October 3, 2001

Micah 7

The time in which Micah prophesied is debatable – some say the times of Hezekiah, some Manasseh and some Ahaz, but 1:1 requires the time of Ahaz and the beginning of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was a good king, but according to Micah, the people were corrupt.

Having no strong spiritual foundation from God's word – that is, no godly faith, it is no wonder they were so easily swayed to extreme godliness and extreme evil by whatever king was in power. Without a firm faith in God that takes His word for the final authority for everything, people will be blown about like a small ship on the sea before a strong wind. (Eph. 4:14 .)

Micah sounds like Elijah who said, I, even I only, am left. (1 Kgs. 19:10.)

Vv. 1-6

The prophet responds to the threatening of the Lord (Mic 6:9-16) in the name of the believing church with a penitential prayer, in which it sorrowfully confesses the universality of the deep moral corruption, and painfully bemoans the necessity for the visitation of God (vv. 1-6); after which it rises, through belief in the fidelity of God, to the confidential hope that the Lord will cause the light of His grace to rise again upon the church, which is bearing the merited punishment, and will not let its enemies triumph over it, but will procure it justice, and deeply humble the foe (vv. 7-13); and to this it appends a prayer fore the renewal of the former manifestations of grace (v. 14). The Lord answers this prayer with the promise that He will renew for His people the wonders of the olden time (vv. 15-17); whereupon the prophet closes by praising the mercy and grace of the Lord (vv. 18-20). (Keil)

I. 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, # Mic 7:1-6. (MH)

All the expositors admit that chapter seven is Micah expresses the thoughts of the faithful of all ages, the church.

Micah continues the previous chapter where he exposed the evil motives, character and works of the religious and civil leaders. He also defined what God considered good and acceptable in his sight, 6:8.

V. 1, Woe is me! The Prophet complains that he lives in such a time when all of the good fruit is gone. The enemy has done his job well, carrying everything away into cruelty and deceit.

First ripe fruit.

When we read and hear of the wisdom and zeal, the strictness and conscientiousness, the devotion and charity, of the professors of religion in former ages, and see the reverse of this in those of the present age, we cannot but sit down, and wish, with a sigh, O for primitive Christianity again! Where are the plainness and integrity of those that went before us? Where are the Israelites indeed, without guile? Our souls desire them, but in vain. The golden age is gone, and past recall; we must make the best of what is, for we are not likely to see such times as have been. (MH)

It was as hard to find a good man as to find any of the first-ripe, or best, fruit at the end of summer, after the harvest was over.

as the grapegleanings of the vintage is a reference to Old Testament Israel, as it is always compared to a vineyard. See Matthew 21:38ff., &c. The enemy had striped the vineyard clean, except for a few grapes he could not reach. All but a few of the poor were given over to evil. Micah 3:10ff., tells us that even the religious leaders are out for blood—that is, taking advantage of the flock for their own benefit.

V. 2, he sees that all good men have been corrupted, so that there is none left among the inhabitants who are upright. Everyone, even those who were good, is given over to evil, and the evil has grown so bad that they are even doing evil every man against his own brother.

They are all like wild beasts, waiting, or even hunting for the opportunity to pounce upon his neighbor. No matter how close the neighbor might be relation wise, it is every man for himself. As the wild beast that is hungry for blood, every man cares not what hurt he might inflict; he is only interested in how he can gain for himself.

V. 3, the evil doers are so committed that they do evil with both hands, not half-heartedly. The evil men hunt the innocent and helpless like they would hunt wild game.

Those who should be defending righteous and justice are themselves on the take, even asking for a "pay off." And thus "justice" is sold to the highest bidder. The result is that the rich man does not have to face justice for the evil deeds that are being "preached" against throughout this book. (See chapter 2.)

Let me ask: Is it a bribe to pay someone in authority to do right?

Vv. 2 & 3, tell us that those in power, the prince and the judge, are joined up with the rich, and the three conspire among themselves to do evil against those who do not have the power to resist them (not necessarily the poor man, but the average person who is minding his own business is the one plotted against).

