In our study of Micah chapter two, we take a look at the plans of man compared to the plan of God.
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.
Micah begins this section by describing a people who spend all of their time scheming to get ahead of their neighbor. They even spend their nights dreaming of ways to get ahead. This is described as evil and when he speaks of "in their power to do it", he is talking about the fact that God allows the evil plans to run their course. God could stop it but has given man free will to act and so He allows the evil ways for a certain period of time that is only known by God.
They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance.
The specific charge against the people is that they plan ways to get the land and homes of others and to keep them. This is against God's plan as described in the regulations for the year of jubilee (see Leviticus 25). This is speaking of the rich taking advantage of the poor. The land of Israel was divided up among the tribes and among the families in the tribes. It was given to them by God as a part of His plan and was their inheritance. If they became poor and had to sell their land to another Israelite, it was supposed to be returned to them on the year of jubilee.
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.'
The people had elevated their plans to a place above the plan of God for their lives. The root cause of this is pride in thinking that our ways are better than the ways of God. This disobedience was only going to be allowed for a certain period of time before God brings judgment on them. The wealth that they had acquired would not protect them and they would be humbled. The same type of thing is happening in many areas of life today. Men have disregarded the prescribed ways of God and, in effect, have become their own god. This, too, will only be allowed for a certain period of time before judgment is dealt.
In that day people 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 field to traitors.'
The land is taken from both the rich and the poor and given to foreigners (in this case it was Assyria). We notice that, in their mournful song, they recognize that it is God who is doing this and that reminds us that the purpose of God's judgment is to get people to see Him for who He is.
Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the Lord to divide the land by lot.
They had abandoned God's plan for the land so they were removed. This is a reminder that God is in control and He puts people in the places that serve His purpose.
'Do not prophesy,' their prophets say. 'Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us!'
Micah was met by the hired prophets and was basically told to keep his mouth shut. These hired prophets only wanted to tell the leaders what they wanted to hear and this same type of thing is happening today. There are many so-called pastors and prophets that will not stand on the word of God because it is not popular. Often this comes down to the fact that, if the message is not popular, the people will not come and put their money in the collection plate.
You descendants of Jacob, should it be said, 'Does the Lord become impatient? Does he do such things?' 'Do not my words do good to the one whose ways are upright?'
Micah asks the question about the nature of God and justice and then he gives God's answer. They would acknowledge that God blessed but they did not want to hear that God also judges. This same type of thing is asked today in that many will ask something like: "Would a loving God punish us?" God's answer is that just as He brings blessing to those who obey Him; it is only right that those who chase after their own plans are judged.
'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.'
God continues to state the charges against His people and they all deal with the rich taking from the poor. God designed His people to be a loving community where especially the children and women were taken care of but they had turned their backs on that. God even says that they are acting like enemies of His. This reminds us of Jesus' answer when He was asked about the greatest commandment. His answer was to love God and the second part was to love your neighbor as yourself (see Mark 12:29 & 30). In short, God is making it clear that it is not possible to love Him without loving His people.
'Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy.'
The land that God gave His people to be a rest after wandering in the desert for forty years is no longer their home. God gave Israel the land but it was to be governed by God's principles. Now that they had abandoned His principles, the land was defiled and no longer theirs.
'If a liar and deceiver comes and says, "I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer," that would be just the prophet for this people!'
The people would listen to anyone that promised them more wealth (wine and beer were a sign of wealth). The rich were only concerned about their wealth and only wanted to hear about how they were going to get more. They were not affected by the struggles of the poor and this is what is described as happening during the Tribulation. We see, in Revelation 6:6, the same type of thing as the poor struggle for food while the rich sip their wine. That is not "loving your neighbor" which Jesus said was so important.
'I will surely gather all of you, 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.'
God promised Israel that they would not be completely destroyed and, once again, we see the principle of the remnant. The remnant speaks of a smaller amount than was started with. We do not know how many but God brought some of the Israelites back to the land. He has also promised that there will be a remnant in the last days that are saved through faith in Jesus Christ. We see this in Revelation 7.
'The 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.'
We see three names for the Messiah in this verse and are reminded that, throughout the Bible, that number is associated with the earthly display of God's will. God's will (plan) for this remnant of Jews is that they will accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Jesus broke open the way to salvation with His death on the cross. He passed through the gate between earth and heaven before the people and will be the head during the Millennial Reign and forever more. There is a movement these days to get the Jews back to the land of Israel. That is a good thing as God specifically gave the land to them. The only problem with this movement is that many believe that getting them to the land is all that is required. There is no thought of sharing the gospel with them and some will go so far as to say that it doesn't matter because they will all be saved. This is contrary to what we see in this verse and is the work of false prophets. The remnant that was promised here was a group that was brought back into the land after the exile but that does not mean that they were saved. That was determined when they had the chance to hear the gospel after Jesus' death.