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The Scriptorium

The Treachery of the Prophets

Why it's so important to feed on God's Word daily. Micah 3.5-7

Warnings to Rulers: Micah 3 (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 3.5-7

1. How were the prophets misleading the people?

2. What would God do to judge them for this?

The sin of the prophets of Israel and Judah was that they told the people what they wanted to hear, rather than what God was revealing based on His Law. Thus, they led the people astray into wickedness and sin (v. 5). They promised peace when war and destruction were about to break out against them. The prophets served the god of their bellies (cf. Phil. 3.17-19). They were eager to “chew” on the offerings people brought them, but not on the Word of God (Jer. 15.16).

So God refused to put any Word from Him “into their mouths” to feed on and proclaim (v. 5). He would withhold revelation (Hebrew: חָז֔וֹן, chazon, here translated “vision”) from them, so that they would not be able to discern His will (v. 6). The idea of the sun going down on the prophets indicates that God was removing the light of truth from them, leaving them “in the dark” about what the people should do.

So when the Assyrians came to Samaria, and the Babylonians overwhelmed Judah, the prophets would be “ashamed” and “abashed” because of their failure to proclaim the truth to God’s people. They would have nothing to say from the Lord – no counsel, guidance, word of comfort or exhortation, promise, or hope (v. 7).

God has entrusted His Word to all of us. Will we hear Him, or tell ourselves lies and feed on the scraps of treacherous prophets while the banquet of God’s truth remains untouched?

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Things that the treacherous prophets oversaw were not happening as they should: night without vision, darkness without divination, and day without light (Mic. 3.6). Things were in a mess and the people of God were suffering for it. And through poor leadership they had never been taught to seek the LORD for themselves. They were dependent upon self-serving and evil leaders.

Imagine though, if they had been shepherded properly and had been taught how to live their own lives before the LORD in obedience and trust. God told the prophet Habakkuk that “the just shall live by his faith”. Not just the religious leaders, but any of the people could live by their faith. And what an incredible difference that made in their thinking. When things went badly, instead of despair and hopelessness, their response was this: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 2.4; 3.17, 18).

And for dear Mary, when she was perhaps feeling ostracized and alone and fearful, responded in kind: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Lk. 1.46, 47).

Since sadly, we will always have treacherous prophets, we will do well to heed the Lord Jesus’ words to us: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, For I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11.28-30).

“God has entrusted His Word to all of us. Will we hear Him, or tell ourselves lies and feed on the scraps of treacherous prophets while the banquet of God’s truth remains untouched?” Will we choose to starve when God is willing to fill our hearts with food and gladness? (Acts 14.17)

1. Why were these prophets treacherous? What should they have been doing? What were they doing instead?

2. Prophets and preachers can go bad, just like the rest of us. This makes it all that much more important that every believer is feeding daily on the food of God’s Word. Explain.

3. Review your own practice of feeding on the Word. Do you see any ways you could improve in this?

This oracle of judgment was presented against the false prophets who proclaimed peace, causing the people to be unprepared for trouble. These prophets would have neither true prophetic insight (vision), nor help from the forbidden arts of divination. Finally they would have nothing to say, for there would be no answer from God. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Notes on Micah 3.5-7

Closing Prayer: Psalm 74.10-23

Pray for the leaders in your church who are charged with the ministry of the Word of God – preachers, teachers, elders, and so forth. Pray that they will hear God’s Word, take it to heart and obey it, and teach it faithfully to His people.

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).

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 Essex Junction, VT.
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