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Micah points to Christmas

December 12th, 2010 by Vic

Micah points to Christmas

December 12, 2010

Micah boldly preached the words of God.  He reminds us what God is doing in the world for our good.  Micah’s contemporaries were Isaiah, Hosea, and Nahum.  He warns Israel to learn from the mistakes of Judah and warns Judah to learn from the mistakes of Israel.  Judah listened and their captivity was postponed 120 years.  Micah’s prophecy saved the life of Jeremiah 150 years after it was written.

The southern kings mentioned in verse 1 reign from 750-686.  Omri and Ahab are mentioned in 6:16.  They were the most wicked kings in the north.

1:2 is a call to all people.  This message from God was given to a Jewish prophet, but it includes us.  We need to listen.  God is taking us to court and this is serious.

1:3-5  This is the creator God who walks with us.  He holds us accountable.  Sexual immorality was increasing and the strength of the nation was decreasing.  Corruption was rooted in the capital cities.

1:6-7  Worldly things that we value so much now will become a pile of rubble.  Secure investments will vanish like smoke.

1:8-9  Micah wept for the people.  He cried like a coyote and an owl.  They were wounded, rebelling, and destroying themselves.  They would have to face God’s charges and repent.  God is going to take the time to discipline them and clean them up.

1:10-16  Micah uses a play on words here.  He uses the names of the cities to reflect the punishment that is coming.  Gath sounds like the word for tears.  Ophrah sounds like dust.  Shaphir is a word for beautiful.  Zaanan is a word for exit.  God’s punishment is appropriate for the crime.

In 722 the Assyrian armies came to the gates of Jerusalem, but were turned back because of Hezekiah’s repentance and prayer.

Pulling the hair is a sign of extreme grief.  Israel is told to mourn for her children because they are going into captivity.

2:1-5  Woe to those who plan evil, covet wealth, seize homes, and cheat their neighbors and family.  They sell you ponzi schemes and pyramid promises.

God has a surprise (3) for them.  They will be humbled with no defense.

2:6-7  The false prophets complain that Micah is being too negative.  They retort that they are the children of Abraham.  God chose them to be special.  God would not get angry at them.  Doesn’t God take care of His children?  Doesn’t God help those that help themselves?

2:8-11  No, that is a false folk view of God.  God is a righteous Father who expects His children to be righteous.  God responds, you prophets have sinned against the defenseless.  I’m taking you out of this land because you have polluted it beyond any quick fix.

You people like having false prophets that deceive you.  It feels good when they tell you how to get everything you want from God.  They have a sincere smile and are very articulate.  They tell you just to name it and claim it.  You like those kind of preachers.

2:12-13  You can’t save yourselves, but God will send a sin breaker.  God will gather His scattered people as a shepherd and rule as a deliverer.  He will break down all barriers.  The wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles will be broken (Eph 2:14).  The veil of the temple will be ripped.

3:1-12  Micah identifies the sins of the leaders (8-12).  They eat up the people and wonder why God does not hear their prayers (4).  They preach sermons that they can sell (5).  They can’t see reality accurately (6).  Their understanding of God and His ways is distorted.  They assume God is with them so everything is great.  If God did not like what they were doing, He would have told them.  They have not heard from God so they must be OK.  Micah puts himself in contrast with these false prophets (8).

4:1-5  Isaiah probably copied these words from Micah (Is 2:1-4).  Isaiah wrote elegantly to the leaders and scholars.  Micah wrote simply so the people could hear and understand.

In the last days the Lord’s temple will be established on a mountain greater than Mount Zion in Jerusalem.  We will be adventurers in His kingdom, not tourists.  God will rule in peace.

The fig tree and vine were symbols of Israel.  There is coming a time of prosperity because God has spoken.  His Word became flesh.  The Name of our Lord is above every name and will outlast them all.

4:6-9  In that day God will gather and rule.  There is hope because God is in control.

4:10-13  But first God is going to clean you up.  Before the Messiah comes you will be leaving Jerusalem and going to Babylon.  When Micah was preaching this, Babylon was not a threat.  Assyria was the dominate world power.  It will be 100 years before Babylon comes to capture Jerusalem.

Micah compares the future captivity to a birth.  Birth pains are the beginning and they tend to escalate.  However the child is worth the pain.  So even for the 2nd coming, the signs of the times become more and more severe.

The nations that God will use do not realize that God is using them.  Your enemies will lay up treasures that you will use to glorify God.  God will deliver His people.  Like the story of Ruth, there is a wedding beyond the threshing floor (12).

