Review, edited because ch 3, 4 were missing, July 13, 2001
The persons addressed are the scandalous leaders of the house of Israel, i.e. of the covenant nation, and primarily those living in his own time, though by no means those only, but all who share their character and ungodliness, so that the words apply to succeeding generations quite as much as to his contemporaries. (Commentary on the Old Testament, v. 10.467. Keil-Delitzsch. Micah 3:12, for your sakes...)
V. 1 Woe... A woe from God. I am sure there is nothing worse in the world than this God himself designing the judgment or woe against the workers of iniquity. Isaiah calls for many woes against God's people (chp. 5), John also saw 3 woes, Revelation 8:13. A 'woe' from God would be beyond description in horror.
Look who it is against. Them that devise iniquity... They are not just partakers of iniquity, but they are the ones who plan it out. In fact, as they lay in bed, they make their plans of how to increase their holdings at the expense of others, which is very contrary to what the godly should be doing. Psalms 4:8 (etc.), points out that the godly are to think upon the Lord, upon their bed in the night. The wicked lay in their beds devising iniquity. Then as soon as it is light, they are up and at it.
...is light. Normally, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil, but these men are so confident in their works of evil that they do them in the light. Their laws are passed in the light which allow their confiscation of property. In fact, the indication is that these workers of iniquity have laid a very good foundation which will permit their doing as they please, and no man can legally say, "What doest thou?" They have laid their plans well, and now use the laws of the land to obtain what they desire.
Vv. 1 & 2, go together: they laid on their beds in v. 1, and planed to do the things listed in v. 2. Notice, v. 1, Because it is in the power of their hand, which confirms that they have devised their plans well. They have worked their well laid plans, and have obtained this place of power and authority where they can 'legally' take other's property. They are smart, and use it to enrich themselves.
How common today: Men have worked for years to obtain legal confiscatory powers powers to take the fields which they please as Ahab took Naboths vineyard. They can take houses, and can take a man's inheritance, and they can do it with the blessings of the civil government, which will kill those who resist the evil. Most of the time, it is the civil government which does the confiscating. (In Indiana, the local school board has the power to raise property taxes for "education," though it seems that only a small amount goes to education. Instead, it goes to build bigger buildings. Vv. 1, 2, identifies the evil men on the school board who hold the property of the township hostage to their high tax rates. I am most familuar with the school board, for I was united in a fight against their gross misuse of funds a few years ago. We lost, because we were trying to stop an a public relations nightmare that is to say, "We need better buildings so we can give a better education to the children.")
The bad thing here is that those facing confiscation have no legal recourse to the civil government. One of the jobs of the CG is to protect from this kind of thing, fraud. But the workers of iniquity have done their home work well. Those frauded out of their fields, houses and inheritance have no protection from the CG because it is now being used to take these things from the helpless by force. Of course, taxes is one of the major ways of doing this, but there are many other ways in operation.
Easy credit (a couple credit card solicitations a week), compound interest and mounting debt all work on man's weakness to fraud him out of his heritage.
But the worse thing is inflation, which makes property value shrink while appearing to increase. Inflation makes the property worth more on paper, and that makes the property taxes higher. Property tax, inheritance tax, income tax are all beyond the person's control, as is inflation.
Our present 'social security' or 'welfare' system also forces signing over private property to the system to guarantee the 'system' will provide for our needs.
I guess something that aggravates me is the high cost of health care, whether it be hospital or nursing homes. Their high cost require the selling of the estate which should go to the heirs. But, here the heirs bring a lot upon themselves (nursing homes, especially) by not providing for their parents. (July 18, 2001, Carol's mother went to the doctor, who would not release her to live along again. She is 92. He said she either had to live with or close to us, or into a nursing home at $110 a day.)
As stated above, the wicked have devised it well they have closed the holes, and have taken all precautions that they might be able to take (legally) what they desire.
What recourse does the victim (v. 2) have? Where is his plea? The CG is controlled by the wicked, and they are experts at using it against the victim. However, much of the problem is the victim's fault. Evil men are in high places because the victim turned from God. 1 Samuel 8 was given before Micah, and the Lord's words through Samuel have come to pass. But sin on the part of the victim does not justify fraud and theft and violence on the part of the wicked to take the victim's heritage.
The wicked do not care that they drive the man and his family or the widow from his or her home and into the "poor house." They do not care how many they impoverish; their care is that they enrich themselves. The School Board does not care how great of a tax burden they place on the families nor that the family may have to sell out in order to pay the taxes. They are wicked men seated in the place of taxing authority.
Notice v. 11. The people love lies, so they follow after the liars in the pulpit; and then they complain about liars in places of civil authority, v. 1. (Although v. 11 tells us that they do not complain about the liars in pulpit, because they went there in order to be lied to.)