All the people who were in the place to do so were given over to gaining wealth, no matter who they had to hurt to gain wealth:

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

It is not difficult to find stories of men who financed both sides of wars, and even started wars to gain wealth or power. That is the lowest kind of wicked behavior, sacrificing untold suffering and death in order to gain wealth. And if men are willing to start and finance wars to gain wealth, we can rest assured that they have no reservation about enslaving others for money, both debt slavery and physical slavery.

Hunt every man his brother with a net. The impression here is that the wicked view gaining wealth at other's expense through violence and fraud as a game – how much can they do and still get away with it? Not only do they find fulfillment in their fraud, but they work at perfecting their wicked ways. They lay awake nights dreaming how to destroy their neighbor, and they hold meetings behind closed doors in their common purposes, chapter 2.

[V. 3] Others read it thus: To do evil they have both hands (they catch at an opportunity of doing mischief), but to do good the prince and the judge ask for a reward; if they do any good offices they are mercenary in them, and must be paid for them. (MH)

V. 4 is not a good commentary of the best of the "elite" and of the wealthy of the people. It looks to me like this is where the saying might come from, "They stick it to you." It is a dangerous thing to have anything to do with them:

2 Samuel 23:6 But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: 7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.

They prick everyone who comes into contact with them. Being among them is like being in a briar patch – you will not escape unharmed. If this is the "best" of the inhabitants of the land, one wonders what the "worse" were like.

The day of thy watchmen, or those who should be watching after the welfare of the people, but are watching out for their own welfare. Their day of judgment will come, when the day of thy visitation comes – God's day of reckoning against the wicked. (See Isa. 10:3, Jer. 46:21, 50:27.) Those who have "perplexed" (confusion, confounding) the people so much with their evil will now be perplexed, not knowing which way to turn.

Vv. 5, 6, when the Christian faith is lost from a land, its inhabitants cannot be trusted – no one can be trusted, for everyone is treacherous, including the guide, or the counselors. (See Jer. 9:2ff.) Not even one's spouse can be trusted, for all are working deceit. When justice is perverted, no one is safe.

Note here that all natural relations of life in which one should be able to trust have been corrupted. It was not safe to trust anyone; treachery had become so universally accepted that "one knew not whom to repose any confidence in." (MH) Everyone is out to make what they can, and they will mislead you of there is anything in it for them.

Everyone was only interest in what he or she wanted.

Illustration: (October 9, 2001) "AN"is only interested in what she wants. She is destroying a family by marrying an unsaved guy, who has not a spark of interest in the Lord. In fact, upon close examination, it seems he has very little interest in her, other than a physical interest.

It seems as Micah's age was much like our modern age, and not unlike ages past. Everyone, religious & civil leaders, as well as the average person is only interested in what he or she wants.

And then the Messiah appears to judge righteous judgment.

October 4, 2001
I am involved in the zoning issue again. And to me, the opening of this chapter reminds me far too much of what we are against. We are against those in power in our county who have over the years plotted together with the rich in the community for the purpose of imposing this added cost upon the average citizen.

October 9, 2001

Micah 7:7-13

Though Micah spoke directly to Israel of old, his words reach into the distant future to the Gospel Chruch.

From vi. 9—vii. 6, he shows to how limited an extent these demands are complied with by the people, how true and cordial piety and justice have disappeared from the midst of them, and how, therefore, the threatenings of the law must, and shall be fulfilled upon them. The reproof and threatening are then followed by the announcement of salvation, which refers indeed to the Messianic times, but without any appearance in it of the person of the Messiah, the brightness of which meets us only in the main body of the prophecy. The main though here also is the entirely altered position of Israel in their relation to the heathen world. (Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, p. 382. Reprint by MacDonald Publishing Co. 1854)

"[T]he threatenings of the law must, and shall be fulfilled upon them." "[Y]ea, let God be true, but every man a liar;" (Rom. 3:4.) No matter how compromised the word of God might be, e.g., "God is the father of us all, so worship him, every man in his own way", God's word will come to pass.

This fact should strike fear in all Christians, but few will even admit to the fact. (See the Mayflower Compact, a copy of which is in the Micah SD.) This covenant made with almighty God is still in effect. And we can fully expect God to bring the terms of that covenant to pass.

V. 7, Therefore I will look unto the Lord...

Vv. 1-6, paint a very dim picture — there is not one who can be trusted. There are none righteous, and there are none who seek after God, nor after his neighbor's welfare. So what can one do in the midst of such evil?

