Micah 7 – Where to put your hope!

Micah 7 – Where to put your hope!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 20, 2016

The famous line in George Lucas’ movie, A New Hope, is now a classic. Princess Leia pleas for General Kenobi’s help in their struggle against the evil Empire in a holographic message and she utters the line, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!” In the face of unspeakable evil people often cry out for a savior, someone who will come and rescue them. In Micah’s prophecy we discover that while the nation of Israel was going to be judged, there was hope.

Micah’s pronouncement of Israel’s fate was not well received by the people it was addressed to; bad news usually isn’t well received by anyone. Yet in the midst of his prophetic discourse there is hope. There was hope for Israel and for future followers of the Lord. God will rescue his people but it will not be in the way they imagined it. Let’s discover where we are to place our hope this morning.

READ: Micah 7

It is truly sad that so many people are unhappy concerning the election. It makes one wonder where in the world some folks place their hope. Perhaps their hope was misplaced. Micah teaches us that…

I. We find hope for our future! (Vv. 1-7)

What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net. Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire– they all conspire together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen has come, the day God visits you. Now is the time of their confusion. Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words. For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law– a man’s enemies are the members of his own household. But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

1. When Micah looked at Israel he saw corruption. He cries, “What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave.” His distress is like that of someone who is hungry, goes out to his fields at harvest, and finds nothing! It would be like going to the fridge and finding nothing inside! Micah realizes that “The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains.” All Micah could see was Israel’s utter corruption. There was no Godly fruit. In fact, in Israel “All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net. Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire– they all conspire together.” Sound familiar? In fact, it seems as if Micah’s words were meant for this generation because even “The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.” There was no godly leadership for Israel; they only cared for their own selfish selves. Micah reminded them that judgment was at hand: “The day of your watchmen has come, the day God visits you. Now is the time of their confusion.” Things were so bad that one could not trust their friends, their spouse or family! “Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words. For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.” Yet no matter how awful things may seem there is hope: “But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” In him we find hope for our future!

EXAMPLE: The recent election was seen by some as a miracle. Not that the winner is necessarily godly but that the loser is so corrupt. People did not want more of the same disregard and disrespect they have experienced for the past eight years. Just like many are tired of their leaders today the leadership of Micah’s day also misused their positions of power. It was so bad that no one could trust their families or friends to do the right thing. In the midst of the past eight years many like the people of Israel have been praying for an answer and they think they found one. In reality the only hope that is sure and secure is that which we find in God. In him we find hope for our future!

People who feel they have been ignored, abused, and disrespected by their leaders often cry out for someone to save them. God knows that people are often like sheep in need of a shepherd they can trust. In Micah…

II. We find hope in our Shepherd! (Vv. 8-14)

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets. The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries. In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, even from Egypt to the Euphrates and from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of their deeds. Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, which lives by itself in a forest, in fertile pasturelands. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in days long ago.

1. In Micah’s warning we find him telling Israel’s enemies “Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.” God’s people are not dependent upon the people and things of this world. And, when we are in sin, if we “confess our sin he is faithful and just.” So Micah relates, “Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.” Micah knew that whenever God’s people are in distress the world delights in our discomfort. However the world should not gloat. Micah related, “Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, ‘Where is the LORD your God?’ My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.” Micah knew that God’s enemies always think that they can gloat and boast over his people’s downfall. Yet the “The day for building [Israel’s and thereby God’s people’s] walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries.” God would build a wall around his vineyard. In fact God promised that “In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, even from Egypt to the Euphrates and from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.” God’s people would be completely restored yet the sinful world will be judged and “The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of their deeds.” Ungodly stewards will reap what they have sown. And yet here in a beautiful revelation Micah or perhaps the Lord relates that his Messiah would heal their land forever. “Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, which lives by itself in a forest, in fertile pasturelands. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in days long ago.” God’s people will be completely restored because we find hope in our Shepherd!

EXAMPLE: From the time Jacob blessed his sons and called God his “shepherd” to Jesus who called himself “the Good Shepherd” the Jews knew and saw God as their shepherd. In fact, we as Christians believe that “the Lamb” Jesus who is “at the center of the throne will be [our] shepherd; he will lead [us] to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes”! (Revelation 7:17 NIV) The wording here for shepherd in Micah is often translated “feed” or “pasture” as in to graze a flock; Micah therefore was asking that God care for and tend them again like a compassionate shepherd he knew God to be! We find hope in our Shepherd!

When God finally judges there will be winners and losers. And unlike the political correctness that is so rampant today God will not care about your social status, race, or gender. Micah relates that…

III. We find hope in God’s mercy! (Vv. 15-20)

“As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them my wonders.” Nations will see and be ashamed, deprived of all their power. They will lay their hands on their mouths and their ears will become deaf. They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground. They will come trembling out of their dens; they will turn in fear to the LORD our God and will be afraid of you. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.

1. God therefore promises Israel that “As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them my wonders.” Micah reminds Israel who God was in the past to them and that this same God would be their God again and in their midst! He would be the God of miracles! This was the same God who parted the Red Sea and kept them safe, the same God who reined fire down on Jezebel’s false priests, and the same God who promised them a Messiah to come. In fact God promises that “Nations will see and be ashamed, deprived of all their power. They will lay their hands on their mouths and their ears will become deaf.” What could the pagan nations do but be ashamed. They would be so overwhelmed and humbled that Micah predicts “They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground. They will come trembling out of their dens; they will turn in fear to the LORD our God and will be afraid of” God’s people again. This wonderful promise makes Micah wonder, “Who is a God like you”? But this is who God truly is. Today orthodox Jews read these verses in their synagogues on the Day of Atonement, after they read the Book of Jonah. They long for what believers now freely enjoy and ask themselves who is this God? He is the same One who “pardons sin and forgives the transgression”, he does “not stay angry forever but delight(s) to show mercy”, he “will again have compassion on us” and he “will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea”! What Micah could not have guessed is how God would ultimately do these things through Jesus. However, Micah knew these things about God to be true and that ultimately he would “be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as [he] pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.” God had made his promise to be merciful to those who humbled themselves and God’s promise always comes true! Micah knew we find hope in God’s mercy!

EXAMPLE: It has mystified the pundits and the media why the election turned out the way it did. In fact the liberal élite are in shock and many are throwing temper tantrums that things did not go the way they wanted or thought it should. It reminds me of the legend that the English ballad “The World Turned Upside Down” was the tune played by the British military band when Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781 during the American War of Independence. The Hebrews could not believe the words of Micah and yet they could find hope in God’s mercy!

Conclusion:

We find hope for our future! We find hope in our Shepherd! We find hope in God’s mercy!
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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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