V. 3, the wicked devise iniquity against the helpless at night, and boldly carry it out during the day. Now, the Lord steps in. They have had their turn, and now it is His. They have devised iniquity against those in their power, now the Lord devises an evil against those in His power.
An singular. The evil the Lord devised against them was captivity at the hands of a pagan nation.
The wicked misuse their power. They look down on those under them with contempt and scorning, but they forget to look up. Everyone is under someone else's power, even if that someone is the Lord God.
The Lord will bring a greater power against the wicked of v. 1, a power they will be as helpless before as their victims were in v. 2.
Because it was in their power to do so, they let their evil nature control their actions. They devised iniquity against their fellow man. They have thought long and hard. They have laid extensive plans to gather the wealth for themselves or to pursue their own desires. They have used every means available to see that none escaped their grasp. They have planned well and worked their plan successfully. Yet look at what the Lord says, "You have planned well, so that none escape your grasp. I will set my infinite wisdom and plan against you for evil (judgment the opposite of good), and you will not escape."
How terrible to have an infinite God and His wisdom set against us for bad or for judgment. The Lord assures us that there is no escape from His judgement against the evil motives. The family or group of men who has devised the iniquity have the Lord God Almighty devising against them, and they will not avoid it.
These men who make these devices remind me of Job Surely you are the people and wisdom will die with you. These devisers of iniquity think that they are the people, and the rest are only people to use for their own benefit and glory. Their pride has them exalted to the heavens, yet the Lord will break that pride. (This section describes politicians in general of all ages as they devise ways of "rob from the rich and give to the poor." Upon close examination, however, we find that they are actually the ones who are gaining at the expense of those over whom they have power.)
The time of God's judgment against the wicked and their devises will be a "evil time" to say the least.
When His judgment comes against the evil tax system, monetary system, social system, political system, education system and the many other systems devised to undermine God's word, it will indeed be a time of chaos and travail.
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. (Ps. 2.)
As the devisers of iniquity are raging against the Lord, so is the Lord devising against them. Yet He is beyond their reach, and He shall move against them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Shall not remove your necks: They snared the helpless of vv. 1 & 2; they laid traps in their corrupt wisdom from which none could escape. The Lord assures them that they will not escape from the evil He has prepared against them.
V. 4, God's judgement takes place, and someone will speak up and say, "We have lost everything. He has removed it from us, and have given it to someone else." He gave their land to the Assyrians. Several hundreds of years later, He took Israel's heritage, and gave it to the church. (Mat. 21:41.) Remember what our Lord told the religious leaders? He accused them of devouring widows homes. (Mat. 23:14, Mk. 12:40, LK. 20:47.) If you will follow through Matthew, you will find that our Lord spoke these harsh words to the leaders of Israel just before He told them of their total destruction.
They devised their iniquity, v. 1, and cut off the Holy One of Israel. (Acts 2:22ff.) And the results were visited upon their own heads. They were utterly cut off, and their heritage given to others.
V. 5, refers to the unrepentant. Those who will not turn from their iniquity and turn to Christ have no part in the people of God, which is the congregation of the Lord. (The church, Heb. 2:12 compared with Ps. 22:22.) The condition for being part of this congregation has always been the same repentance and faith.
They resisted the light and truth for personal gain while they also hindered others from coming to the light and truth, Luke. 11:52.
V. 6, is almost exactly what was said to Amos, 7:13. "Preach, but not here nor about this subject. It is too offensive." Here the workers of iniquity are saying the same. "Don't preach to us. Who do you think you are to tell us these things? Don't place the blame on us. We are blameless for the evil that is taking place." (Acts 4:18, 5:40.)
But the prophets of God cannot be silenced he must speak against the evil doers of his time. His word is a fire in the bones, and must be spoken.
Observe: This sure sounds like today. God's people, as a whole, do not like preaching that lays the blame or sin at their doorstep. When the pressure gets too great, they find other 'preachers' who will give a more satisfying gospel. They do not want prophecy that is, the testimony of Jesus, Revelation 19:10.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The mass of Christians want messages requiring no repentance nor conversion. They do not want to be shamed by the word of God. They want to be told something to make them feel better, not something that places responsibility upon them.
God help us. Unless He steps in and opens some eyes, then only judgment lies ahead for His people and the society around them.
See Kershaw's letter in chapter 3.
7/15/87 (July 18, 2001)
V. 7, presents a common problem even back then: They placed their confidence in a name rather than in God's word. This problem is easily traced, and it comes to a head when our Lord confronted the Jews in John 8:33, We be Abraham's seed and were never in bondage to any man; how sayest thou, ye shall be made free? And then in v. 39, Abraham is our Father. (See also, Matt. 3:9, Jn. 8:39, 40. Paul covered it in Rom. 2:17-28.)
