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COMMITMENT : A PATH TO EXCELLENCE
Micah 7:1-20 May 31 2009
In this chapter, The prophet, in the name of the church, sadly laments the woeful decay of religion in the age wherein he lived, and the deluge of impiety and immorality which overwhelmed the nation, which levelled the differences, and bore down the fences, of all that is just and sacred . The prophet, for the sake of the church, prescribes comforts, which may be of use at such a time, and gives counsel what to do. They must have an eye to God . They must courageously bear up against the insolences of the enemy . They must patiently lie down under the rebukes of their God . They must expect no other than that the trouble would continue long, and must endeavour to make the best of it . They must encourage themselves with God’s promises, in answer to the prophet’s prayers . They must foresee the fall of their enemies, that now triumphed over them . They must themselves triumph in the mercy and grace of God, and his faithfulness to his covenant , and with that comfortable word the prophecy concludes.
1. The Generprevalence of Wickedness .(Micah 7:1-7)
Micah 7:1 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. 7:2 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. 7:3 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. 7:4 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. 7:5 Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words. 7:6 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. 7:7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
(Micah 7:1-20) The speakers in this chapter are Micah (Mic. 7:1-7), Zion (Mic. 7 8-10), Micah (Mic. 7:11-13), perhaps Zion (Mic. 7:14), God (Mic. 7:15), Micah (Mic. 7:16-20). The chapter begins on a note of gloom but ends with a statement of hope. (Mic.7:1-2) Looking for the godly is like looking for summer fruit when the harvest has ended ( Jer 8:20). Day of your watchen . The day of judgment that the prophets warned about (Jer 6:17; Eze 3:17-21). Visits you . For punishment. The family unit was disintegrating. Zion. My enemy. Other nations. Though I have fallen I HAVE FALLEN. Micah foresees the destruction of Zion in 586 B.C.
This is such a description of bad times as, some think, could scarcely agree to the times of Hezekiah, when this prophet prophesied; and therefore they rather take it as a prediction of what should be in the reign of Manasseh. But we may rather suppose it to be in the reign of Ahaz (and in that reign he prophesied, ch. 1:1) or in the beginning of Hezekiah’s time, before the reformation he was instrumental in; nay, in the best of his days, and when he had done his best to purge out corruptions, still there was much amiss. The prophet cries out, Woe is me! He bemoans himself that his lot was cast in such a degenerate age, and thinks it his great unhappiness that he lived among a people that were ripening apace for a ruin which many a good man would unavoidably be involved in. Thus David cries out, Woe is me that I sojourn in Mesech! He laments,
2. Promises and Encouragements for Israel. (Mic. 7:18-20)
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. 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. 7:20 You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.
(Mic.7:18-20) The conclusion to the whole book, not just to ch. 7. (Mic.7:18) WHO IS A God like you . . .? Perhaps a pun on Micah’s name (Mic.7: 1:1). (Ex 15:11; Psalms 89:6). Iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Isa 38:17). Jacob . . . Abraham . God had sworn to Abraham (Gen. 22:17) and Jacob (Gen. 28:14) that their descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth and the sand on the seashore, and he had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations (Gen. 17:5; Luke 1:54-55). All believers are ultimately included in this promise (Romans 4; Gal 3:6-29; Heb 11:12).
The prophet’s thankful acknowledgment of God’s mercy, in the name of the church, with a believing dependence upon his promise,(Mic. 7:18-20. We are here taught,
To give to God the glory of his pardoning mercy, v. 18. God having promised to bring back the captivity of his people, the prophet, on that occasion, admires pardoning mercy, as that which was at the bottom of it. As it was their sin that brought them into bondage, so it was God’s pardoning their sin that brought them our of it; Psa. 85:1, 2, and Isa. 33:24; Isa. 38:17; Isa. 60:1, 2. The pardon of sin is the foundation of all other covenant-mercies, Heb. 8:12. This the prophet stands amazed at, while the surrounding nations stood amazed only at those deliverances which were but the fruits of this. Note,
Those truly penitent for sin, will see great reason to be patient under affliction. When we complain to the Lord of the badness of the times, we ought to complain against ourselves for the badness of our hearts. We must depend upon God to work deliverance for us in due time. We must not only look to him, but look for him. In our greatest distresses, we shall see no reason to despair of salvation, if by faith we look to the Lord as the God of our salvation. Though enemies triumph and insult, they shall be silenced and put to shame. Though Zion’s walls may long be in ruins, there will come a day when they shall be repaired. Israel shall come from all the remote parts, not turning back for discouragements. Though our enemies may seem to prevail against us, and to rejoice over us, we should not despond. Though cast down, we are not destroyed; we may join hope in God’s mercy, with submission to his correction. No hinderances can prevent the favours the Lord intends for his church.