V. 7, Therefore I will look unto the Lord. The remedy for the godly in desperate evil (Geneva) – look up. If we look unto men, we will certainly be discouraged, for we will see that all men are given over to evil – "I said in my haste, All men are liars." (Ps. 116:11.) There is evil all around us, so we must look up. We must Flee as a bird to your mountain. Psalms 11:1. For the Lord is everything that fallen man is not.

The prophet had been complaining that there was no comfort to be had, no confidence to be put, in friends and relations on earth, and this drives him to his God: Therefore I will look unto the Lord. The less reason we have to delight in any creature the more reason we have to delight in God. If princes are not to be trusted, we may say, Happy is the man that has the God of Jacob for his help, and happy am I, even in the midst of my present woes, if he be my help. If men be false, this is our comfort, that God is faithful; if relations be unkind, he is and will be gracious. Let us therefore look above and beyond them, and overlook our disappointment in them, and look unto the Lord. (MH)

I will wait for the God of my salvation. Isaiah chapter 40 speaks of waiting on the Messiah to come, who will feed His flock like a shepherd, &c. Isaiah 40 closes with v. 31,

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Habakkuk complained that the wicked totally ignore the word of God, yet the Lord does not judge them. After he spoke his complaint, the Lord said, Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (2:4.) "Don't be impatient," the Lord says. "When the time is right, justice will come."

Not doubt, one of the hardest things we must do is wait upon the Lord:

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. (Ps. 37:9)

My God will hear me when I cry to Him in my distress. Is He our God? Do we really believe He hears the cries of His people, and that He delivers them from all their fears? (Psalms 34.) Then why don't we cry out to Him for His mercy and aid rather than complain against Him? And thus the Church is taught in her distress to cry out to her Saviour, and wait for His deliverance.

Note: We look unto the Lord through God's word, and there we find the many promises of His Spirit moving in the hearts of His people, giving them the desire to conform to His revealed will, e.g.:

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn... (Zech. 12:10.)

Note that Israel mourned in her Babylon captivity, Daniel chapter 9 and Nehemiah chapter 1; the Lord, according to His promise, restored Israel to her land; the Spirit of Grace was poured out after Christ, and the people cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Acts 2:37. See also Malachi 4:6. The prophet looks forward to the glories of the Gospel Church.

Look up, and we will see the many promises of God's Spirit calling multitudes of people to His holiness.

V. 8, is addressed to the enemies, or the oppressors of the Israel of God, the Gospel Church, a very important promise for our day–both the ungodly and the Muslims are working hard against the Gospel Church today (October 31, 2001). The prophet tells the oppressors not to rejoice though they seem to be prospering over her. She has looked unto the Lord, and what she saw was that those who touch the apple of His eye have offended the most high God who gave His only Son for her benefit:

Zechariah 2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

From my notes on Zechariah 2:8:

Fourth point: V. 8 The warning goes to and beyond the time of the Messiah. Within this though is the judgment upon the nations which have opposed the kingdom of God (Hengstenberg).

[Geneva] V. 8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the {i} glory hath he sent me to the nations which wasted you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the {k} apple of his eye. (i) Seeing that God had begun to show his grace among you by delivering you, he continues the same still toward you, and therefore sends me his angel and his Christ to defend you from your enemies, so that they will not hurt you, neither along the way nor at home. (k) You are so dear to God, that he can no more allow your enemies to hurt you, than a man can endure to be thrust in the eye; # Ps 17:8. [Ps 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, 9 From the wicked that oppress me, [from] my deadly enemies, [who] compass me about. {oppress: Heb. waste} {my...: Heb. my enemies against the soul}

...for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. We will find this given first to Abraham in Genessis 12:3. It is followed through in the NT to the church, 2 Thessolians 1:6.

Seeing [it is] a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

The wicked who partake in troubling the covenant people face the recompense of a righteous God. Not only do the wicked face this recompense, but so do those of the covenant people who do not separate themselves from the wicked, 1 Corinthians . 3:17, Hebrews 10:25-31.