Isaiah 48:1, 2, gives us a clear picture the complaint against Micah's words, our Lord's words, Paul's words as well as just about every other Old Testament prophet's words was, We are Abraham's seed. We are the house of Jacob. God made these wonderful promises to Abraham and to Jacob, and because we are their descendants, we also have these promises. What do you mean telling of all of these evil things which are coming? You are saying that the spirit of the Lord is shortened, that it isn't the same today as it was when He promised to Abraham and Jacob. We don't believe that. So quite prophesying to us such nasty things as God's judgment. If he did judge us as you are saying, it would be contrary to these promises.
Micah and Isaiah, as well as all of the rest of the men of God who had to face this argument, repled, "This promise is passed down by faith, and that faith is proved by works. Your works prove that you are not included in the promise to Abraham." (Book of James)."
These people to whom Micah was speaking said, "If what you say is true, then the spirit of the Lord has changed."
Micah tells them, "No he hasn't; it is you that have changed."
Do not my words do good to him that walk up rightly? This is the beauty of God's word it packs a tremendous amount in such a short statement.
First, these people expected God to do good for them because they were of the house of Jacob. Therefore, they rejected any message of evil (judgment) from anyone Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, even Christ. Their expectation of good was based upon their claim of being a descendant of Abraham and Jacob. (Or of praying the prayer of Jabez.)
Second, this statement, in so few words, bluntly tells them that any expectation of good which might be connected to the promises to Abraham or to Jacob is based in walking upright. It is based in obedience to every law-word of God. They already knew this, for it is Deuteronomy 28 summed up into 11 words.
Third, we see in this statement the power of God's word. What a promise! My words will do good to those who obey them. This is restated by Paul in Romans 11:22. Notice, it doesn't say, To those who know my word. God's people are not destroyed for a lack of knowledge of what to do but, for refusing to do His word.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6.)
A) God's people can be misled by their leaders with wrong teaching. In this sense, they will be destroyed by their lack of knowledge. Their teachers mistaught them; therefore, they do not do what is right, e.g., tithing. If their teachers don't teach them the necessity of tithing in order to please God, then they may not do it. The results of not tithing will come to pass whether the leaders believe it or not.
B) judgment comes for refusing to glorify God as God over every area of life. (Rom. 1:21, 1 Jn. 2:3.) Destruction comes from refusing to acknowledge that God's law still controls every area of life today. Thou hast forgotten the law of thy God... Therefore, destroyed for lack of knowledge is destroyed for refusing to obey God.
Micah 2:7, do we want God to do good for us? He will, and it is His words that do good to us. As we obey His word, we cannot avoid the good which is attached to it.
Before we come down too hard on those to whom Micah speaks, let us remember he is speaking to us for our day also. Anytime the circumstance are the same, the message is also.
We see the attitude Micah is confronting here very prevalent today. "We are Abraham's seed by faith. Therefore we are the heirs according to the promise given to Abraham and Jacob. For anyone to speak of God's judgment against us is folly. He would not judge His people for whom He died. It just doesn't stand to reason."
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:29.)
True, we do inherit eternal life through the grace of God applied by faith, but if we try to make Galatians 3:29 stand alone, we pull it out of its context.
We are now heirs to the goodness of God (here in this life), must be taken with Romans 6:16, 11:22, 1 Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 6:7, 8, Hebrews 10:29-31, and many more like these.
Micah faced the attitude of we are Abraham's seed of the house of Jacob, therefore your prophecy of judgment against us for our sins (as mentioned in vv. 1-5), cannot be true. We are heirs to the goodness of God, not to his wrath against sin.
Today we see the same attitude. We are Abraham's seed of the house of Jacob (through faith). Therefore any prophecy of judgment against us for our sins cannot be true. We are joint heirs with Christ to the goodness of God, not to his wrath (judgment) against sin.
Micah's answer holds just as true today, and is confirmed many times in the New Testament. (A few listed above.) Yes, if we are in Christ, we are heirs to eternal life, but heirship to the goodness of God here in this life is based in v. 7, Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? Compare v. 7 with Romans 11:22, But toward thee, goodness if thou continue in his goodness:
Therefore, it is consistent with God's word and character to base His heirship in His goodness here in this life upon walking rightly or continuing in his goodness.
Fourth, finally, the good that is promised by our God is based on obeying God's word. It is not based in an emotion of any kind. It is based in obeying and pleasing God regardless of any emotion which is attached.
Anyone can decide to obey God's word, and then search His word for what to obey. Therefore, anyone can fall heir to the promised goodness of God. What a promise for us.
Vv. 8, 9, remember, the Lord is speaking to His people who devise iniquity, vv. 1, 2.
The Lord tells us that as late as yesterday, these devisers of iniquity have risen up as an enemy against:
1.) the peaceful man as they remove his garment. This could be a reference to taking the man's garment and not returning it to him at night as required by the law, or it could refer to taking advantage of those who refuse to or cannot defend themselves. In our day, it could refer to those who do not have the money to "purchase" justice by hiring good lawyers or paying off judges and high officials.
