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The Scriptorium

Judgment against Jerusalem

Yes, God still judges His people. Micah 1.8-13

Judgment and Glory: Micah 1 (4)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 77.1-3
I cried out to God with my voice—
To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me.
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing;
My soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered God, and was troubled;
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.

Psalm 77.1-3
(Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
My voice to God shall rise; I seek Him on His throne.
In days and nights of trouble I seek God alone!
When I remember Him, then am I sore distressed!
My spirit faints and longs to find in Him its rest.

Read Micah 1.8-13

Preparation
1. What did Micah see coming to Judah and Jerusalem?

2. How would he respond to this?

Meditation
Micah was shown that judgment and destruction were coming upon Judah and Jerusalem (v. 9). The people of God were wounded beyond curing with the sins of Israel – idolatry (v. 13). The situation was dire, but the people were insensible to it. Micah would have to take drastic measures to get their attention (v. 8).

He called on the people to repent and be ashamed of their sin (vv. 10, 11). But he knew they would not. Thus, their “place” would be taken away (v. 11). Though they sought what was good and safe, disaster would come upon them in the form of the Babylonians (v. 12). None of the cities of Judah would escape the coming judgment of the Lord (vv. 11, 12), so completely would He pour out His wrath against them.

The prophet’s work is not always about building people up in the Lord. Sometimes he must warn them of the consequences of sin and the judgment God can bring against us (Heb. 12.3-11). He won’t be very popular when he’s calling people to repent. Sometimes we need that warning. Sometimes we need to give it.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Therefore I will wail and howl…for her wounds are incurable” (Mic. 1.8,9).

How often do we read the Scriptures and say to ourselves, “What was wrong with those Israelites”?
“Why didn’t they just buckle down and obey God’s commandments?” “Why did they let their sin become incurable?”

Do you suppose the Church, or at least some of the people in it, are in the same predicament today? Do you sense that there is a healthy fear of God before our eyes? Fear enough that would lead us to obey God’s commandments? Is there a huge difference between the behavior of the people of God and the world? Should God’s judgment fall on us?

Jesus said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22.37-40).

Should disaster come down from the LORD? (Mic. 1.12)

God understands that we are dust (Ps. 103.14); so, He has given us His Holy Spirit to enable us to fulfill His requirements, thereby pleasing Him, so that we do not incur His wrath. Plus, when we do sin, we have a heavenly Father who will graciously forgive our sin (1 Jn. 1.9). It seems we are without excuse.

The way to go from “incurable” to cured is a new heart. And God even promises to give us that! “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ez. 36.26, 27).

Sometimes “wailing and howling” brings good news! If we’re willing to hear it.

Reflection
1. Micah seems to have been quite urgent about his witness. What would we look like if we were urgent about our witness for Christ?

2. God tells us flatly that He will discipline us when we stray from the path of His Law, and that that discipline is never pleasant (Heb. 12.3-11)? How would you know if you had come under that discipline? What should you do then?

3. Meditate on the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20.1-17). How will you specifically obey each of these today?

The Prophet here assumes the character of a mourner, that he might more deeply impress the Israelites; for we have seen that they were almost insensible in their torpidity. It was therefore necessary that they should be brought to view the scene itself, that, seeing their destruction before their eyes they might be touched both with grief and fear.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Micah 1.8

Closing Prayer: Psalm 77.7-20
Pray that God will revive His people, renew His churches, and bring a great awakening of faith to the world. Call on Him to lead you and all His sheep into a fuller life in Christ.

Psalm 77.7-20
(Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
O Lord, will You reject Your people without end?
Has favor ceased, are You no more our heav’nly Friend?
Your promise and Your love in anger are obscured;
my sin has turned Your hand away, Your beauty blurred.

Now let us call to mind Your deeds and wonders, Lord,
and meditate on all Your works and praise Your Word.
Full holy is Your way, great God of earth and heav’n.
To You, O God of strength and pow’r all praise be giv’n!

The waters and the deeps all tremble ‘neath Your hand.
The clouds give forth, the sky resounds across the land.
Your lightning flashes forth and lights the earth around;
we feel beneath our feet the trembling of the ground.

Your way leads through the sea; Your path the water parts.
Your footprints are to us deep mysteries in our hearts.
As then by Moses’ hand and Aaron’s law-filled voice,
You led Your sheep, lead us that we may all rejoice!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to last week’s summary of Colossians 4 by clicking here.

Colossians in God’s Covenant
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Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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