The promise of God's righteous vengeance stands against all those who stand against his kingdom. As the covenant people partake of the wicked' deeds, they also will face God's righteous vengeance, recompense, consuming fire, judgment and fiery indignation. Those of the covenant people who are yoked together with the unbelievers will face the physical destruction which the unbelievers face, yet their souls will be saved, 1 Corinthians 5.

END

Psalms 17:8 identifies His covenant people, believers, as the apple f the eye.

Micah 7:8, Rejoice not against me... The enemy had best be careful about rejoicing in his supposed superiority over God's people.

First, Geneva says of v. 8:

(h) This is spoken in the voice of the Church, which calls the malignant church her enemy.

The true Church calls the corrupt church her enemy. This is a very interesting observation. We can expect the pagans to be against the true and faithful church, but here we see that others operating under the name of Christ are enemies of the church. How?

1) their compromising message given under the guise of the truth attracts the simple, those easily swayed, believers.

2) the world looks at the compromised, church and believes that is the way the church as a whole should be.

Second, John Calvin says of v. 8:

The Prophet means, that the state of the Church was not past hope. There would be ample room for our enemies to taunt us, were it not that this promise cannot fail us, — seven times in the day the just falls, and rises again, (Proverbs 24:16.) — How so? For God puts under him his own hand. We now perceive the meaning of this passage.

Thus a large part of the life of the righteous is falling, and getting up again. Though we fall seven times a day, the hand of God Himself will lift us up. Accordingly, one of the marks of a Christian is that he falls (fails), and he does not remain down. He continually gets up and tries again.

When I sit in darkness of dispar, desolation and perplexity, not knowing what to do nor where to look, the Lord shall be a light unto me.

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)

"He does not say ‘lie,' but sit; she was not as one dead, without hope of life, but she sat solitary as a widow, helpless, unable to restore herself, yet waiting for God's time...." (Barnes' Notes.)

Not without hope, she sat, waiting for the light to come and shine in the dark place — that light is Christ. (John 1:9, 8:12, 9:5, 12:46.)

V. 9.

Matthew Henry says of v. 9:

Note, Those that are truly penitent for sin will see a great deal of reason to be patient under affliction. Wherefore should a man complain for the punishment of his sin? When we complain to God of the badness of the times we ought to complain against ourselves for the badness of our own hearts.

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown says:

the indignation of the Lord—His punishment inflicted on me (#La 3:39). The true penitent "accepts the punishment of his iniquity" (#Le 26:41,43); they who murmur against God, do not yet know their guilt (#Job 40:4,5).

Thus no matter what evil may befall us, it is far less than what we deserve for the sins of our own hearts. We do not have to look around for others to blame for the misfortunes of our nation, of our communities, nor of our own personal lives. The attitude of all penitent, when stricken by God, or under His chastisement, should be I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him.

Why are the heathen exalted over God's people? The answer is simple: "Because I have sinned against him." Sin is against the Lord God, not against the state, for the state could well be an ungodly state. Israel was told by the Lord: "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." But Israel was not left without hope: "but in me is thine help." (Hosea 13:9.) And the same message is for us today: "We destroy ourselves, but in the Lord, there is help." (See the statement I have by Salvian in Fall 2001 Examiner.)

The answer is to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God – submit to His will without murmuring nor complaining. We must patiently endure the Lord's chastening hand until His judgments pass. Israel had to wait seventy years, Jeremiah 25:11ff., and was commanded to be content in her captivity until the time of her judgment was over, Jeremiah chapter 29.

When we complain to God of the badness of the times we ought to complain against ourselves for the badness of our own hearts. (MH)

But we complain against God about the badness of the times with no thought about the badness of our hearts. No doubt, one of the most difficult things we must do is submit to the Lord in the "bad" times–that is, willingly bear the indignation of the Lord... and waith for him...

I will bear... until he plead my cause, and execute judgement for me... Judgment against her sin over, and at the end of God's timing, He will plead the cause of His people against their oppressors, and He will bring them forth to His light. At that time, they (we) will see His righteousness, or faithfulness to His promises. So we must depend upon the Lord to work His deliverance for us in due time.

I shall behold his righteousness. It is not until we get through the indignation (v. 9) and He brings us forth to the light that we can see his righteousness in all the things we have gone through. Will we see that righteousness this side of meeting Him?

