose through the over-all major topics of the book. We will not touch everything in the book. It is quite possible that some of the details, like city names, only had meaning to Micah's immediate hearers, as they would have been contemporary and familiar with detailed events of their day. Just as a stranger, when reading about Bismarck, ND might not be familiar with Menoken or Sweetbriar; or in reading about Spokane, WA might not know about Hillyard, Browne's Edition or Mead.
On other occasions we have noted how Revelation ch12 is a complete history of Israel. If the "woman" is also seen as Eve, and the "rest of her seed" as the Church; it might also be said that ch12 is a synopsis of human history, satan's warfare against mankind and God, and God's preservation of Israel, the birth and prophesied rule of Messiah through Israel, and satan's persecution of the saints. All within the nutshell of one chapter. As all the judgments are prophesied in the context of the rest of the book, an explanation of where the struggle began, and who the players are, and ultimately 'why' the judgments are happening. It's God's "payback" time. (Rev16:6)
In a sense, Micah is another such book. Much of it is contemporary to Micah's day; but much is also prophetic, both to Messiah's two comings as well as God's promised final judgments. It addresses Israel's historic unfaithfulness, but also God's restoration. And also, there is much that, although covering history and prophecy, is also applicable to today. Micah is another example of how prophetic writings cannot be laid out as a timeline, grammatically, by chapter (i.e. this chapter -- then: the following chapter). It is more, as we speak often, of a jigsaw puzzle: When we open the book, it is like flipping the box over to pour out the pieces on the table and turning them all face-up. We see all the pieces which, if they were all put together, would reveal the complete picture. But they have been all mixed together. A piece from the upper-left corner of the picture might have poured out directly adjacent to a piece that will end up in the lower-right corner. But as they fell out of the box, they are sitting right next to each other. Micah is another such book as that.
Or we might look at the book like a family gathering. The children are now adults, the siblings all gathered together with the parents. There is some current family 'situation', perhaps the reading of a will after a death, that needs to be addressed, as plans for the future are being made. But over the years there have been disagreements and arguments of this nature or that. There have been some fallings-away. Some are not on speaking terms with others. And so, as future plans are discussed, in light of current animosities, somebody harks back to the past to 'remind' everybody of some incidents that happened in the past, when the siblings were all little children, which 'caused' or 'led to' the current state of affairs. So now, with all these various time-frames pulled together in everybody's minds, now what do we do for the future? This is what the will says. Micah is sort of like that.
If we expand our understanding from Micah, and outward, the way the book
is written, we can also understand how NO POINT in this earth's 7000
history is totally isolated from ANOTHER POINT in history, but what they
are inter-related. As Peter speaks of the scoffers in the "last days",
he points the reader back to Noah's flood. (2Pt3:3-6) In the last days
they proclaim "evolution", rejecting God's opening salvo, "In the
beginning God created..." (Gen1:1) For every effect there is a cause.
In historical terms it is 7000 years worth of cause-and-effect. Micah
addresses history and prophecy in this way specifically with Israel.
To whom is the opening proclamation?
What is it to "tread" something? It is not merely to 'walk' and go from point A to point B. As this is being written 'recently' I did some work on my driveway, re-sealing the asphalt. There were also some dips (depressions) that got filled with this 'stuff' from these buckets I got at the store. But the stuff didn't want to set up very fast, for some reason. So I was out there repeatedly to 'push' with my hands, and then later I would 'tread' them with my feet, to see if it was still soft or not. In that case it was a 'test'.
This summer they rebuilt one of the arterials next to my work. Part of the process was to 'press' the newly poured and spread gravel, prior to re-paving. They had their big heavy rollers that also had a shaking mechanism. Sometimes the shaking was so great, in our buildings it was like an earthquake, and objects would slide around on shelves. Pressed down and shaken so it won't sink later and create early potholes. If there are any "high places" they get squished down level with the rest.
When a farmer builds a fence with wood posts, the dirt is poured in, and 'tamped'. In other words, the dirt gets 'pounded' to compress it, to make the post stand firmly.