2.) the widow as they cast her out of the house of her pleasure, the house where she raised her family.
3.) the orphans as they took (frauded) away the inheritance. Could this be a reference to evil men refusing to obey the Jubilee. This could be the same situation which Ezra or Nehemiah faced.
V. 9, taken away my glory for ever could refer to judgment against the devisers' sins. The judgment they brought about was His removing His people from the land He had given them, from their children ( the women of v. 9) have ye taken away my glory for ever. Therefore the children pay for their parents sins, sins defined in v. 11.
Illustration: Evil, covetous men over the past 200 years have taken away God's glory from our once Christian nation. These united States now make up a pagan land.
It looks like in their devising they did three things against the peaceful man, against the widow and against the orphan which brought God's judgment. In doing these three things, it cost the children (the children of the peaceful man and the widow) the things with which the Lord had provided their houses and land, their inheritance. These things were never to be returned, for ever.
For ever could refer to the loss of the land to a foreign power that the Lord sent against this disobedient people. In other words, the wicked devisers of iniquity did not end up possessing the property they schemed so hard to acquire; rather, the foreign enemy possessed that land in payment for their sins, v. 10.
"You devisers of iniquity, you might as well get up and leave the land because it is about to spue you out. You think that you have provided well for yourselves with your devises. You think you can sit back now and rest. You have devised ways to take the man's covering. You have devised ways to take the widows houses and the orphans inheritance. You have devised ways to devour the widows houses within the law. You have made the laws of God of none effect by your traditions. You think you can rest now and take it easy?
No, your devises of iniquity have polluted the land, and it is about to spue you out with a terrible destruction." (Cf. Neh. 9:26ff.)
The message here is to God's people. The heathens have always lived like heathen, and wicked have always devised wickedness. (Ps. 2.) The judgment from the pollution is not because the heathens are acting like heathens. The controversy is with His people, not the heathen, Micah 6:2, 3.
God's people have found (devised if you please) ways to render God's laws of none effect through their traditions. The heathens have always tried to ignore God's law. Because God's people have devised many false teachings to void God's words, and thus cut themselves off from His goodness (v. 7), they have polluted the land. No doubt, the moral and physical pollution we see around us today is simply a result of the wicked among God's people devising ways to void God's words.
Why have they done it? Covetousness. There is big money in lies and false doctrines, v. 11.
The polluted land here in Micah is going to destroy the devisers. Their own pollution is going to come back upon them. Are we seeing the pollution of God's people being transferred to the land in the form of physical pollution? This pollution is getting so bad that the fish are uneatable and much of even the fresh water is polluted and unfit to drink without treatment. There is a huge market for bottled water.
God blames the pollution upon His people who devised iniquity. These devisers devise ways to 'get around' His laws for money. This pollution is going to destroy them with a terrible destruction. These devisers are at ease in their wicked devises. The money is coming in from the peaceful man, from the widow and from the orphan. The Lord here tells them they had better not get comfortable because the land was about to spue them out with a very 'sore destruction.' (Deut. 12:9.)
Observation: I did an article on GMO in the Winter 2000 issue of The Examiner. As I think on the text before me here in Micah, I believe that the "gene mixing" we see today (done with the intention to make money) is a result of the Christian's attempt to mix Christianity with the world that is, mixing the natural with the unnatural, the godly with the ungodly. The long term results of "gene mixing" is unknown, and the results could be devastating.
Scripture teaches us that the REST of God is being where He wants us to be, when He wants us to be there and doing what He wants us to do. God's rest for us in being busy in His perfect will. God's rest is not the world's type of rest of laying around without working. Hebrews 4 tells us that Canaan was the land of rest, which pictured the rest we have in Christ. Canaan took hard work and warfare to claim and to keep.
The world, flesh and devil will offer everything or anything to hinder our entering into this rest in God's perfect will, which is why many of God's children stay in the wilderness.
What keeps them there? See Deuteronomy 1:22-39. We either fail to step out by faith and do what God wants us to do, or fail to do what He wants us to do. All sin falls in these two areas not doing what He wants us to do or doing the things He doesn't want us to do. Either sin will keep us out of Canaan, our land of rest.
Rest being where God wants us to be and doing there what He wants us to do; being in His perfect will.
These devisers felt that a good income insured their rest, but God tells them different, so they gained that income through sinful means. The world today believes that a good income will bring rest, retirement.
But I do not believe Scripture give any indication of this kind of rest. The only one I can think of right now with that attitude, God said to him, "Thou fool, this night they soul will be required of you," and it was.
