Today: [Micah 2] From Breakdown to Breakthrough. In ch. 2 of Micah the nation is described as descending into difficulty and downturn because of selfishness and greed. Consequences are predicted to come, but at the same time a Messianic promise of great deliverance is given.
[Mic 2:1-13 KJV] 1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 And they covet fields, and take [them] by violence; and houses, and take [them] away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. 3 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time [is] evil. 4 In that day shall [one] take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, [and] say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed [it] from me! turning away he hath divided our fields. 5 Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD. 6 Prophesy ye not, [say they to them that] prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, [that] they shall not take shame. 7 O [thou that art] named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? [are] these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? 8 Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war. 9 The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever. 10 Arise ye, and depart; for this [is] not [your] rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy [you], even with a sore destruction. 11 If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, [saying], I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people. 12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of [the multitude of] men. 13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.
Chapter 2 of Micah opens with a denunciation against those who take property and land through evil devices. They are described as lying awake nights thinking of new ways to get over on the poor simply because it is in their power to do so. Again, in Micah as in Amos the theme is one of class warfare, where the elite classes disparage and abuse those less fortunate. In verse 2 they are described as coveting fields and taking them by violence, if necessary. Where did this practice arise? Think about Ahab and Jezebel who conspired to kill a man named Naboth in 1 Kings 21:7 in order to take his vineyard. Once the leadership of a nation, or a group becomes diseased by sin, that sin will grip the nation. We have seen this in our own country as sexual impropriety was admittedly a component of the character of our elected president, and now at the time of this teaching the nation is awash in sex scandal in every sector of society. The connection could not be more clear. Ahab made a business model out of murder in the intrests of increasing his wealth, and now the entire northern kingdom is characterized by such behavior in Micah 2.
In light of what is taking place in the nation, God declares through Micah in v. 3 that He will restrain them in ways they will be unable to escape, because they would not restrain themselves. They will (v. 4) because a parable and a lamentation to all peoples for the reason of being utterly spoiled by the Assyrians and their possessions which they gathered by violence and murder will be divided among their conquerors. In times like these it was common for people to go to the temple to consult the Urim and the Thummim but v. 5 declares that in the day of difficulty ahead there will be no priest to cast the lot (the Urim and Thummim) to help them know what to do next, because they commanded the prophets to “prophesy not” because they didn’t like what the prophets were saying. This speaks to us of selective hearing. This was a people who only wanted to hear things from the priests that supported the choices they were making. The prophets including Micah are not endorsing public policy and therefore were commanded to be silent.
In verse 7 Micah asks the question “why are all these things happening?” He asks the theoretical question “is the spirit of the Lord straightened”. What this means is “is the spirit of the Lord discouraged…” Has God given up being God and therefore calamity has come upon the nation? In 1882 Fredrich Neitzche declared “God is Dead” because he saw nothing of providence in the world around him. Micah says no, God is not dead – but His hand is restrained because the people are not walking uprightly as a nation. In v. 8 Micah observes that even in the present distress of impending invasion they people are risen up against the faith of their fathers assuming that they will be at peace and determined to live life as they choose without any accountability.
Verse 9 describes the coming fall of the northern kingdom as a time that women will be cast out of their houses, and their children being taken into captivity. In any time of national ruin, women and children are the first to suffer. In the western world, children are victimized and women have been objectified in dimensions that are difficult to measure. In public life, sexualization of our culture has become so inextricably linked with femininity that it is difficult to separate salaciousness from popular concepts of beauty and feminine grace. In v. 10 Micah declares the nation is polluted with sin and therefore will be destroyed with a sore destruction. In verse 11 false prophets are identified as those who never called upon the people to do anything but what was already in their heart. Because of this their only end will be captivity, which eventually befell both the northern kingdom of Samaria and the southern kingdom of Judah.
Is there no hope extended by God at all in this situation? We see things taking place among nations, and great difficulty on every hand and we wonder “what is God doing?”. Verse 12 tells us – that God is working to assemble a remnant of His people that He will bring together as a well-tended and a protected flock, a greater multitude that will gather to Him by the drawing of His Spirit. Verse 13 declares that the “breaker is come” which means “the one who breaks out” who will lead the people as their king (speaking of the Messiah) under rule of God and the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth.
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