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Micah 3-5

This post follows on from my post on Micah 1-2, looking at chapters 3-5, on the theme of kingship. In Chapter 3 we see the failure of the leaders of Israel, then in Chapter 4-5 we see how God is leading His people, and the King he will bring for them.

Micah 3

[1] And I said: Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice?— [2] you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones, [3] who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron. [4] Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil.

[5] Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. [6] Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; [7] the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God. [8] 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 and to Israel his sin.

[9] Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who detest justice and make crooked all that is straight, [10] who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity. [11] Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.” [12] Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

This chapter is a terrible condemnation of the leaders of Israel. Verses 1-4 is a a startling description of their sins, summarised in verse 2 that they hate good and love evil, followed by a horrid description in verse 3 of what they have done to their people.

In verses 5-7 Micah moves on to criticise the prophets who preach only for their stomachs. So they shall be disgraced, in contrast to Micah in verse 8 who is filled with the Spirit of God and preaches truthfully.

Verses 9-11 continues the condemnation first of Israel’s leaders for their injustice, and then also including the priests and prophets who all act for money instead of truth.

In this chapter we have seen God loves justice and hates injustice. And so because of the sins and injustice of these who should be leading Israel, they will face God’s justice, and we see in verse 12 the utter destruction that will come on Jerusalem.

Micah 4

[1] It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, [2] and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [3] He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; [4] but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. [5] For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.

[6] In that day, declares the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; [7] and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore. [8] And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.

[9] Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pain seized you like a woman in labor? [10] Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you shall go out from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued; there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.

[11] Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.” [12] But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor. [13] Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples; and shall devote their gain to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.

After the destruction of Jerusalem foretold at the end of Chapter 3, this passage opens with the wonderful news that the House of the LORD will be rebuilt. In contrast to Chapter 3, it will be a place where people come to learn of the law (v2) and where true justice reigns since God will be the judge (v3). There will be no more abuse of people as we saw in chapter 3, with no one to make the people afraid (v4). Moreover this new House will be for all nations (v1-2) and not just for Israel.

This promise of rebuilding saw a partial fulfillment after the return of Israel from exile, but clearly the complete fulfillment comes through our Lord Jesus.
In Obadiah we had seen the nations coming to Mount Zion for judgement, but with the angle of facing their due punishment. This passage has a similar theme in verse 3 of judging between nations but is of less emphasis than in Obadiah, given the greater focus of Micah on the nation of Israel.

Verses 6-7 gives us a sign of God’s grace, that he will assemble his remnant and make them a strong nation, to whom kingship will come (v8) surely meaning Jesus.

In verse 9 we see Israel in pain and God questioning them as to why. But in verse 10 He affirms that they should be groaning as in labour, because they will face exile before redemption. While Israel’s enemy will think they are defiling them (v11) they don’t know God’s plan is for their ultimate destruction (v13). We had also seen this in Obadiah, that Israel would destroy Esau (representing all nations).

Reading this chapter now, as a Gentile who has been saved, it’s great to see how God has and is working out His plan, and that this includes all people. But it is also a stark reminder to see the pain Israel would have to go through first, because of their sin, and the reason for even more thankfulness for our salvation through Jesus Christ.

 

Micah 5

[1] Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek. [2] But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. [3] Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. [4] And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. [5] And he shall be their peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; [6] they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land and treads within our border.

[7] Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. [8] And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. [9] Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.

[10] And in that day, declares the LORD, I will cut off your horses from among you and will destroy your chariots; [11] and I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds; [12] and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes; [13] and I will cut off your carved images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; [14] and I will root out your Asherah images from among you and destroy your cities. [15] And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.

Chapter 5 starts with a prophesy about Jesus, that a King will come from Bethlehem under whom Israel will be safe (v4) and will deliver them from their enemies (v5-6). While great news for us, in the meantime Israel must still defend herself (v1) while waiting for the King (v3).

I find verse 7 unclear but 8-9 present God’s remnant as amongst the nations and with the power to destroy them, with verse 8 describing them as lions among sheep and verse 9 their enemies bring cut off. Presumably this means under the promised King, the people will be transformed from exiles amongst nations to having strength.

Verse 10-15 then tells us about the judgement that will come under this King. In verses 10-11 the means of war will be destroyed, then in verses 12-14 the sins of worshipping other God’s will be rooted out. The book of Micah has mainly focused on Israel but verse 15 makes clear this judgement will come on all nations.

In conclusion, in these 3 chapters we’ve seen the failure of Israel’s leaders, acting unjustly and against their own people. Following this we saw God has a plan for Israel, which will include the Gentiles, where they will have a new King, but first they must go through the pains of labour.
As we are now living under this King, Jesus, we can be thankful for a perfect King, not one who would lead us astray or abuse us as a human king may. We can praise God’s power and wisdom in working out His plan through all generations, and praise His justice, in punishing the wrong doing of Israel and all nations.

 

References
Thanks to the ESV Bible and the Tyndale Old Testament commentary

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2016 by in Christianity and tagged , , .
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