Folks have more rest (worldly) today than ever in history, unless they are working two jobs to stay afloat. They have more vacation or leisure time than ever, yet there is more pollution than ever. Scripture does not permit this kind of rest for God's people. Let's be found working hard at what God has given us to do right up to the day we die.
A good income obtained in ways contrary to God's words is not our rest. Rather, that income will be our own destruction.
If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood. He is not walking in "My spirit but in the spirit of lying and falsehood." Ezekiel speaks about the same men:
Woe unto the foolish prophets. That follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing. (13:3.)
Jeremiah speaks about them also:
Then the Lord said unto me, the prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them. They prophecy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of naught, and the deceit of their heart. (14:14, 23:26.)
V. 11, If a man walking in the spirit... Like Micah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah, these prophets also walked in the spirit. But the problem was that the spirit they walked in was a spirit of falsehood and lies. Note the Lord's warning in Jeremiah 14:
10 ¶ Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins. 11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. 12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. 13 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place. 14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. 15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.
The false prophets prophesied that God's people would not see judgment. Their message was that these were God's special people, and He would not be so harsh as to judge them as He would the heathens. They made God's people feel safe and comfortable in their sins.
Micah points out that the false prophets refused to prophecy truth. Rather they prophesied of wine and strong drink. They offered a message of prosperity and happiness without repentance and conversion from one's wicked ways. Their gospel appealed to the rich and to those desiring to be rich.
V. 11, he shall even be the prophet of this people. These prophets gave a message the people wanted to hear. The message avoided any condemnation, judgment or punishment for sin. Their message fit in very well with their self-indulgence and covetousness, vv. 1, 2. In fact, it was a message of "assured peace in this place"; it was a message of milk and honey that is, physical prosperity. It was one of love, joy and peace. It was not an offensive message, but one of encouragement and prosperity. And the people loved it. (Jer. 5:31.)
Here the people instruct the prophets on the kind of message they desire to have. They instruct them mainly by which message they will listen to. The temptation is great to give a message which will attract people. (The "herd syndrome" the "leader" wets his finger and sticks it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. Then he gets out in front and says, "follow me.")
The prophets promised abundant harvests of fruit and grain, with not a word of judgment against sin. The Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Micah were very unpopular because they called sin sin and called for judgment against sin. That message of God is ever unpopular.
Human nature has not changed. In fact, this is one of the things we have been warned about.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim. 4:3, 4.)
I think Paul's warning here concerns those within the church including saved people. The warning is about the day when Christians do not want the truth. They would much rather have a message of "milk and honey," something which will make them feel good about themselves, others and God.
They do not want to hear about their responsibility to God nor their duty to their fellow man. They want to hear about God's responsibility to them, for which they will pay good money (books, videos &c.). The successful electronic evangelist have this message as a rule.
When men refuse the truth, they will believe a lie. (2 Thes. 2:11, 12.) We live in a day of an abundance of lies. When people refuse to face their responsibility to God, then God sends them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.
People do not want to hear about self-sacrifice. They do not want to hear about discipline, commitment, faithfulness, consistency, sovereignty, judgment, sin, responsibility, holiness and purity. They will seek out prophets who will avoid these area, talking only about the goodness of God.
They will seek after and rejoice in the goodness of God, but try presenting the severity of God and see what happens. (Rom. 11:22.)
I am inclined to think that this is why the "feel good" gospel is drawing such large crowds. There is no responsibility connected to it. On the other hand, I also think this is why churches who try to preach responsibility towards God and his law-word have a problem getting people. People just don't want it.
This stand to reason. If there is a choice between a Bible message of responsibility, obligation, judgment and self-sacrifice and a 'Bible-message' of success, milk and honey, wine and strong drink, love, joy and peace, all of the ingredients which make you feel good, which would we choose? Now keep in mind, though, they are both being passed off as scripture. Both claim to bring the believer into close relationship to God. Both make the same claims, so if I am convinced both are Godly, which will I take?
Of course, anyone who is honest would have to say they would go to the one with the milk and honey. The wine and strong drink message. This is what the Lord said would take place in the last days, the days since Christ.
Our hope! It is found in the Lord. He alone can lay the responsibility of the gospel upon the heart. He alone can place the hunger for the truth within the heart. He alone can accomplish Micah 3:10-14. Mercy, do we ever need this.
I have seen this very thing over and over. I have even had people tell me they did not like the message of responsibility and judgment. They want to be made to feel good not convicted or depressed. People reject the truth because they want to. Only our Lord can speak to them.
Prophecy prosperity, especially in the time of need, and you will have a good following. You will be a prophet to the covetous people.
Keep in mind, these to whom v. 11 is addressed are devising iniquity, so they can take the fields which they covet, so they can take the houses of the widows, so they can remove a man's inheritance from him. They are in control of the laws of the land. They have very quietly moved into the places of power, and are now using that power to pursue their courses of iniquity. These are experts at devising iniquity, from which they reap tremendous prophets. They have settled back, and are at rest with the fruits of their wicked devises, v. 10.