I will bear... The sentence of God is just, for we deserve far more than what afflictions we might endure. The Judge of all the universe will do right. (Gen. 18:25.) He will plead the cause of the afflicted when the time is up.

The judgments which God righteously sends, and which man suffers righteously from Him, are unrighteously inflicted by those whose malice He overrules, whether it be that of evil men (as the Assyrian or the Chaldaean or the Edomite) or of Satan. The close of the chastisements of His people is the beginning of the visible punishment of their misdecds, who used amiss the power which God gave them over it. Whence it is said, "Daughter of Babylon, the wasted! blessed he that rewardth thee as thou hast served us" (Psalm 137:8). But all is of the mercy of God. (Barnes' Notes.)

In other words, thought the judgments against His people are just, He uses unjust and evil men who misuse their power and authority to accomplish those just judgments. And when justice is done against sin, He will judge the unjust and evil men who misused their power. God used Assyria to punish Israel, then He used Babylon to punish Assyria for Assyria's misuse of power. (See Jeremiah 50:9-20.) I believe this is also clearly laid out in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

V. 10.

Then... mine enemy shall see it... See what? The righteousness of the Lord throughout the judgment against the church's sin. The enemies of the Church had mocked her: "Where is your God now?" Those who had suppressed the Church will see the truth.

The taunt was against Israel of old – "Where is thy God now." The promise is that when the judgment is over, righteousness will prevail:

1 ¶ And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. 2 ¶ In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. 3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: 4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isa. 4.)

Note that it takes "fire" to burn off the dross. It almost reminds me of cutting out a cancer: the cutting is not pleasant, but the result is life.

Furthermore, this verse reminds me of Ezekiel 38, 39. God moves the enemies of the Church against the Church for a reason. And that reason is so He can judge the ungodly.

Note, The deliverance of the church will be the confusion of her enemies; and their shame shall be double, when, as they have trampled upon God's people, so they shall themselves be trampled upon. (MH)

The wicked rejoice that the people of God are trodden down as the mire of the streets.

Vv. 10, 11, note that Christ bore the indignation of God for His people. (1 Cor. 1:30.)

Christ." Cyril: "Then, having considered in her mind the grace of the righteousness in Christ and the overthrow of sin, the soul, in full possession of herself, crieth out, Mine enemy shall see it, etc. For, after that Christ came unto us, justifying sinners through faith, the mouth of the ungodly One is stopped, and the Author of sin is put to shame. He hath lost his rule over us, and sin is trodden down, "like mire in the streets", being subjected to the feet of the saints. But the blotting-out of sin is the Day of Christ." (Barnes' Notes.)

V. 11.

Though this section looked forward to Cyrus and the city being restored, it also looks forward to the new city of Zion, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. (Eph. 2:20.)

The confident expectation rises in vv. 11 ff. into an assurance of the promise; the words of the prophet in the name of the church rising into an address to Zion, confirm its hope by the promise of the restoration of Zion, and the entrance of crowds of people into the city of God. (KD.)

[In] {i} the day that thy walls are to be built,

(i) That is, when God will show himself to be a deliverer of his Church, and a destroyer of his enemies.

In the day... In that day...What day is being referred to?

In the day that they walls are to be built... Israel's God was the one who put them through the fires — He commanded and sent the pagans to destroy His people.

Jeremiah 25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
Jeremiah 27:6 And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.

He not only used the pagans to build the fire, but He used them to rebuild the city when the fire was over:

Isaiah 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

Parenthesis:

Isaiah 49:3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

God is glorified not only in exalting His people, but this passage in Micah tells us that God is glorified by the difficulties His people go through – He shows the world that He can bring them through the most distressing circumstances. And they can come through those distressing times praising Him.

The Church

Though Zion's walls may lie long in ruins, there will come a day when they shall be repaired. (MH)

(i) That is, when God will show himself to be a deliverer of his Church, and a destroyer of his enemies. (Geneva)

Though trod under foot, the time will come when the Gospel Church will be exalted.

V. 11, the decree ... removed.

(k) Meaning the cruel empire of the Babylonians. (Geneva)

The cruelties stopped when God's purpose was accomplished against His people, the oppressive pagan laws lifted, and Israel was restored.