This is what God is coming down to do. He's coming to do some 'pounding' and 'stomping'. There's a lot of pride rebelling away from God, and they worship at the "high places"; they need to come down. Micah's contemporary Isaiah says,
"For thus says Jehovah of Hosts: Yet once more (it is a little while), and I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all the nations; and the desire of all nations shall come. And I will fill this house with glory, says Jehovah of Hosts." (Hag2:6-7)
"And the mountains shall melt under Him, and the valleys shall burst open, as wax before the fire, as waters poured out on a steep place" (vs4)
Why? Why this -global- judgment?
Yes, God's judgments are against the whole world for their sins. But most specifically due to the "transgression of Jacob". When God uses the name "Jacob" prophetically, it usually is addressed to 'rebellious' Israel. Jacob was the one who lied and supplanted his brother Esau and stole his blessing, made deals with God, and spent a good deal of his life whining about how rough things were...which, in many cases, were of his own making.
The two kingdoms are indicated by their capitols, Samaria and Jerusalem. What did Samaria do under its first king, Jeroboam? In order to keep his subjects from worshiping God (at Jerusalem where God had commanded), with the potential that he would lose his kingdom fearing they would revert their allegiance back to Jerusalem, he set up some golden calves. Baal worship. And throughout the northern kingdom's history, the judgment of their kings was (continually) that they followed in the idolatry of "Jeroboam the son of Nebat". (1Ki16:26, 22:52, 2Ki3:3, etc)
And as we look at Judah, its downfall was the same. Not only did Jeroboam lead Israel astray; but their idolatry seeped into Judah, as well. Judah, at least, had a few good kings, like Hezekiah, Josiah, etc.
But the blame is not solely Jeroboam's. Paul tells us that even though God brought -all- of Israel out of Egypt, most of them died in the wilderness (1Co10:5); due to unbelief. (Heb3:19) Joshua exhorts Israel to "put away the gods which your fathers have served" (Josh24:14); even as they are having military victories and taking conquest of the land. This idolatry even went back to Jacob's wife, Rachel. (Gen31) The book of Judges is all about Israel continually falling away to idolatry, God sending enemies to discipline them, and then raising up judges to deliver them; over and over. And even Solomon, the one whom God "loved" (2Sa12:24), married many pagan wives who turned away his heart from God. (1Ki11:1-2) David was of a perfect heart before God, but due to all his bloodshed of battle (2Sa7) it was Solomon who built the temple. But even in that, Israel's heyday was marred, even in the building of the temple, with the pagan pillars Solomon erected in front of the temple (1Ki7:21); something God had commanded Israel NOT to do:
You see, like we introduced: We've got the past explanations from Jacob and Rachel, but then Solomon and Jeroboam. There is that 'current' generation as Micah is proclaiming as "they have gone...into exile" (vs16b) But seeing as how God's "treading" is yet future (as we can read from Isaiah, Joel, Zechariah, Revelation, etc), do we see the Past-Present-Future aspects of this passage?
Israel, the northern tribes (Samaria vs6), were taken captive because,
But like those pieces of the puzzle on the table, here's a little piece wedged in-amongst the rest:
God's judgment will be against the whole world. Perhaps in reading this some would be tempted to "blame Israel" yet again? It's -always- Israel's 'fault'! But let's never forget that "all the world" is "guilty before God" (Rom3:19); that there is "none righteous" (Rom3:10), and "there is no one who does good" (Ps14:3)
True, the world's judgment might be taylored around Israel, but each one is judged for their own sin. (De24:16)
And the "wages of sin is death (promised judgment), but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord (hope of Salvation)" (Rom6:23)
So, even though God's wrath will be poured out such that there is no other time in history like it: "Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it...Jacob's trouble" even so the promise is tucked in there, next to all those other puzzle pieces:
Re: Ahab's Legacy (Micah 2)
In reading these two verses did you recognize the story of Ahab, Naboth and Jezebel? (1Ki21) If you're not familiar, please take a moment to read it.