V. 11explains why this group of devisers of iniquity can be at rest even though they are in total rebellion against God's law-word (vv. 1-2). Their lying prophets, who are very wise in the ways of the world, have spoken. They know where the money is. Their lying words attract support from those of vv. 1, 2, from those who are in power.
Of this people these prophets then give a message which will not interfere with the wicked deeds of this people. They want a message which will allow them to carry on in their wickedness, and they seek out prophets who will at the least not condemn them.
A MAN'S MORALITY WILL DICTATE HIS THEOLOGY. Apart from the grace of God, people seek out preachers who will allow them to continue on in whatever they desire to do.
I would suppose this is one reason why Rome has such a great following. This 'religion' allows a man to continue in his sin, yet be right with his god because their god is not like our God who demands holiness.
So these people the devisers of iniquity are attracted to preachers who will preach prosperity to them, even while they are involved in the wickedness of vv. 1-2.
If we will check George E. Gariner's series of tapes on the charismatic movement (he is now pastor of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, MI), you will find that this was the motivating thought behind the "Christian Business Mens Association." Oral Roberts started this group to bypass the local church. Their message was, "You can have the gifts of the Holy Spirit and still have your booze and cigarettes, etc."
Of course, if they are able to keep these things and still have "the power of god" (and I use this term very loosely), then we can be assured this "power of God," would be made available to the thief, liar, adulterer, and anyone else we might name. In other words, it is not made conditioned upon holiness, by these false prophets. The reason O.R. did it was for the money.
The charismatic prophets know where the money is at and they go after it. The compromise the word of God so that these workers of iniquity are made to feel welcome with their works of iniquity. They can bring the works with them. I have found this to be true in the small dealings I have had with them.
We had a family come several times to church. They enjoyed it, and learned from the word of God. They got some things straightened out with the Lord, and were considering joining. Then they asked us of our stand on tongues. It seems that even before this man was saved, a Catholic priest had influenced him to speak in tongues, which he did. Even after he was saved and not walking with God, he was involved in this heresy. When he found out my stand, he did not come back.
People want a message which permits their sin, yet power or peace with God, which is not restricted to the charismatics.
In LA, we had a insurance man in our church. His partner in his agency went to the largest SB church in the area. His partner was a drinking, smoking crook on the job. Ye he was on the board of deacons at this big SB church.
How could that be? Simple these pastors know where the money is. Their message is going to be one of prosperity, even while his people are involved in vv. 1-2. Any "Bible" message of prosperity that permits sin will bring in a crowd and money.
Of this people... Which people? The people of vv. 1-2. They are at rest, yet destruction is almost upon them, even at the door, v. 10. This is all too typical of the large "uptown" churches of our day. The "elite" of the city, the big name businessmen, the city fathers, those who are someone (those who have power in their hands, v. 1), go to these churches, and they support them well. These false prophets are the "prophets of this people." The devisers who want to hang onto their iniquity will find prophets who will permit it. There always has been these prophets and there always will be. Yet they do not realize that the Lord is devising evil for them which they will not escape from, v. 3.
August 7, 2001
The prophet having overthrown in vers. 7-9 the objection to his threatening prophecies, by pointing to the sins of the people, now repeats the announcement of punishment, and that in the form of a summons to go out of the land into captivity, because the land cannot bear the defilement consequent upon such abominations. The passage is based upon the idea contained in Lev. xviii. 25, 28, that the land is defiled by the sins of its inhabitants, and will vomit them out because of this defilement, in connection with such passages as Deut. xii. 9, 10, where coming to Canaan is described as coming to rest. (KD.)
And thus we must ask, "How much defilement can the land of North America stand?"
The false prophets prophesied of good things to come, but they were lies. Now God prophesies of good things to come.
This promise was partially fulfilled when the Jews returned out of Babylon, but its full accomplishment is in the kingdom of the Messiah.
This is one of the reasons I like these Bible prophets so well God does not leave without hope. God may have a very depressing message of judgment, woe, doom and gloom, but he never leaves us there. Now, the enemy of our soul sure will leave us with no hope, but our Lord never does.
Notice where the Lord places his message of hope. Right after we see the devisers of iniquity, those with power (and money) in their hands, flocking to the false prophets; right after we see the prospering of the messages of lies. We look around us at the prosperity of these "temples of doom," and wonder why we can't come up with the money to fix our car or put AC in the church.
For us, we look at the UMC down the street which certainly has no preaching worth anything, and someone leaves them $100,000.00 in a trust fund just to maintain the building. Folks can go there and feel comfortable, no matter what kind of iniquity they devise.
But look at v. 12, and the tremendous promise tacked on the end of vv. 1-11. This is so good, I really don't know where to start. Although I guess the first three words would be appropriate:
I will surely...