The cruelties will stop when God's purpose is accomplished against His people, the oppressive, pagan laws lifted, and the Gospel Church will be exalted.

V. 12, shall come... Israel, scattered far and wide, will be inclined to return to the land after Cyrus gives the order to rebuild the city. The primary message of the passage was fulfilled under Ezra and Nehemiah. Note that during the time of the Acts, there were "Jews" from every nation under heaven present at Jerusalem.

But it also looks into the future to the Church Age. See Isaiah 5:26 &c. I have a major study on "Israel's Identity/Israel's Conversion", so there is no need to go into it here.

[F]or when God's time comes, though Pharaoh will not let the people go, God will fetch them out with a high hand. They shall come from all the remote parts, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain, not turning back for fear of your discouragements, but they shall go from strength to strength till they come to Zion. Thus in the great day of redemption God will gather his elect from the four winds. (MH)

Those who hate God and His word will say here, "You are talking of man working in the kingdom." However, this passage in Micah is clear — it is God's doing.

The following quote from Barnes (actually, Pusey) is lengthy, but explains the situation well

It is not human might or strength which God promises to restore. He had before predicted, that the kingdom of the Messiah should stand, not through earthly strength (Micah 5:9-13). He promises the restoration, not of city walls, but of the fence of the vineyard of God, which God foretold by Isaiah that He would "break down" (Isaiah 5:5). It is a peaceful renewal of her estate under God's protection, like that, with the promise whereof Amos closed his prophecy; "In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof" (Amos 9:11). This decree, which he says shall be far away, might in itself be the decree either of God or of the enemy. The sense is the same, since the enemy was but the instrument of God. Yet it seems more in accordance with the language of the prophets, that it should be the decree of man. For the decree of God for the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of His people was accomplished, held its course, was fulfilled. The destruction, captivity, restoration, were parts of one and the same decree of God, of which the restoration was the last accomplished in time.
The restoration was not the removal, but the complete fulfillment, of the decree. He means then probably, that the decree of the enemy, whereby he held her captive, was to remove and be far off, not by any agency of her's (This is conveyed by the simple neuter, qjry, "shall be far off"). The people were to stream to her of themselves. One by one, shall all thy banished, captive, scattered, children be brought quite home unto thee from all parts of the earth, whither they have been driven, "from Assyria, and from strong-land". The name Matsor, which he gives to Egypt, modifying its ordinary dual name Mitsraim, is meant, at once to signify "Egypt" (As it certainly does in Isaiah at the same date Isaiah 19:6; 37:25; (2 Kings 19:24)), and to mark the strength of the country; as, in fact, (Diod. Sic. i. 31), "Egypt was on all sides by nature strongly guarded." A country, which was still strong relatively to Judah, would not, of itself, yield up its prey, but held it straitly; yet it should have to disgorge it. Isaiah and Hosea prophesied, in like way, the return of Israel and Judah from Assyria and from Egypt. "And from strong-land even to the river" (Isaiah 11:11; 27:13; Hosea 11:11) (Euphrates); the ancient, widest, boundary of the promised land; "and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain" (Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 1:7; 11:24, Joshua 1:4; 1 Kings 4:21,24). These last are too large to be the real boundaries of the land. If understood geographically, it would by narrowing those which had just been spoken of, from Egypt to the Euphrates. Joel likens the destruction of the Northern army to the perishing of locusts in the two opposite seas, the Dead sea and the Mediterranean (Joel 2:20); but the Dead sea was not the entire Eastern boundary of all Israel. Nor are there any mountains on the South, answering to Mount Libanus on the North. Not the mountains of Edom which lay to the South-East, but the desert (Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:3; Deuteronomy 11:24) was the Southern boundary of Judah. In the times too of their greatest prosperity, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Syria, had been subject to them. The rule of the Messiah "from sea to sea" had already been predicted by Solomon (Compare Psalm 72:8. See "Daniel the Prophet," pp. 479ff), enlarging the boundaries of the promised land to the whole compass of the world, from the sea, their bound westward, to the further encircling sea beyond all habitable land, in which, in fact, our continents are large islands (See Aristotle, de mundo c. 3. in "Daniel the Prophet," p. 625.
Strabo speaks as though Homer too knew the fact that the sea encircled the land, "hinting at those in East and West, in that they were washed by the Ocean"). To this, Micah adds a new description, "from mountain to mountain", including, probably, all subdivisions in our habitable earth, as the words, "sea to sea", had embraced it as a whole. For, physically and to sight, mountains are the great natural divisions of our earth. Rivers are but a means of transit. The Euphrates and the Nile were the centers of the kingdoms which lay upon them. Each range of mountains, as it rises on the horizon, seems to present an insuperable barrier. No barrier should avail to hinder the inflow to the Gospel. As Isaiah foretold that all obstacles should be removed, "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low" (Isaiah 40:4), so Micah prophesies, "from mountain to mountain they shall come".
The words are addressed as a promise and consolation to the Jews, and so, doubtless, the restoration of the Jews to their own land after the captivity is foretold here, as Micah had already foretold it (Micah 4:10). But is the whole limited to this? He says, with remarkable indefiniteness, there shall come. He does not say, who "shall come." But he twice sets two opposite boundaries, from which men should come; and, since these boundaries, not being coincident, cannot be predicted of one and the same subject, there must be two distinct incomings. The Jews were to come from those two countries, whither its people were then to be carried captive or would flee. From the boundaries of the world, the world was to come. Thus, Micah embraces in one the prophecies, which are distinct in Isaiah, that not only God's former people should come from Egypt and A1ssyria, but that Egypt and Assyria themselves should be counted as one with Israel (Isaiah 19:23-25); and while, in the first place, the restoration of Israel itself is foretold, there follows that conversion of the world, which Micah had before promised (Micah 4:1-3), and which was the object of the restoration of Israel. This was fulfilled to Jews and pagan together, when the dispersed of the Jews were gathered into one in Christ, the Son of David according to the flesh, and the Gospel, beginning at Jerusalem, was spread abroad among all nations. The promise is thrice repeated, It is the day, assuring the truth thereof, as it were, in the Name of the All-Holy Trinity.