But let's back up a minute, first. Ahab was known as a wicked king. In the OT people were called by their own name -and- the name of their father. David is often referred to as the "son of Jesse". Ahab was the son of Omri, and followed in his father's footsteps. Apparently his father was wicked enough that Micah speaks of the "statutes of Omri" (6:16)
Omri started out as a military leader, the king was deposed, and after some political struggles, eventually became sole king of (northern) Israel. And it says of him, "And Omri did evil in the eyes of Jehovah, and did worse than all who were before him;" (1Ki16:25) He also continued in the "ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat" (vs26); remember? The golden calves.
So, with such an evil king, his son Ahab comes along, and is even more evil, still. It says...
But Ahab (an evil person, carrying on his father's traditions), married Jezebel (a pagan princess/goddess). According to Baal worship, much having to do with worship included fertility rituals. Temple prostitution and whoredom was the norm. Remember the incident where it says Jezebel put "paint" on her eyes. (2Ki9:30) She was the "Tammi Faye" of the day! But unlike Tammi Faye, in today's vernacular, Jezebel was likely "one hot babe". According to Baal worship, who knows how many other men she was with, besides her husband! She is so much the epitomy of evil, that she is also referenced generically/prophetically:
And then we get to the Naboth story. Naboth has this piece of land next to Abah's, and Ahab wants it. But in obedience to God's law about the right of property ownership and inheritances, he refuses to sell it to Ahab; whereupon Ahab goes into a pout. Jezebel, being the "you go girl" sort of female she was, "devises and contrives" with evil plotting and scheming, to have Naboth falsely accused of some trumped up charges of treachery, has him off'd, and then promenades in to Ahab: Stop your whining! The property is now 'yours'! I got it for you!
Possibly the first recorded case of "eminent domain". And from what I read of many cases, today's circumstances are often not a whole lot better than what Naboth was offered.
So as Ahab goes to inspect what Jezebel has connived to get for him, Elijah has been sent by God to confront his evil.
In other words, just because they live in Israel, adhere to Judaism, follow the great rabbis, carry around their Simchat Torah; that doesn't mean they are Israel of the "faith of Abraham" (Rom4:16)
Paul also speaks of the wickedness of, and separation from the one "NAMED a brother" (1Co5:11)
Jeremiah chides Israel who was going into the -building-, after committing all sorts of wickedness, and then "come and stand before Me in this -house- which is CALLED BY MY NAME"... It's "OK" for us to do all these abominable things. (Jer7:10)
You see...what we do here from these pages is no different from what God's prophets did before Israel.
Today's so-called 'church' is EVERY BIT LIKE ISRAEL was during Ahab and Jezebel's day! In fact, Ahab was so wicked, and his evil so historic, that 200 years later -as- Israel was being carried away to Assyria, Micah was -still- using his example. Israel of Micah's days was the same as during Ahab's day. That's why God was judging them.
And the so-called 'church' today is just like Jezebel. The ones calling to the pastors and prophets are chiding God's servants like Micaiah: Go easy. Don't give us any "hate speech". Speak "pleasant things" to us. Don't tell us we are sinning and deserving of judgment; and need to repent. We like the sensuous slitherings of our impudent "hot babes" who fulfill our lustful desires. Don't be so judgmental. Join us in our gray areas. Agree to disagree...agreeably. Let's agree on the essentials; and tear down the doctrinal walls of the rest of all those 'nonessentials'.
And so today's prophets do like they did in Micah's day...
All a person has to do is to "prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed" (Jer23:25); and then they get on TV and proclaim a message of "planting seeds" (to this ministry); or "bring your tithe into the storehouse" (ours) and I'll pray some "blessings" for you. Now, watch me scrunch up my face, squint my eyes real hard, make some hand gestures... Perhaps I'll slap somebody upside the head, kick them in the stomach (because God 'told' me to), grab the frail leg of an old lady and pound it on the platform. See? I'm a prophet! And today's false prophets fly around in private jets, have a multitude of mansions, fame and notoriety.
And Jesus said: "Remember the Word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master." (Jn15:20a)
When Micaiah gave his "hate speech", Ahab commanded him to be locked away in prison. (1Ki22:26-28) Ahab went to battle and was killed (vs34-35), according to God's Word through faithful Micaiah.
