WHO IS A HOLY GOD LIKE YOU – AWESOME IN JUDGMENT?
THE LORD WILL TURN HIS BACK ON HIS EVIL HOLY CITY WITH ITS EVIL RULERS AND FALSE PROPHETS
Remember what Jerusalem represents
I. (:1-4) CONDEMNATION OF EVIL RULERS – THE LORD WILL HIDE HIS FACE AND NOT ANSWER
What distinguishes a wise and righteous ruler from a foolish and wicked ruler?
A. (:1) Justice Should be Paramount
“And I said, ‘Hear now, heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel.
Is it not for you to know justice?”
B. (:2-3) Loving and Practicing What is Good (by serving the people) vs What is Evil
(by exploiting the people)
“You who hate good and love evil,
Who tear off their skin from them and their flesh from their bones,
Who eat the flesh of my people, Strip off their skin from them,
Break their bones and chop them up as for the pot and as meat in a kettle.”
Wiersbe: The description of these rulers’ actions reminds you more of ravenous beasts than of human beings. Instead of being faithful shepherds who protected the flock (Micah 2:12; 7:14), they attacked the sheep, skinned them alive, butchered them, chopped them up, and made stew out of them! But the day would come when these wolves in shepherds’ clothing would cry out for God’s mercy, but no mercy would be given.
C. (:4) Enjoying the Favor of the Lord vs His Condemnation
“Then they will cry out to the Lord, But He will not answer them.
Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time
Because they have practiced evil deeds.”
Kroll: Regarding God’s judgment against crooked politicians:
Isn’t it interesting? We have that ceremony where the President of the United States puts his hand on God’s Word and is sworn in. If they’d open it after that and read it, we’d be a lot better off.
II. (:5-8) CONDEMNATION OF FALSE PROPHETS – THE LORD WILL DARKEN THEIR VISION AND NOT ANSWER
What distinguishes a faithful prophet of the Lord (who shepherds people according to the truth) from a false prophet (who leads God’s people astray)?
A. (:5) Motivated by Truth Rather Than Personal Gain
“Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray;
‘When they have something to bite with their teeth, They cry, ‘Peace,’
But against him who puts nothing in their mouths they declare holy war.’”
B. (:6) Enlightened by the Lord vs. Darkened in Their Vision
“Therefore it will be night for you – without vision,
And darkness for you – without divination.
The sun will go down on the prophets,
And the day will become dark over them.”
C. (:7) Commended by Their Intimacy with God vs. Ashamed of Their Estrangement
“The seers will be ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed.
Indeed, they will all cover their mouths because there is no answer from God.”
D. (:8) Empowered to Proclaim the Unpopular Word of Judgment
1. Preaching in Power
“On the other hand I am filled with power – “
2. Filled with the Spirit
“With the Spirit of the Lord – “
3. Courageously Pleasing the Righteous God Rather Than Capitulating to Sinful Men
“And with justice and courage
To make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin.”
Goins: Micah mentions four spiritual resources that God has given him to speak the truth. One is power, clearly the power of God. God has given him strength to persevere in the face of opposition and discouragement. Second, he says, the Spirit of the Lord fills him. In the Old Testament, one mark of being Spirit-filled was having a zeal for justice, his third resource. God had given him discernment to understand right and wrong, moral absolutes. He understood the plight of the poor and the plight of the powerful, and God gave him the ability to speak to these issues. He understood justice and he could speak to justice because his understanding came from God. Finally, God gave him courage. This great word is a military term which is always used for soldiers going into battle. Only God can give that internal fortitude to fight fear in the face of enemies and opposition.
III. (:9-12) JUDGMENT WILL BE EXECUTED UPON JERUSALEM – THE LORD WILL DESTROY JERUSALEM
A. (:9-11) Summary Condemnation
1. (:9A) Pay Attention
“Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob
And rulers of the house of Israel”
The fish stinks from the head down
2. (:9B) Perverters of Justice
“Who abhor justice
And twist everything that is straight,”
3. (:10) Exploiters of the Innocent
“Who build Zion with bloodshed
And Jerusalem with violent injustice.”
4. (:11A) Money-Driven Leaders
a. Dishonest Rulers
“Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe”
b. Covetous Priests
“Her priests instruct for a price”
c. Greedy Prophets
“And her prophets divine for money”
5. (:11B) False Security and False Expectations
a. False Security
“Yet they lean on the Lord saying,
‘Is not the Lord in our midst?’”
b. False Expectations
“Calamity will not come upon us.”
B. (:12) Devastation of Jerusalem
“Therefore, on account of you
Zion will be plowed as a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins,
And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.”