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Micah.
One of many prophets who spoke in ancient times,
On God’s behalf, to God’s own people, words from God’s heart—
A message of judgment,
A message of hope.
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Reading through the last third of the Old Testament brings a heaviness to the spirit.
Passage after passage of disappointment, rebuke, instruction,

and the foretelling of discipline to come…

spoken to individuals who deliberately and continually pursued evil.

Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed to rob the needy of justice, and to take what is right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless.  –  Isaiah 10:1-2

The Lord said also to me… Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, Return to me. But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it… yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.  –  Jeremiah 3:6-8

Now the end has come upon you, and I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations.  –  Ezekiel 7:3

Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.  –  Micah 2:1

God’s silence as you or I pursue evil does not indicate an overlooking of sin…

only that He is a most long-suffering Father.

Even while pronouncing judgment on Judah’s sins—sins against God and against one another—

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The rich, who took by force whatever they wanted, no matter who suffered…

The rulers, who accepted bribes…

The prophets, who spoke falsehoods, but would not speak against corruption and social injustice of their times, who would not present God’s standard of goodness, holiness, and who accused the true prophets of deception…

The clergy, who loved money and material gain more than shepherding God’s flock…

It is in this book we see the end of God’s silence—

the time when God could no longer watch from the sidelines…

Hear, all you peoples! Listen, O earth, and all that is in it! Let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.  –  Micah 1:2

Recorded for us to learn from, at that moment His disappointment became disgust,

and turned into anger directed toward those whose oppressive misdeeds began hurting others, hurting the nation as a whole:

Pagan worship… cultic prostitution…

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Practices not befitting His children, believers in the Most High God.

But as they continued to stray, insisted on wandering, determined to find fulfillment apart from the One True God, the God of their heritage, the God of the Covenant, the God Who would be Provider and Savior for all time…

This same God became offended.

Did they understand how holy their God was?

Do we comprehend how holy our God is?

Because He made us in His image—to reflect His character…

Because we were created for something better.

In Micah 6, after judgment came, again God spoke, pleading with His people, reminding His children of all He did in times past for their ancestors:

His graciousness, provision, deliverance, and faithfulness in keeping all His promises to them through the years…

Finally, in confession and repentance, Israel found forgiveness, and the repeated promise of fulfilled prophecy given to Abraham…

And God could find pleasure in His people once more.

Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.  –  Micah 7:18-20

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(Photo of courtroom courtesy of Faye Rollinson; photo of Indian temple courtesy of Koshy Koshy.)

 

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