As Elijah was on the run from Jezebel, he bemoans, "I alone am left, and they seek my soul, to take it away" (1Ki19:10,14) God assures him that there are yet 7000 who have not bowed to Baal. (vs18) But among Israel's millions, what is 7000 amongst all them? Now during Micah's time, the nation is being carried into exile. There's nobody left. It's like a 'bald' head with no hair. (1:16)
But what did we see last chapter? The same promise here. When a rancher has gathered together all his cattle or sheep, and they are milling about in the stockades and corrals, there are SO MANY of them together that they roam around, bleating, jostling against one another.
This is the promise to Israel, even though (now) in exile, with no hair on that bald head...
Re: Rulers & Prophets (Micah 3)
All I have to do is make everybody feel good, pump them up, charge them up and "call out, PEACE!" (vs5)
God accepts you "just as you are". God wants you to be wealthy and prosperous. (so you can give me a big chunk of your 'blessings'; your "seed" money)
God's blessings are upon us (me: because of your donations)! There's a sweet sweet spirit in this place! Tribulation? Shmibulation! Repentance? Shmepentance! P'shaw! Such vengeful doctrines of hate! We are not judgmental here. You don't have to worry about any sort of standards for getting into Heaven! Don't you know, we are building God's "kingdom" -here-... and when we have got things all setup, Jesus will come a join us in our muck! (oh... don't forget to send in your monthly contributions to further "the kingdom". The one -I'M- building... for myself) (vs11)
What's that? Do I hear a lone voice of dissent? WHAT??? Someone dares to challenge -MY- authority? Who said that? Come here! I have convened a council against you. I hear you are going around my back in subterfuge, trying to depose me from the pulpit? That you are not obeying the "chain of command". That you are criticizing God's "anointed"? (1Ti5:19) Don't you know that I have God's authority to "rule" over you? (1Ti5:17, Heb13:7,17,24 kjv)
Oh my, PB! You've just left off preachin' and gone to meddlin'! You better be careful, or God will "smite you down"!
Well... this is what Micah says.
"Cry aloud, do not spare; lift up your voice like a shofar, and declare to My people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins." (Is58:1)
MOMENT OF TRUTH:
These false prophets are NOT righteous! They are NOT good! They do NOT love you! They do NOT care about your eternal well-being!
"abhore justice and pervert all equity" (vs9)
Their works are "with iniquity" (vs10)
They take "bribes" (vs11)
Whereas, in the previous two chapters we saw how God will restore Israel "together like sheep of the fold" (2:12); there is no such promise here for the false prophets.
--without vision (vs6)
--without divining (vs6)
--it will be dark for them (vs6)
God will not answer them (vs7)
And because of the evil of the "heads" (leaders) (vs9)...
Re: Mountain of Jehovah (Micah 4)
What have we been seeing? Those claiming to belong to God, rebelling against Him. Those in leadership condemned for feeding themselves, and not the sheep. Israel going into exile. And the shepherds and their works: destroyed. Israel's existence like the strands of hair on a bald head. (Don't you just love word pictures! 1:16)
But as we see the overall totality of human history (remember how we explained it in ch1?), at the very end things will be glorious. Micah is somewhat in the 'middle' of human history. But at the 'end'... That's what "latter" means. KJV says "last" days. Either one is correct. It's like the caboose. The engines are at the front, the train cars are in the middle, and at the end; the latter part of the train, the last car; that's what this chapter is about.
Jeremiah pronounces "woe" to the "shepherds who scatter and destroy the sheep of [God's] pasture" (Jer23:1) But even as that chapter denounces the false prophets, the promise is given:
Jerusalem will once again be a place of glory. Notice that it says people will "flow" to Jerusalem. They will be streaming there to learn of God. And it doesn't sound like something God -forces- upon them. The "many nations" will decide amongst themselves, "Come, let us go..."
Jerusalem will finally be everything God had intended. We won't look up all the references now: But God had intended for Israel to be a light to the nations. Jerusalem was to represent God's glory to the peoples. But even as Solomon built that first glorious temple, its design began in compromise with his pagan pillars. When his wives thrust his heart away from God, the temple service became compromised. When the world saw Jerusalem they saw glory. But that glory was tarnished. Evil kings and false prophets did not present God's Holiness to the world. Why should they come to Jerusalem? It was compromised to be like their own pagan religions!