Boy, what a promise. There is hardly a page in the Old Testament that we can open where we will not find this I will, and it is three times here in this one verse. Online Bible gives 1535 I wills in the Old Testament, but not all of them are spoken by the Lord. I estimate probably 2/3 are God's, at least 1000.
I can guarantee there is a I will which will deal with every situation that can enter into the heart of man. I will, the grace of God revealed in the Old Testament. Everyone of these promise I wills is fulfilled in Christ. What a wonderful Saviour he is to us.
It just doesn't matter how dark the night, there is a light. These bring shining lights in the darkness of doom and gloom. These I wills are scattered very liberally throughout the darkness. They should attract our attention. We should be drawn like a moth to a flame to them. We should be consumed by them.
Again, in LA, we had a man who was the mantaintance supervisor for the tallest building in Shreveport. On top of this building they kept an American Flag flying 24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week, except in the rain. This was a large flag, it was (if I remember right), 700-800 sq. ft. in area. That is as large as the house we lived in.
They kept the flag lit at night. And on a dark night, the lights on top would draw moths from a 25-30 mile radius. Bug experts from the U. of LA would come to examine these moths, and even they would find it hard to believe that these bugs would come from so far away. Obviously, they had a bug problem. The bugs would clog the AC units on the roof; they would clog the cooling towers; they would stink to 'high heaven' if left there. They couldn't shovel them over the side because they were downtown. They did create problems, yet every time they tried to turn off the lights, the switch board would be swamped with calls wanting them back on.
These I wills scattered throughout the Old Testament scriptures are just like those high powered mercury vapor lights that could be seen as soon as you could see Shreveport on the horizon.
Let us not get caught in the doom and gloom of God's wrath and judgment against sin. Let us not drown in the hopeless situations we see in human nature around us. Let us not emphasize the darkness. Let us not get lost in the darkness; rather, let us allow the darkness to point us to these I wills of God. These promises of God which are found in Christ our Lord. Then let us claim them in prayer.
He never leaves us in the darkness. He always provides us with a strong light, a "mercy vapor light" which shines upon our standard, our ensign. (Isa. 5:26, 11:10, 12, 18:3, 30:17.) Let us not lose sight of these I wills. Without them, we would surely perish in the darkness of this world. They should give us faith and boldness in prayer.
They are scattered everywhere. There is no place we can step that these lights are not visible. Let us keep our eyes, our hearts and our minds directed on these points of light, these promises of God.
Do we see that compromising false prophet raking in the money?
Let us keep our eyes on v. 12, I will.
Do we see that devisor of iniquity ending up with the power which he uses to advance his iniquity? Let us keep our eyes on the I will of v. 3 (that is, do I). God is in control; He has their number.
Do we see the poor man, the widow, the orphan, who are trying to do right being robbed of their houses, land and inheritance? Let us keep our eyes on the promise of v. 7.
There is a I will for every dark place where we might walk. Might we allow those points of light to direct our paths. Don't allow our enemy to emphasize the darkness. Don't allow him to get us stumbling around in the dark. Our gospel, our Saviour, is one of light and peace with God and inner peace, as well as one of hope and joy in the Holy Spirit.
I will... how we need these I wills in our dark days. They are there. Let's claim them and keep marching in the light of our King, our ensign.
Now, what is he surely going to do?
Surely assemble, O Jacob, all of these; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel;...
Micah has really been hard on them. He told them that their preachers of peace and prosperity, material, wealth were lying. He has told them that their evil devices will cost them what they worked so hard to obtain, and will get them carried away into captivity. He has told them that nothing except destruction and captivity lies ahead regardless of what their false prophets are saying.
But he doesn't leave them in a hopeless situation. He does not leave them "in captivity" but he promises a 'regathering' of all Jacob that is, of the remnant of Israel.
There are two keys words here.
First, all of thee, Jacob. This means this is not a reference to the regathering of Israel under Cyrus and Artaxerxes. (Ezra 1:2-4; Ezra 7:13). Very few returned under Cyrus and Artaxerxes. The few who did return were mainly from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, (Ezra 1:5, 2:1, 4:1, 10:7, 9). The great mass of Israelites had become very prosperous in Babylon, and had no desire to leave. They had no desire to suffer the loss, hardships and hard work involved in returning to Israel. If nothing else, we can be assured from human nature the average child of God has no taste for the sacrifice, work and hardship involved in rebuilding the places of their lives and of society which have been destroyed by sin.
all of theeThe restoration from Babylon was partial. Therefore that here meant must be still future, when "all Israel shall be saved" (#Ro 11:26). The restoration from "Babylon" (specified (#Mic 4:10) is the type of the future one. (JFB)
Second, remnant of Israel. We should be reminded again that all prophecy peaked in Christ. He fulfilled all of the law and the prophets. The early church saw all of the prophets fulfilled in Christ, Acts 3, 15:13-18.
