Micah 3 – Be aware of ungodly leaders!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
October 23, 2016
What does a nation do when its leaders are so corrupt that they put criminals to shame? And then what do people do when their spiritual leaders are supposed to be leading them toward God’s holiness but are so ungodly that they willingly sacrifice your future to fill their pockets? No I am not talking about the 2016 Presidential race or the current millennial view of Jesus and the future of the church. I am speaking about the words of Micah to the divided Israelite nation.
Micah’s words are just as contemporary today as when they were written thousands of years ago. What do they teach us? What can they teach us? Here within these verses we will discuss this morning we discover that just as in Micah’s day we today need to be aware of ungodly leaders. Let’s find out what Micah teaches us…
Like all spiritual narcissists the leaders of the Hebrew people were more interested in their own selves than the needs of their people. And Micah describes them in pretty graphic terms and warns his listeners that they need to….
I. Be aware of ungodly leaders who eat their own! (Vv. 1-4)
Then I said, “Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Should you not know justice, you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?” Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.
1. Micah begins this section with a rhetorical question to those in leadership. He asks them to “listen”; it is a command so-to-speak for them to hear what he is saying. He as God’s messenger has a message for them as “leaders of Jacob” and as “rulers of the house of Israel” that they had better listen to and acknowledge. He asks them, “Should you not know justice…?” And of course they definitely should in being the leaders they were supposed to be; but evidently they did not! Instead they “hate good and love evil”! Wow! Sounds like our Presidential race! Rather than doing what is right for our nation it almost seems that they are more concerned about trashing their opponent or getting filthy rich from political corruption. God declares through Micah that Israel’s leaders were like cannibals who “tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot”! This perfectly describes any politician or spiritual leader who is more interested in their own gain, power, and finances than how they are in leading people! They devour people like a commodity to be used and eaten for their personal lives. What these pathetic individuals fail to see is that because of their own spiritual blindness and personal greed God will not be mocked. For there will come a day when their ungodly and corrupt behavior will be exposed, “Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them.” What was true for the ungodly leaders of Micah’s day is just as true for those who devour our Nation today! Now some think that Micah is referring to the people crying out and God not hearing them any longer because they allowed these ungodly leaders to lead them! I believe it is the leadership he is referring to. Whatever the case God’s people can rest assured that this evil will be accounted for because “At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.” God will not hear their cries for mercy. However, we as his people need to be aware of ungodly leaders who eat their own!
EXAMPLE: There is no culture today that protects or condones cannibalism. All progressive people realize it is repulsive, ungodly, and irreprehensible. Yet there are those political individuals who revel and celebrate the murder of newborns and the unborn, and are excited to declare their programs are “for the children”. While enslaving millions through the purchase of their votes by promising womb to the tomb governmental care, they eat the flesh off the bones of those who would work hard, cultivate a business, and try to do well in our society. They use false charities too fill their political pockets to influence other corrupt individuals all the while whispering platitudes to the unsuspecting masses. Micah warns us today to be aware of ungodly leaders who eat their own!
Sadly there are folks today who still fall into the mistaken belief that we can obtain peace in the world by talking it out, negotiated bribery, or by shear force. None of them are true. The world will never know true peace until Jesus returns and therefore Micah teaches us to…
II. Be aware of ungodly leaders who declare unfounded peace! (Vv. 5-7)
This is what the LORD says: “As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim ‘peace’; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him. Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.”
1. The reason I believe Micah was referring to Israel’s leaders is because of what he relates in the following verses. Micah continues by saying, “This is what the LORD says”. Micah is speaking to these leaders who were corrupt. God then says, “As to the prophets who lead my people astray”. These false prophets were supposed to be the nation’s shepherds who were to compassionately care for their flock, but they did not! Instead they deliberately gave the people a false hope by telling them everything was okay, there were no problems, and that God would not hold them accountable for their sin! Micah related that if some unsuspecting soul was to “feed” one of these false prophets they would only mouth what they thought the people wanted to hear and not the truth! They would “proclaim ‘peace’” which was not coming. These liars would do this simply because they wanted to retain their privilege. However if the person did not “feed” one of these ungodly shepherds they would “prepare to wage war against” them! These men were not just warring against their own people they were warring against God! There was no peace! Micah warns them again that God will not be mocked by those who falsely proclaim peace: “Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination.” Their dark lies would blind them and God would not be there for them! It is hard to sustain a lie in the light of the truth. The Light of Life would not shine for them. They would be totally spiritually blinded and “The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced.” Their time had come because God knows when we sit and when we rise and as David sang that “even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalms 139:12 NIV) And in the light of God’s truth “They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God” for these ungodly liars! Micah warns us to be aware of ungodly leaders who declare unfounded peace!
EXAMPLE: Peace cannot come because of education, money, or prestige. Peace that surpasses all understanding comes only from God alone! John writes that only in Jesus do we find peace. John reminds us that “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:20-21 NIV) Jesus promised us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV) When we know the Prince of Peace we will know peace. We must be aware of ungodly leaders who declare unfounded peace!
Contrary to popular opinion truth is not relative to societal change, convoluted morals, or the whim of the individual. There can be only one truth, not many. Therefore Micah reminds us to…
III. Be aware of leaders who pervert the truth! (Vv. 8-12)
But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin. Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.” Therefore because of you Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
1. Do you remember what two commands of God that Jesus related all the others were founded upon? God’s people are to love him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as themselves. Yet these false leaders did not. Micah has an answer for their ungodliness. He tells them just how corrupt they are and reminds them that it was he who was “filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.” Micah would tell the truth because the truth lived in him! All godly people are to practice the truth not just with the deeds they do but in the words they use as well! And so Micah boldly proclaims, “Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.” He knew what they were about (wickedness) and he was not blinded by their spiritual clichés. They were drenched in the innocent blood of the people! God had exposed the truth: Israel’s “leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money”! God gave Micah the truth to proclaim. These false leaders would be held accountable for saying they spoke for God: “Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, ‘Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.’” Disaster was indeed coming and it was because of them! This is something we have forgotten in our day and age because we think we are so “enlightened” and that we can simply believe in God but not live like we do. The false prophets of Micah’s day thought they could just say they were speaking for God and that was good enough yet they would suffer the consequences of their sin, but not just them alone. The innocents and the guilty would suffer alike because of their ungodly lying deceit! “Therefore because of you Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” Micah warns us to be aware of leaders who pervert the truth!
EXAMPLE: Could our Nation face the same consequences of lying politicians and spiritual leaders? Yes, but not because we are or ever have been “One Nation under God”. Rather it is because we have leaders both political and spiritual who refuse to do the right thing when they know they should. Whether it is to cement their political careers, insure their legacy, or to fill their pockets with cash we have leaders today that are just as corrupt as those of Micah’s day. They will say anything to a willing and wanting audience in order to gain control over people’s lives for personal gain. They truly do not care for us as individuals, as a Nation, nor future generations; for if they did they would speak the truth to us even if it meant their political or spiritual careers. Micah reminds us to be aware of leaders who pervert the truth!
Be aware of ungodly leaders who eat their own! Be aware of ungodly leaders who declare unfounded peace! Be aware of leaders who pervert the truth!
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