But in the coming kingdom things will be different. Even the horse bells will be labeled "Holy to Jehovah" (Zec14:20); the same thing that used to be on the high priest's crown (Ex28:36); but was desecrated.
The difference? Instead of some symbolic -man- being in charge, it will be Messiah, Himself. Notice that it is He (Jehovah) who is teaching; not the scribes. Rather than merely some great king, the people will...
And He will "judge between many peoples, and will decide for strong nations afar off" (vs3)
"Of the increase of His government and peace upon the throne of David there will be no end; and upon His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will accomplish this." (Is9:7)
While there are many today saying "peace, peace, when there is no peace" (Jer6:14,8:11); and while such desires are certainly noble amongst the naive; those who today use such slogans use it to "devise" other agendas of global dominion. They seek to usurp for their own glory that which is not yet -the- time. Those presently in global power know that the naive will willingly accept what is presented as "peace". They think that by merely laying down one's own arms, and stopping making weapons, in and of itself will -cause- peace to flood the earth. Trouble is, those with evil intentions love to take advantage of the naive, take over their freedoms and subjugate them into servitude. There will not be peace as long as man is in charge. Peace will not happen until the final devastations have taken place: Armageddon in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. (Re16:16, Joel3) and Messiah comes as King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev19)
But when Messiah is ruling, then there will be peace. Land owners will not need to worry about Ahab (Jezebel) coming along and exercising eminent domain.
"And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets." (Zec8:5)
Remember that verse?
HELLO!!! Isn't that what God did in Eden with Adam and Eve?
Well, man now has thousands of years of getting it wrong. So now, if only Jesus Himself would be in charge. After all those years of failure, humanity has "learned its lesson", and will "be good from now on", if only Jesus Himself is guiding us, and satan is locked away.
Precisely! That's what Micah ch4 is about. Answering that as-yet unasked question. War has been eliminated. According to Isaiah, etc, aging is a thing of the past, people are living to ripe old ages again. Diseases are being cured. (Re22:2, Ezk47:12)
So, where does satan come up with his followers again?
That excuse is just that, an excuse: "The devil made me do it". Satan
will be nowhere to be seen or felt, mankind sees God's goodness
transforming the face of the earth back into beneficence, and -YET- will
reject the Most High, and chase after their vanities.
This is what Israel has been doing, chasing vain idols, and is going into exile. So for now...
But God's global purpose is also manifest. The time of "Wrath" is designed around Israel, but it is for the whole world. The nations think they are surrounding Israel, to push her "into the sea". Let's sit around and make Israel suffer, watch it, and enjoy it (sending candies to each other).
Israel may have been in disobedience. But as God redeems them, He is also going to use them as His threshing machine.
"And I will consecrate their gain to Jehovah, and their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth" (vs13b)
Re: Messiah (Micah 5)
But, what's this bit about "strike the Judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek"?
Israel looked for a Messiah who would give them a once-for-all victory over their enemies. Someone like Saul and David to go and "fight our battles" (1Sa8:20) But, as we have seen in the previous chapters, they were so steeped in idolatry, they did not see the need, nor recognize the passages indicating Messiah's suffering. I wonder -what- they thought it meant, that He would be struck "with a rod on the cheek"? It's such a short little statement. Did they ignore it?
But they fulfilled it by 'doing' it to Him. And so, perhaps that's why this passage goes on worded as it is...?
But folks, this passage is about judgment and restoration.
It will be the "sound of Jehovah repaying His enemies" (Is66:6) (Recommended for the reader to read the entire chapter of Isaiah 66)
Messiah was not -born- in Bethlehem. Well, certainly His incarnation was born there. But that was not His origins. Jesus explains, "Before Abraham came to be, I AM" (Jn8:58) His "goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity" (vs2)
Many passages (and we won't look them up now, you can do so if you wish) speak of old things as being 'ancient', from the days of "antiquity". But Messiah doesn't even 'originate' from antiquity.