The regathering under Cyrus and Artaxerxes was just a small picture of this gathering spoken of in Acts. We can easily follow this word, 'remnant' through and find what Micah is referring to here. Some other places this exact word is used, Jer. 23:3, 31:7, Zeph. 2:, 7, 9.
Remnant from what I can find on this word, (towt, 2307b-bdb, p. 984). Here is what this word means. I know this is really deep, but hang on and follow this through. Strong, in his dictionary says, 7611, Remnant comes from the root, 7604 remnant. The Remnant of 7604 means, "That which has been left," referring to that which has survived after an elimination, a judgment, or a catastrophe.
Now, 7611 (our remnant here in Micah), speaks of the 'remaining portion.' In order to be honest, let me give what TWOT says here, pg. 895). "In the vast majority of cases, however, context shows that the remnant is that which has come or will come from out of the house of Israel---"
(7611), however, finds what maybe its most intriguing usage as a prophetic technical term representing the final remnant of Israel, namely, those Jews who survive to the end of this present age upon whom God showers all of the blessings which have been promised to Israel through the centuries. Thus (7611) is used in Zech. 8:6, 11, 12, speaking of the remnant and residue of Israel at the time when Jerusalem shall be called "a city of truth," (Zech. 8:3, children will play in her streets (85:5), it will be marvelous (8:6), God will call them 'my people' and will have brought them from the east and west (8:7), God will be their God, "in truth and righteousness" (8:8), her agriculture shall prosper with much rain (8:12), Israel and Judah will be a blessing, not a curse (8:13), nations will send representatives to worship the Lord in Jerusalem (8:22), and people of various nations shall acknowledge that God dwells again with Israel in a special blessed way, (8:22).
We see according to Revelation 11:8, the physical city of Jerusalem is referred to as "Sodom and Egypt." This would make it kind of difficult to make this city spoken of by Zechariah the physical Jerusalem.
I will put tehm together as the sheep of Bozra...
It his proper time, the Lord will gather his elect, as a good shepherd gathers his flock, together in Christ. John chapter 10. See my notes on Isaiah 11:
Jeremiah 23:3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out
of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them
again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
Ezekiel 34:11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
Ezekiel 34:31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 36:10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:
Ezekiel 36:37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.
Sheep are inoffensive and sociable creatures; they shall be as the flock in the midst of their fold, where they are safe under the shepherd's eye and care; and they shall make great noise (as numerous flocks and herds do, with their bleating and lowing) by reason of the multitude of men (for the sheep are men, as the prophet explains this comparison, #Eze 34:31, not by reason of their strifes and contentions, but by reason of their great numbers. This was accomplished when Christ by his gospel gathered together in one all the children of God that were scattered abroad, and united both Jews and Gentiles in one fold, and under one Shepherd, when all the complaint was that the place was too strait for themthat was the noise, by reason of their multitude (#Isa 49:19-20), when there were some added to the church from all parts of the world, and all men were drawn to Christ by the attractive power of his cross, which shall be done yet more and more, and perfectly done, when he shall send forth his angels to gather in his elect from the four winds. (MH.)
V. 13, The breaker... is the Lord of hosts. Though it seems to the people of Micah's time that God had forsaken his own and cast them off, he promises to build them again. He breaks down all opposition, and clears the road for his people. He then leads them beside the still waters and makes them lie down in green pastures.
... Christ is the church's King; he is Jehovah; he heads them, passes before them, brings them out of the land of their captivity, brings them into the land of their rest. He is the breaker, that broke through them, that rent the veil, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. The learned bishop Pearson applies it to the resurrection of Christ, by which he obtained the power and became the pattern of our resurrection. The breaker has gone up before us out of the grave, and has carried away its gates, as Samson did Gaza's, bar and all, and by that breach we go out. The learned Dr. Pocock mentions, as the sense which some of the ancient Jews give of it, that the breaker is Elias, and their King the Messiah, the Son of David; and he thinks we may apply it to Christ and his forerunner John the Baptist. John was the breaker; he broke the ice, prepared the way of the Lord by the baptism of repentance; in him the gospel began; from his time the kingdom of heaven suffered violence; and so the Christian church is introduced, with Messiah the Prince before it, on the head of it, going forth conquering and to conquer. (MH)
And thus the promise here in the midst of the gloom of judgment is of a day to come when the Lord I will will gather a great multitude of men into the fold, as a shepard gathers his sheep into the fold. And that is the DAY OF CHRIST, in which we live.
Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Though Habakkuk spoke in the midst of wickedness and judgment, he foresaw the blessings of the Lord upon the church.
**New file Micah 5, see typed notes in Isa. 7 for notes on Micah 5.