The promise is of the world's conversion, but that conversion is not accomplished through human strength:

Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

One of the agreements against any hope of converting the world is that they do not believe man can convert the world. It seems that the dispensationalists have forgotten the power of God, and that the conversion of the world, though using human instruments, is not dependant upon human instruments.

This law will be far away, i.e., will be removed or set aside ..., inasmuch as numerous crowds, as is added in v. 12 by way of explanation, will then stream to Zion, or come to the people of God, out of all lands (cf. Mic 4:1-2). For this is what v. 12 refers to, and not the return to Zion of the Israelites who have been scattered in the heathen lands. (KD.)

In other words, Micah here looks forward to the "numerous crowds" out of all lands who come to the new Zion, the new Jerusalem, or the Church, which represents the kingdom of our God on earth. Micah speaks of the influx of multitudes into the Church, drawn by the Spirit of God.

V. 13.

The land would primarily be the old land of Israel, which was laid desolate because of sin, 7:7, 9. The land could also refer to the world, as referred to in vv. 11, 12. The world is also laid desolate because of the sins of God's people. The enemy triumphs, but not because the enemy is stronger than God's people, as appears to the natural eye; rather, he triumphs because of sin in God's people. The day will come when sin will be dealt with by the Spirit, and the enemy will lose his hold.

Truly "the fruit of their doings," what they did to please themselves, of their own minds against God. As they sow, so shall they reap. This sounds almost as a riddle and contradiction beforehand; "the walls built up," "the people gathered in," and "the land desolate." Yet it was all fulfilled in the letter as well as in spirit. Jerusalem was restored; the people was gathered, first from the captivity, then to Christ; and yet the land was again desolate through the fruit of their doings who rejected Christ, and is so until this day. The prophet now closes with one earnest prayer (Micah 7:14); to which he receives a brief answer, that God would shew forth His power anew, as when He first made them His people (Micah 7:15). On this, he describes vividly the awed submission of the world to their God (Micah 7:16,17), and closes with a thanksgiving of marveling amazement at the greatness and completeness of the forgiving mercy of God (Micah 7:18,19), ascribing all to His free goodness (Micah 7:5:20).