Another example of how the NIV robs Messiah of His deity, by saying "from ancient times" Even the NASB gets this one right. No, Messiah is not the "old man" (upstairs)! He is ETERNAL. He is not "old"; He is timeless. (whatever that means in our finite minds! Perhaps we should be saying ALL-time? He encompasses it all!)
Messiah will "stand and feed His flock" (vs4) Unlike the false prophets who "chop" up the sheep for their evening stew (3:3), Messiah has "given" His life for the sheep (Jn10:15), and now when the birth has been accomplished, Israel having been re-born...
THIS SHALL BE PEACE: (vs5)
Assyria is going to again come into the land, as prophesied, for 42 months. (Re11:2) But then "seven shepherds and eight anointed men" will be raised up. Who are these? I don't know. But under the leadership of these 15 Assyria and the "gates of Nimrod" will be laid waste.
Remember the "explanations" from ch1, how nothing in history is totally disjunct from the rest of history. We haven't heard the name "Nimrod" since Genesis. Revelation speaks of Babylon the Great. Well, Nimrod was at the very beginning of that legacy. God is not merely judging the 'present' (in that day), but He is judging the WHOLE WORKS; that which began it, that which continued and perpetuated it, and that which ends it. It's all one historic 'whole'. (Recommended: to re-read "Wrath" from the Covenants/Dispensations series [link]
And: God is also using Israel as part of the instrument of that judgment. I don't know quite, in practical terms, what it means, that Israel is throughout the world "like a lion among the flocks" (vs8) The way this is written, it would almost seem like a pre-ordained, pre-planned 'strategy', much as one force might 'embed' its special-ops in-amongst the enemy, so that at the time of battle, they rise up out from the middle of the enemy, to effect their decimation from 'behind the lines'. After all: what is the totality of the "purposes of Jehovah" as Israel is commanded to "rise up and thresh"? (4:12-13) Israel's exile was in judgment. But in the way that God causes "all things to work together for good...to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom8:28) was their exile -also- God's pre-planning to "embed" His people amongst the enemy for That Day? Hiding them "in plain sight"? Like in battle, the pre-arranged signal is given, and those embedded inside the enemy, "rise up and thresh"! Wherever you are, start 'stomping' and crush the enemy! ??
And so naturally, it is time to leave off preachin', and do some meddlin' here a moment. It is a wonderful thing, that God has brought Israel back to their land as a nation, as we see today. God has blessed them, even though they are still in unbelief; they worship Judaism and Kabala, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They observe their Simchat Torah celebrations, but do not obey God's Word written therein.
For as many Jews as live in Israel, there are yet more still living throughout the rest of the world, who have not participated in Aliyah (return to the land). There are some (I suspect: well-intentioned) who have 'ministries' to persuade and help world Jewry return to the land. In some of those cases (that I know about) they also have some very messed up doctrines about various things. When I would read their writings, my spirit never quite set right with their emphatic -push- to get -ALL- JEWS to return to the land "NOW". Almost as though, God's blessing and restoration of Israel would not happen until all Jews are in the land. With the same fervor that others believe restoration won't happen until in obedience they build the (physical) temple. As though God is waiting for -them- to build the temple, or return all the people home, and -then- God will step in and work.
As I have read the vehemence with which they want to bring ALL JEWS HOME, -NOW-...for "preservation"...my mind always goes to Zec13:8-9. In seeking to bring ALL JEWS HOME, they are actually setting up so that more Jews might be killed during Jacob's Trouble. The more that are in the land, the more get killed. But Isaiah ch66 is an account of God bringing Israel back to the land -after- the Trouble (vs19-21, 49:22-23)
So... is God 'protecting' Israel by hiding them amongst the nations, as well as the aforementioned 'strategy' for that final conflict?
Thus... to suggest that, in some cases, it could be 'wrong' for Jews to
be encouraged to make Aliyah...AT THIS TIME? Perhaps?
Idolatry will be removed from Israel (that was the whole point initially)...
"And it shall be in that day, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no longer be remembered, says Jehovah of Hosts. And I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land." (Zec13:2)
"And I am exceedingly angry at the nations at ease; for I was but a little angry (with Israel), and they helped further the evil" (Zec1:15)
Re: the Argument (Micah 6)
Since Israel isn't bringing their case, here God lays out His case:
--I delivered you out of Egypt, from cruel bondage where you had been crying out to Me because of the oppression of the taskmasters, and gave you freedom. (vs4) Was that wrong?
