Confess! – Micah 2
By Pastor Lee Hemen
October 16, 2016
All of us have likely heard the truism, “Confession is good for the soul.” It’s an old Scottish proverb but there is a word missing. The proverb actually reads, “Open confession is good for the soul.” Perhaps it supports open and honest confession from one caught in their transgressions or it could come from Catholic guilt. I believe its roots come from Jesus who declared, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32 NIV) King David declared, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”– and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalms 32:5 NIV)
Micah teaches us that confession is good for the soul; not just for individuals but for nations and its leaders as well. The Hebrews had forsaken their God, their faith, and their own people for selfish gain. Micah wanted to restore them before God brought about his judgment. The sins of Judah mentioned in the following verses break the Mosaic Covenant. Therefore the destruction coming on them was justified. Their only cure was to be restored through confession; let’s discover how this could occur and if it is important for us as well…
Today’s believers no longer can take the high road of non-involvement in our world. We see all around us the results of a holier than thou attitude that has brought about the ungodliness in our society. What is the answer? Micah related that…
I. God’s people need to realize the consequences of their sin! (Vv. 1-5)
Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance. Therefore, the LORD says: “I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity. In that day men will ridicule you; they will taunt you with this mournful song: ‘We are utterly ruined; my people’s possession is divided up. He takes it from me! He assigns our fields to traitors.’” Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the LORD to divide the land by lot.
1. Interestingly Micah was not speaking to the spiritually “unwashed” in these verses. The fact is he was addressing his own people for their spiritual corruption! The sins in these verses address the violations of Mosaic Law! He tells them, “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds!” These “godly” people lay awake to scheme and plan their sin while in their beds at night! And then “At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.” In their blatant and crass materialism they craved other people’s “fields and seize them” even their “houses” and they were so corrupt they would “defraud a man of his home” and others of their “inheritance”! Wow! Would God allow this ungodliness of his people who are called by his name to continue? Micah says, “NO!” “Therefore, the LORD says: ‘I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity. In that day men will ridicule you; they will taunt you with this mournful song: “We are utterly ruined; my people’s possession is divided up. He takes it from me! He assigns our fields to traitors.’” What could the people do? In Micah’s day the judgment of God was certain. His people needed to return to him and the only way he could get their attention was to hold them completely accountable for their action. If they plotted to rob people, God would use others to take their material possessions. The warning is implicit for us today. If we do not return to God he will use our own sinful lifestyles against us! He warns them “Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the LORD to divide the land by lot.” Their system of laws would be destroyed by those who did not care. Sound familiar? God’s people need to realize the consequences of their sin!
EXAMPLE: America is suffering from the political choices people have made in the past: A huge debt, the largest unemployment and under-employment in our history, and the breakdown of our civil and moral code. We now have two Presidential candidates who have horrendous character flaws. Whether you want to believe it or not they reflect the people they represent! America no longer has a moral or social conscience. What needs to occur? I believe that first and foremost God’s people who are called by his name must return to him! And the first step in doing so is to realize that we are the ones who have brought America to this immoral time in history. I believe, like Micah taught the Israelites that God’s people need to realize the consequences of their sin!
There is a heresy that exists within Christianity today that tacitly believes that Christians will never be held accountable for their sins. It goes something like this: “God is love, Jesus loves us, and he will never allow those he loves to be disciplined for their ungodliness.” Micah teaches us that…
II. We should be aware of false preachers! (Vv. 6-11)
“Do not prophesy,” their prophets say. “Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us.” Should it be said, O house of Jacob: “Is the Spirit of the LORD angry? Does he do such things? Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright?” Lately my people have risen up like an enemy. You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without a care, like men returning from battle. You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever. Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy. If a liar and deceiver comes and says, “I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,” he would be just the prophet for this people!
1. There are those in our day and age who are just like the prophets of Micah’s day. They are the sin without guilt crowd and the happy dancers who twist honesty. Micah relates the fact that these phony purveyors of truth were trying to convince him to “not prophesy” at all and to especially “not prophesy about these things” because they believed their “disgrace” their sins would “not overtake” them! They thought they could get away with declaring a false truth from God to God’s people! They wanted their listeners to believe that a good God could never judge his people so harshly and so they ask, “Should it be said, O house of Jacob: ‘Is the Spirit of the LORD angry? Does he do such things? Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright?’” Yet the truth of the matter was the fact that God’s people had “risen up like an enemy” to God! These lying preachers were guilty of robbing God’s people, of driving them from their homes, and from taking away God’s blessing: “You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without a care, like men returning from battle. You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever.” In fact by not telling the people the truth that they needed to turn back to God, they were deliberately keeping God’s people from repenting! Like many pathetic politicians today these ungodly representatives knew what the problem was but because of their personal greed they would not tell the people the truth! Therefore Micah tells the Israelites to “Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy.” They were to leave their homeland! There was no hope left because of the failure of those they depended upon to tell them the facts! Those who only care about themselves, their power, or filling their pockets at the cost of the people they represent are despicable; and so therefore “If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ he would be just the prophet for this [sin sick] people!” Micah teaches us that we should be aware of false preachers!
EXAMPLE: Far too many politicians and way too many religious leaders today have gotten involved in things that they should not be involved in. Political leaders who will say anything or do anything, including lying, cheating, or stealing in order to gain power should be held accountable. There are religious leaders who would rather sell you their latest book or pawn off their current heresy in order to abuse your trust. Rather than preaching the good news, they pander their own pathetic platitudes. Paul reminds us that “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips.” (Romans 3:13 NIV) Micah teaches us that God’s people should be aware of false preachers!
What is the answer therefore for a nation or a people who have rejected God and depended upon the spoken lies of those who were supposed to be their leaders? Micah teaches us that…
III. Confession brings restoration! (Vv. 12-13)
I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the LORD at their head.
1. The promises of God are certain and sure. History, the Biblical record, and past experience have shown me this to be correct. Why is it then that we far too often forget this wonderful truth? God has promised to redeem his people and to restore them. Though Israel’s politicians, priests, and leaders had forsaken them, used them for personal greed, and their enemies were getting ready to overrun them there was hope. Isaiah, a contemporary of Micah, promised, “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.” (Isaiah 11:11 NIV) Jeremiah proclaimed, “In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your forefathers as an inheritance.” (Jeremiah 3:18 NIV) God through Micah promises, “I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.” In fact it is a wonderful promise that was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus! Jesus referred to himself as the good shepherd (John 10:11) who goes after his lost sheep and we see this picture here in the words of Micah when God shares, “I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people.” In fact Micah relates that a leader, a Messiah, would be the “One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out.” Jesus is the One who did this! Micah prophesies that it will be “Their king” who “will pass through before them” and that it will be “the LORD at their head”! How would these lost Hebrews be restored? Paul reminds us that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 NIV) and that “all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’” (Romans 11:26-27 NIV) If we confess with our mouth “Jesus is Lord!” we will be saved! (Romans 10:9) Confession brings restoration!
EXAMPLE: I know it might sound trite to some but the answer for the ills of today is the same it always has been that “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV) Our land just like Israel needs spiritual healing and Micah teaches us that confession brings restoration!
God’s people need to realize the consequences of their sin! We should be aware of false preachers! Confession brings restoration!
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