Vv. 14-20

[Vv. 14-17.] The promise of salvation impels the congregation to pray that it may be granted (v. 14); whereupon the Lord assures it that His covenant mercies shall be renewed, and promises the thorough humiliation of the hostile nations of the world (vv. 15-17). (KD)

This is a wonderful section, full of promise for Old Testament Israel, as well as for the New Israel of God. The immediate fulfillment was their deliverance from their bondage to Babylon, but that was only a dim shadow of their deliverance from the bondage to sin.

The flock obviously refers to His people:

Psalms 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
Psalms 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

The Lord's sheep were scattered by sin to the four corners of the earth.

Jeremiah 50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace. (See also, Isa 56, Ezek. 34 [v, 6, My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.], &c.).
Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Feed ... with thy rod...

[Ps. 23:4] thy rod and thy staff—are symbols of a shepherd's office. By them he guides his sheep. (JFB)

The rod is not only identified with judgment and justice, but when used with sheep, it is identified with loving guidance and care of the sheep.

The prayer here is that God would care for His people in their captivity, protect and provide for His people as their shepherds in the past have failed to do.

He prays that God would restore them in prosperity, as it was in the time before their captivity. Was this a prayer for restoration into the land of Canaan? Or did this prayer look forward to Christ, and the rest promised in Him?

V. 15, According to the days... The Lord answers the prayer of v. 14, saying that He will again show Himself strong to deliver His people from their bondage as He did bringing His people out of Egypt.

Out of the land of Egypt... To me, this statement identifies this section more with the New Israel of God, the Gospel Church, than with the Israel that was in bondage to Babylon. The likeness of God's provided redemption from Egypt and from the power of sin through Christ is far more apparent than was the likeness to God's deliverance from Babylon. This is not to say that the Babylon deliverance was not marvellous, but it was far short of the deliverance provided by Christ.

Example: The deliverance from Egypt was based upon the Passover; however, the deliverance from Babylon was not. But the deliverance from the power of sin was certainly based upon the Passover. (1 Cor. 5:7.)

Though God's deliverance of His people from Babylon was marvellous, how much more marvellous is His redemption of His people through the work of Christ?

V. 16, The nations shall see and be confounded... The deliverance of the Lord's people will be so marvellous that the nations shall see and be confounded – that is, ashamed, confused, disappointed.

Lay hand... The gesture of silence – will not know what to say concerning Israel's deliverance and their lack of continued power over God's people.

Ears... deaf. Though they will see God's hand delivering His people, they will close their ears, so they will not be forced to hear of Israel's success.

Note that this is common with the unsaved. Though they see the mighty hand of God, they refuse to admit to the fact that it is the hand of the Lord. Example: The priests knew Christ rose from the dead, but refused to admit that as the proof that Christ was indeed the promised Messiah.

Josh McDowell has made a good living convincing others that one will be converted if enough facts are presented.

Clearly, it is the Spirit of God who must convict and convert, for the natural man will refuse to see, hear and admit to the clear facts that God works by His Spirit in His people. In fact, I must say that the dispensational crowd also refuses to admit that God can work in a marvelous way in His people. They cannot believe that God can save the world by His Spirit alone.

V. 17, lick the dust... a sign of humility. Shall be afraid of the Lord our God... Not the Lord their God.

Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Again, we see that knowing the facts of God's workings on earth will not necessarily lead to genuine conversion. They may fear Him, but those in Revelation only feared Him enough to hid from Him. Their fear did not lead to conversion from sin to righteousness.

And fear because of thee did not lead to conversion.

JFB says this verse tells of the conversion of those who hate God. Barnes' says otherwise. I will have to say that the context says they will not be converted.

I might also add here the danger of trying to scare people into heaven — I don't believe it works. God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind. Holy Spirit conviction leads to conversion, not fear of what the future might hold.

"Well, use any means possible to get them to make a decision." This is a major problem with Arminianism – work at getting the person to make a decision, even fear, rather than the Word of God to allow the Spirit to convict.

Now, obviously this fear could have been a fear that caused them to depart from evil, and turn to the Lord.

Thus the prophet brings us to the close of all things, the gladness and joy of God's people, the terror of His enemies, and adds only the song of thanksgiving of all the redeemed. (Barnes' Notes.)