--Balak, king of Moab, hired Balaam to curse you. I turned the curse into blessing, and destroyed them. (vs5) Through that whole episode, God's righteousness was manifest, when God judged the whoredom of Baal Peor (Num25)
--Is it all the laws regarding animal sacrifices that is the issue? (vs6-7) Is it the killing of animals that is at stake? If we do enough killing, will that please God? To show how much we 'mean' it, shall we kill our babies on the altars, after the manner of the pagans?
What is it that God wants from man? What is pleasing to the Most High? Ritual? Go to church, read my Bible, pray, witness to so-many people, deprive myself of some pleasure in order to make my life austere?
--Did God establish the short ephah? Did God establish assorted weights and measures? (vs10-11) Should God declare to be "good" the means by which people cheat each other? When God commanded...
"You shall have perfect and just weight stones, a perfect and just ephah; that your days may be prolonged in the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you." (De25:15)
A man who does wickedly, his works are characterized by:
Remember Ahab's legacy? Ahab and Naboth's land which he stole. Israel's leaders were corrupt; the people followed in kind; so now they receive "reproach". Period. (vs16)
Re: Prophet's Perspective (Micah 7)
When the man of God ministers God's Word, it is 'draining' to the prophet. It used to be said that a preacher, preaching God's Word on a typical Sunday morning from the pulpit, the energy drain of that half-hour sermon was equivalent to any other normal 8-hour job. From personal experience I think it might really be more like a 10-12 hour shift. An evangelist speaking before thousands of people, with the energy and force that is done, is even more. And then consider somebody like Elijah before those 400 prophets of Baal and all that happened that day, and then he is suddenly on the run for-his-life! Gets to the cave after several days of travel. His 'pantings' are to be understood: I alone am left, and they seek to kill me, too.
Not only is there a physical drain, there is also emotional energy. The spiritual intensity, working upon a person of flesh and blood, takes 'it' out of the prophet. In a very real sense, as Jesus spoke of the Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep (Jn10:11), there is an aspect where God's faithful prophet, when fully giving of self to the ministry of God's Word, a bit of that prophet's soul is given. In a very real sense, bit-by-bit, the prophet gives his life for the proclamation of God's Word. It is very much as Jesus said, about "taking up the cross" to follow Him. Paul said, "I die throughout the day" (1Co15:31)
If you are blessed to have a congregation where you fellowship, and your group has a truly Godly man as pastor who faithfully proclaims the Word... do not begrudge him his Monday "day-off". He -needs- it!
In addition, the prophet does not give his soul just in preaching, but also in preparing. For preachers today we have the written Scriptures to study, as the Holy Spirit puts together outlines and the words of written narratives.
In addition, when proclaiming against evil, the Lord often 'shows' the prophet the evil about which he is proclaiming. Ezekiel was given visions of what Israel's leaders were doing with their idolatry:
How does a prophet speak with full conviction against wickedness, unless he -knows- the wickedness about which he proclaims, and loathes it just as much as God does? But as the (righteous) prophet is exposed to all that wickedness, his own heart being tuned to seeking after God's holiness and righteousness, it becomes a -burden-. It's like a policeman I chatted with one time, who used to be in the child-abuse department; after awhile it was more than he could take...ALL THAT EVIL...that is done to kids! So he now works a different department. God's prophet does not have the luxury to 'switch' assignments. And so the evil drags him down. And Micah wails, "Woe is me!" I'm all drained out! I...just...CAN'T...go anymore! As Paul also was, "burdened exceedingly, beyond strength, so that [they] despaired even of life" (2Co1:8)
The 'best' of the evil ones are like a thorn bush. And put them all
together, it's like the whole world is like a "hedge of thorns". But
they will receive their punishment. (vs4)
The prophet will also often have family issues. Remember how Jesus said,
But Micah also speaks to the prophet about his wife:
But one's own spouse? There was a time years ago I would have use a big "?" question mark. Now, my agreement with Micah is with an "!" exclamation point.
