Micah 1 – Judgment is coming!

Micah 1 – Judgment is coming!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
October 2, 2016

New York City tailor Hercules Mulligan had the singular distinction of saving George Washington’s life—twice in fact. A Revolutionary War patriot and spy, Mulligan learned of two British plots to ambush the general and alerted him to the danger. Mulligan also persuaded founding father Alexander Hamilton–originally a supporter of British colonial rule–to promote the cause of American independence. (Huffington Post) In history it is often those who are not well-known who make a difference in the lives of those around them and for those who follow after them. The Minor Prophet Micah is such a person.

Little is known about Micah. Micah is a shortened form of the name Micaiah which means “Who is like Yahweh?” In Jeremiah’s day the elders referred to Micah and quoted him in defense of Jeremiah’s message of judgment on the nation. Micah was from Moresheth, a tiny Judean town about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem near the Philistine city of Gath. Like his contemporary Isaiah, Micah prophesied about the Assyrian destruction of the Northern Kingdom and the later defeat of the Southern Kingdom by the Babylonians. Micah prophesied in the eighth century BC. Micah’s message is one of warning to a nation that judgment is coming, let’s see how it fits for our lives today…

READ: Micah 1

God speaks to those who are willing to listen and he uses those who are willing to be available and God will judge those who refuse to do his will. Micah teaches us that…

I. God judges his people when they stray from him! (Vv. 1-5)

The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah–the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, O peoples, all of you, listen, O earth and all who are in it, that the Sovereign LORD may witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads the high places of the earth. The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope. All this is because of Jacob’s transgression, because of the sins of the house of Israel. What is Jacob’s transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah’s high place? Is it not Jerusalem?

1. We learn right away that the message of Micah is not his own: “The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth”. And we have a pretty good idea of when it occurred because it was “during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” and so it was during the 8th century BC. Micah’s vision was from God and concerned “Samaria and Jerusalem” the two capitals of the divided Israelite nation. Something was spiritually rotten in Israel: “Hear, O peoples, all of you, listen, O earth and all who are in it, that the Sovereign LORD may witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.” The Assyrians were on the advance and unknown to them they would be used by God as his judgment on all the Israelite people. Micah gets very descriptive in relating the judgment to come; “Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads the high places of the earth. The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope.” Micah is describing the onslaught of Assyria to that of molten lava flowing from an active volcano! God’s judgment was coming! Why would God want to judge the Hebrew people? Micah writes that “All this is because of Jacob’s transgression, because of the sins of the house of Israel. What is Jacob’s transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah’s high place? Is it not Jerusalem?” Jacob represents the Northern Kingdom and Judah the Southern Kingdom. One had divided its loyalties both spiritually and physically and the other had fallen into a false pretense of following God. They both had left their first love. God judges his people when they stray from him!

EXAMPLE: What do loving parents do when their children keep wandering off when they are shopping? They frantically look for them, sternly talk to them, and disciple them for doing so. You know what; God does something that is similar. Like the lost sheep in Jesus’ example as our shepherd, God looks and looks until he finds us and brings us back to him. If we continually wander or deliberately wander away he disciplines us. Micah teaches us that God judges his people when they stray from him!

God will not be ignored nor will he be laughed at by those who say they love God but their actions continually say otherwise. They are committing spiritual adultery. They will reap what they have sown. Micah teaches us that…

II. God judges spiritual adultery! (Vv. 6-9)

Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations. All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used. Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. For her wound is incurable; it has come to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself.

1. Adultery may be an “old fashioned” concept to some, but God still views it as sin! God judges Israel for its spiritual slackness and he begins with its worst offender Samaria, “Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations.” Like the shattered lives of families, children, and others left in the wake of sexual adultery, spiritual adultery brings about the utter destruction of those who practice it. Right down to their foundations! When God’s people try to keep one foot in the world while thinking they are living for God, they are dreadfully wrong. Even some of the people and things they hold dear will suffer because of their spiritual carelessness. God tells Micah, “All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.” When God’s people commit adultery God considers it prostitution therefore these things will be destroyed. God is a jealous God and will not allow his children to sell themselves into sexual slavery that ends in spiritual death. He is always saddened when he has to discipline his people and this is why God tells Israel, “Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl.” God is also depicting how his people will cry out because of their condition. Like a ruined city where only the animals of the night inhabit, nothing will be left of Judah or Samaria. “For her wound is incurable; it has come to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself.” Micah teaches us that God judges spiritual adultery!

EXAMPLE: It makes me cringe when people come to me wanting to get married after they have lived together out of wedlock. Few understand that they will suffer emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically because of their poor choices. Just because one thinks something is perfectly okay to them because they are “in love” does not make it perfectly okay with God. He sees adultery as a deliberate alienation of affection only to satisfy one’s lust. Micah teaches us that God judges spiritual adultery!

There is nothing worse than someone who causes God’s children to stumble. Jesus would declare, “It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:2 NIV) Micah teaches us that…

III. God requires repentance when we sin! (Vv. 10-16)

Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah roll in the dust. Pass on in nakedness and shame, you who live in Shaphir. Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; its protection is taken from you. Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem. You who live in Lachish, harness the team to the chariot. You were the beginning of sin to the Daughter of Zion, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you. Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath. The town of Aczib will prove deceptive to the kings of Israel. I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah. He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam. Shave your heads in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourselves as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile.

1. Micah used several clever wordplays to describe the desolation the Assyrian invasion would bring to Judah’s cities. He uses the words of David when he did not want the Philistines to be glad about the Saul’s death: “Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all.” And he foretells repentance from people as they would “roll in the dust” and “Pass on in nakedness and shame, you who live in Shaphir.” And there would be no safe place for them to run to for help, “Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; its protection is taken from you. Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem.” There always comes a time when a person, even a child of God, can go too far and God’s judgment will come and no relief will come. Believer’s are saved by grace and are safe and secure in God but this does not give them a license to keep on sinning. Paul would tell us not to let sin reign in our “mortal bodies so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life… For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14 NIV) There is no escaping God’s judgment, “You who live in Lachish, harness the team to the chariot. You were the beginning of sin to the Daughter of Zion, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you. Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath.” “Parting gifts” means betrothal gifts, like a father gives to his daughter when she marries. God sees us as his bride. Similarly Jerusalem would “give” Moresheth Gath to the Assyrian king. And in reference to David escaping to Adullam, God’s people would try to escape to there as well, “I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah. He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam.” However, if we repent we still may suffer the consequences but we will be restored, “Shave your heads in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourselves as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile.” We must not forget that God requires repentance when we sin!

EXAMPLE: We have forgotten that the spiritual wages of sin is death. However, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV) God is indeed gracious to his children, but he will not be mocked. When we sin those we love will face the consequences of our sin but we must return to him. John also wrote, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 NIV) The truth of God can’t exist where there is sin, and we must repent otherwise, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1:10 NIV) Micah teaches us that God requires repentance when we sin!

Conclusion:

God judges his people when they stray from him! God judges spiritual adultery! God requires repentance when we sin!

This article is copyrighted © 2016 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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