5:1-6  This is one of the major prophecies of Christ in the OT.  Hostile powers are against God’s people.  But a savior will come from Bethlehem, the house of bread, an insignificant village.  This ruler will not gain any status, honor or distinctive training from his birthplace.  But He will make His birthplace well known.

This Ruler to be born in Bethlehem is from everlasting.  How can that be?  He is preexistent.  His ancient coming and goings were different from His promised coming in Bethlehem.

Word from the Lord will become rare until this Ruler is born (3).   He will be the Good Shepherd and His sheep will live in security throughout the earth and there will be peace where He reigns (5).  Jesus said that in the world we will have tribulation, but in Him we have peace.  He is our peace.  He rules in our hearts.

Over 700 years later when Herod heard about a king of the Jews being born he asked the chief priests and scribes where this would happen and they immediately turned to this prophecy (Matt 2:4).

Christians will be like dew from the Lord (7).  They can be a silent blessing in the midst of many dry and thirsty people.  They can be like manna, salt, and light.  They can be like a young lion (8-9) with strength to judge and overcome the enemy.

In that day the Lord will destroy the security of man, witchcraft, drugs, charlatans, objects that hinder the worship of God, governments that hinder the worship of God.  The word for witchcraft is the word for pharmacy.  There is a link between darkness, witchcraft and drugs.  Drugs may be our form of demon possession.  All the high school shooters have been on mind altering drugs.  Many of our drugs try to level out our feelings and our moods.  We are not supposed to have any highs or lows.  Everything becomes grey.  So shooting someone is no more serious than cutting your finger.  Under the influence there seems to be no right and wrong.

One report said that 90% of the drugs being taken in the US today shouldn’t be.

6:1-5  God says, “Listen up!  I’m taking you to court.”  I want the mountains to stand as the jury.  You people tell me what I have done against you.  Have I been a burden to you?”  No, of course not.  Being a Christian is not a burden.  Sin and the guilt of sin is the burden.

The people did not answer so God reminds them what He has done for them (4-5). God does not pound on us.  He pleads with us.

Why is Miriam mentioned?  She was a faithful sister.  God remembers simple faithfulness.  Why is Balaam mentioned?  He was kind of a wacko prophet.  He tried to curse God’s people, but only blessing came out.  So he figured out a way that the people would curse themselves with their own sinful behavior.  They let themselves be seduced by pretty women.  They began to allow questionable things into their homes.  They became tolerant of sin.  They became inoculated to the sinfulness of sin.  They played with sin and then wondered why things were not going well.  They ended up cursing themselves.

Rev 2:12-14 Pergamum was unequally yoked with the world.

6:6-7  The people ask a sarcastic question.  They are being facetious.  God has never required extravagance.  He delights in a cheerful giver.  To obey is better than any sacrifice.  God made the sacrificial system much simpler than other religions of that day.  He clearly forbade child sacrifice.

6:8-16  God responds in love.  He tells us how to live.  Salvation comes by faith.  But the salvation lifestyle is simply to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.  Faith without works is dead.  Jn 6:28-29 tells us the work of God is to believe.  The jailer at Philippi asked how he could be saved and Paul said believe in Jesus.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (9).  The wise man will honor and respect the name of God.  The rod speaks of discipline and judgment coming.  The rich are deceitful and violent (12).

God is already judging sin (13).  Have you noticed your empty stomach, your empty bank account, your shriveled garden?  It’s because you are trying to be like the rich and wicked leaders.  Your sin affects the quality of your life.

7:1  The prophet is distressed about the wickedness of the people.  There is barrenness in the land.  All the good men are gone (2).  The leaders are up to their elbows doing evil (3).  They are confused because they do not fear God and honor His name (4).  They can’t fix the economy and the debt crisis because they have sin in their life and they don’t fear God.  Families and friends self-destruct because they have failed to honor the Lord (5-6).  They have broken their relationship with God, so all human relationships are affected and out of joint.  A broken relationship with God blinds us to the solution.

7:7-10  Don’t look to men and blind yourself to truth.  Hope in God and see.  We have all sinned and distorted our view of life, but we have an Advocate, a defense attorney in God’s courtroom.  Are we willing to bear the chastisement of our Father because we deserve it?  I will trust and obey.  I will hope in God.  Then people will see God in my life if I am faithful.

7:11-17 may be a picture of the millennial kingdom in Revelation.  Before the better days will come the land will be desolate because of sin.  Your sin causes dry times, but God has provided a sacrifice for your sins.

7:18-20  We are reminded that God pardons and forgives.  He displays His wrath against sin, but delights to show mercy (18).  He pulverizes our sins and throws it back into the sea where it belongs (19).  He keeps His promises (20).

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