Just because you marry somebody in the church, doesn't mean they know the Lord. Even if they are the daughter of one of the church elders, her claims to being a "Christian" might be false. And if you eventually figure it out, that she does not know the Lord, you do not divorce her; although she might divorce you. (1Co7) In Micah's day most marriages were arranged by the parents, so there was always the probability that Believers were regularly unequally yoked to unbelievers. Joseph and Moses were given pagan wives. Hosea was even commanded by God to marry a hussy.
For a minister to -be- married to an unbeliever might not be sin. Although, he might have sinned when he married her, if it was his choice. If it was, he will "bear the indignation of Jehovah...until He pleads my case and executes justice for me". And I understand when Micah says, "He will bring me forth to the light; I shall see His righteousness" (vs9)
But this passage is a case-in-point for the comment I have made on several other occasions. MAN-OF-GOD: if God called 'you' to service, He called 'you'... not your wife. God's call upon your ministry is not predicated, nor do you make plans, based on "pillow talk" (the passage says "lies in your bosom"; same thing). Your topics for pillow talk may cover many vast array of topics... BUT NOT your message from God. NOTE THIS WELL! That is between you and God. It is God's message -to- 'you'. You do not "run-it-by" your wife, for her 'approval', or whatever else.
In today's climate where it seems everybody is a ministry "team", and where the world at large promotes the militance of the feminist agenda, this may be a tough pill to swallow. Churches usually call pastors (and their wives).
Besides: LOVE IS BLIND! As this is being written (recently) there was one of these prime time news hour "who-done-it" stories. To make a long story short, the law, after several years, finally caught up with a couple who had murdered a fellow in Alaska. The female was now married to a doctor in the Seattle area. The doctor totally baffled by the murder conviction of his wife; who was now living an upstanding life, and involved in all sorts of charities, etc.etc. After the verdict was handed down, the doctor was militant about how his wife "just couldn't be guilty"; and he was going to raise up a defense case to appeal. He was BLIND to his wife's true nature. Previously she had been a stripper, with everything that goes with that life. And for anybody who is an observer of people, it was obvious that she was SOME PIECE OF WORK. But her present husband is blind. 'Can't really blame him; he -loves- her!
Now...just supposing, for the sake of argument, that such a female managed to get married to a man whom God called to prophesy His Word? Does the man confide God's Word to -such- a woman during pillow talk? Does he place her up on the platform as part of his "team"? The man might think he married a "sweet thing", but what was her past, that she is cleverly concealing from him? And let me tell you: you can be married to somebody for many years and not know certain things.
And yes, and you may also have quite -the- 'clan' when it comes to in-laws. Some of them may be quite the "piece-of-work". Their ugliest comes out -BECAUSE- you are God's servant, and they do not know Him. They will accuse you of all sorts of things, including not treating their daughter/sister right. They will accuse you of being "judgmental" towards them, when perhaps you do not even utter a peep regarding their lifestyles. Remember, there is "enmity" between the world and the Believer. (Rom8:7, Ja4:4) And that wife with whom you share pillow talk, even though claiming to be 'with' you, may actually engage in subterfuge with them.
So, in reality, even though you have that person with whom to engage in pillow talk, you may actually be totally 'alone'. Thus:
Actually, God -does- have lists...which don't always quite agree with the ones the pharisees would judge everybody else by. But the only reason God has His lists is because of sin. Originally, other than that one tree Adam and Eve were not to eat of, there were no rules. Life for man was the same as the birds that flutter "to and fro" (Ge1:20) Is it right or wrong for the birds to flutter over here, over there, over somewhere else? That's the way God made them. And as I watch the birds around my house, I 'understand' why God made them that way. It is a 'delightful' thing to watch. And I truly believe God intended the same for man originally.
But man sinned. He overstepped certain bounds. He disobeyed. So there were consequences. Death. For Israel there were consequences, captivity into exile.
But God's original intent was to delight in His creation, and to have fellowship with man. Reading through the OT we see God using terminology like Husband and Wife, the relationship between Himself and Israel. Thus, He was always also pleading with Israel...
"For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abounding in mercy unto all those who call upon You." (Ps86:5)