On Their Backs, at Their Head: Micah 2 (3)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 74.8, 9
They said in their hearts,
“Let us destroy them altogether.”
They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.
We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet;
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
Sing Psalm 74.8, 9
(Rockingham: O Lord Most High, with All My Heart)
Within their hearts they plot and scheme: “Now let us finally bring them down!”
Our signs and prophets all are gone; they burn our churches to the ground.
Read Micah 2.6, 7
1. What were the people saying to God’s prophets?
2. What effect did this have on God’s words?
A famous “Pogo” cartoon strip once had the main character saying, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
God is about to describe the people of Israel and Judah as His enemy, but before He does that (v. 8), He wants them to know why: They have turned away from the Word of God (v. 6). They have let their preachers know that they don’t want to hear hard words, convicting sermons, or messages from the Lord insisting they should change. If they must be preached to, let it be in agreeable words, easily understood and received.
In so doing, God’s people were trying to restrict His Spirit, Who comes to convict and to edify His people. But the Spirit of God cannot be restricted (v. 7); and the words God speaks through His prophets, if they will not be received for the good He intends, will bend and break all who resist them (v. 7).
God’s words are always good, but only if we receive them for uprightness. The word “upright” (Hebrew, יָּשָׁ֥ר yashar) points back to the day when God made men and women in His image, in perfect communion with Him, ready to bring His goodness to light in the world (cf. Eccl. 7.29). In forfeiting the promises of God, Israel and Judah forfeited the goodness they could know from His Word. And they did this because they no longer desired to be upright before Him.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
People often make God out to be something that He clearly is not (Ps. 50.21). They create a God in their own weak image and allow Him to condone all their sins. They are to be pitied because their God is “Too Small”, as J. B. Philips wrote. Who wants to serve someone so fallible as we?
This is what the people of Micah’s day were dealing with too. They said to their prophets, “Don’t prattle on about our sins! We don’t really want to hear about it. If you can’t say something pleasing to us, don’t say anything at all.” (Thumper Theology)
Then God answered them (Mic. 2.7):
“Is the Spirit of the LORD restricted?
Are these His doings?
Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?”
God is infinite and perfect. His perfection is exhibited through blessings and judgments; and these for the purpose of leading us in a way that pleases Him. As this same verse is rendered in The Living Bible:
“Is that the right reply for you to make, O House of Jacob?
Do you think the Spirit of the Lord likes to talk to you so roughly?
No! His threats are for your good, to get you on the path again.”
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever more” (Ps. 16.11). Good words. Words to follow and embrace.
1. God’s Word aims to make us upright. What does that mean?
2. How can you tell when you’re being sucked into “Thumper Theology”? What should you do?
3. What does the Holy Spirit want to do in your life (2 Cor. 3.12-18)? What will that require of you?
Since they say, "Prophesy not," God will take them at their word, and their sin shall be their punishment. Let the physician no longer attend the patient that will not be healed. Those are enemies, not only to God, but to their country, who silence good ministers, and stop the means of grace. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Micah 2.6
Speak Your Word to me, Lord, that I may be upright and…
Closing Prayer: Psalm 74.10-23
Pray that God will free us from our stubbornness and sin, remember His covenant, shed new light into our darkness, drive back our foes, and revive us for His glory.
Sing Psalm 74.10-23
(Rockingham: O Lord Most High, with All My Heart)
How long, O Lord, must they prevail and mock and spurn Your holy Name?
Why stay Your hand? Deploy it now, and bring Your foes to lasting shame!
Our God is King from long ago, Who works deliv’rance in the land;
He split the sea, He crushed His foes; against Him none can ever stand.
You opened the springs, fresh water flowed; to You belong both day and night.
You bound the seasons and the earth, and gave the sun its glorious light.
Remember this, O Lord, our God: a foolish people spurns Your Name.
Deliver not Your flock to them, nor leave Your holy ones to shame.
Your covenant recall, renew, for violence spreads throughout the earth;
The poor and needy rescue, Lord, and we shall sing Your matchless worth!
Arise O God, and plead Your cause! See how the fools reproach Your Name.
Their voices quell, their uproar still, who Your majestic grace defame.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel: Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV, John R. Franke, ed, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).