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Micah Chapter Seven, The Promised Pardon

In our study of Micah chapter seven, we look at the fact that, even though man is totally corrupt, God still promises a pardon for our sins. In chapter 6, we saw the example of a divine courtroom where the outcome of the trial of Israel was a conviction of their sin and a sentence of judgment. Now, we see the promise of a pardon from God for the people of Israel and we are reminded of the fact that Israel was meant to be an example to the world of God's greatness.

Micah 7:1 & 2

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 faithful have been swept away from the land; not one upright person remains. Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets.

Micah now speaks of the failures of Israel and compares it to the poor gleaning in the vineyards. To understand this, we must understand the principle of gleaning as given by God (see Leviticus 19:9 & 10). When Israel harvested the bounty that God provided for them, they were to only go over the crop once and pick what was ready. Anything that was left after that was to be left for the poor who were free to pick and eat as they desired. He describes how Israel had become like a vineyard that had been picked clean and the fact that it was because the rich landowners had been out to get everything for themselves with no consideration or compassion for the needy. Micah mourns over the state of God's people as he remembers the fact that they were called to be a nation that was set apart by God to be an example to the rest of the nations. Instead of living up to their calling, the nation had adopted the practices of the pagans through idolatry. Ultimately, this idolatry leads to everyone choosing a "god" of their own design and the "every man for themselves" attitude. As the saying goes: 'the rich get richer while the poor get poorer" which was exactly what had happened in Israel during Micah's time. It is even more widespread today as our world has been described as a "dog eat dog" world where everyone takes as much as they can before someone else gets it. This is the exact opposite of the biblical principle of gleaning.

Micah 7:3 & 4a

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.

Micah continues to describe the way things worked in Jerusalem at the time but, if you didn't know better, you would think that he was describing our world today. He speaks of the fact that corruption is widespread and the rich, the politicians, and the judicial system worked together to impose their will upon everyone else. In the previous passage, he spoke of the grape vine and we are reminded that grape vines do not have briers or thorns. Here, he describes the national leaders as a brier and a thorn hedge instead of a grape vine.

Micah 7:4b-6

The day God visits you has come, the day your watchmen sound the alarm. Now is the time of your confusion. Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips. 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.

Micah tells the people that God has sent prophets (watchmen) to sound the alarm about the dangers of idolatry and the fact that God's judgment is coming. He goes on to describe the fact that the "every man for himself" attitude has even broken up the family and friendships. His description is much like that of the prophet Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 9:4). Once again, you can see how the words of the prophet could easily be describing our world today.

Micah 7:7

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

The prophet has described a very dark world without hope but, now, he contrasts his hope in the Lord to the darkness of the world. We see that his hope is set squarely on God providing a Savior and and he is actively waiting for Him. We, as Christians, should ask ourselves whether we have that same attitude or not. If you knew that Jesus was coming back tomorrow, would you be glad or would you wish for a delay? Your answer to that question can tell you a lot about where you stand in your faith.

Micah 7:8

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.

Micah continues to speak and now identifies himself with the city of Jerusalem. He looks to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC and reminds the people, as well as the rest of the nations, that God will restore the city. This is a reminder that God disciplines those that He loves but that discipline is meant to draw His people closer to Him. He reminds the people as well as their enemies that the hope of Jerusalem is God Himself. Today, there are many who want to put the hope of Israel and Jerusalem in some kind of "peace plan" but we must remember that true peace will only arrive with the return of Jesus.

Micah 7:9

Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord's wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.

The prophet goes on to say that God was right in punishing the nation as they had sinned by turning their backs on Him. Even so, he looks to the time of their restoration and to the coming of Jesus Christ ("his righteousness"). Micah points out the fact that it will be a work of God that brings them into a right relationship and not their religious rituals.

Micah 7:10 & 11

Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who says 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.

Micah goes on to explain that, though Jerusalem would be destroyed, there is a day coming where the city will be restored and the territory will be extended. He speaks of the time when the nations will come against the city but Jesus Christ will intervene on its behalf. This is speaking of the Millennial Reign and the fact that the nations will see that Jerusalem is the chosen city of God. We are also reminded of the fact that, during this time, the reign of Christ and His people will be extended to cover the entire earth.

Micah 7:12 & 13

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.

Micah tells of the fact that, during this Millennial Reign, people from all over the earth will go to Jerusalem to worship and honor the King. He also speaks of the fact that the earth will be a much different place than what we see today as, just before and after the Millennial Reign, will be a time of Great Tribulation where God's wrath is poured out on the land.

Micah 7:14

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.

Micah offers up a prayer to God for the return of His rule and His provision. He expresses the desire that God's people will once again be abundantly blessed as he speaks of the fertile areas of Bashan and Gilead.

Micah 7:15-17

'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 put their hands over 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.

God answered Micah's prayer with a promise of signs as miraculous as the parting of the Red Sea when Israel came out of Egypt. The prophet goes on to describe the fact that these signs have a purpose which is to demonstrate the power of God and the fact that He is with His people. The nations will be humbled and even afraid of God's people because of the power that is displayed on their behalf. We see that those who have humbled themselves and accepted Jesus Christ are exalted while those who reject Him are humbled and even terrified.

Micah 7:18

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.

Micah begins to sum up his message with the fact that salvation is only available through a pardon. He compares God to the pagan gods by describing the fact that God likes to show mercy because it is a part of who he is. The pagan gods required constant work to make them happy but God is happy when we rest in His finished work. Although this was well before the time of Jesus' earthly ministry, the prophet looks to a time when Jesus' work on our behalf would be finished.

Micah 7:19

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Micah continues to describe the work of God on behalf of His people and this is a big contrast to the religion that they had been practicing in Jerusalem. It is because of His love for us that He took the action (showed compassion) of sending His Son to provide for our salvation.

Micah 7:20

You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.

Micah's final words remind us of the fact that God keeps His promises as he refers to the promises that God made to Abraham concerning his descendants. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are included as a part of God's promise to the patriarchs.

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