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The Scriptorium

Sins of the Rulers

We must be careful not to fall into these sins. Micah 3.9-11

Warnings to Rulers: Micah 3 (5)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 75.4-7
“I said to the boastful, ‘Do not deal boastfully,’
And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn.
Do not lift up your horn on high;
Do not speak with a stiff neck.’”
For exaltation comes neither from the east
Nor from the west nor from the south.
But God is the Judge:
He puts down one,
And exalts another.

Sing Psalm 75.4-7
(Galilee: Jesus Calls Us)
Warn the boastful, warn the wicked: “Do not boast or raise your horn!
Do not raise your boastful voices; do not speak with pride and scorn!”

Neither east nor west nor desert shall exalting bring to man.
God is Judge, He puts one down and makes another one to stand.

Read Micah 3.9-11

1. Why did God condemn the rulers – kings, judges, priests, and prophets?

2. What was their incentive?

Having spoken separately to the civic rulers and religious rulers (vv. 1-7), Micah now lumps them together as guilty before the Lord. Their crime? They hated just judgment and uprightness (v. 9) and sought pecuniary gain in the Name of the Lord (v. 11). They claimed to be the Lord’s rulers (v. 11), and they even went through many of the motions such rulers should pursue. Thus they considered themselves safe from any untoward conditions. However, by turning away from God’s Law and perverting His purposes for their rule, they invoked His judgment against them.

It is never right to do the wrong thing. Ignoring or disobeying God’s Law is always the wrong thing. It’s never right to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. God’s glory and the blessing of others are always God’s purpose; but self-seeking and self-aggrandizement are always wrong, even if outwardly we seem to be serving the Lord. It is only ever right to do the right thing in the right way, and for the right reasons.

The rulers of Israel and Judah failed in their callings. We must learn from their mistakes so that the Scripture can teach and comfort us, and we may have hope (Rom. 15.4).

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Yes, indeed, “the rulers of Israel and Judah failed in their callings.” But so do we, and “we must learn from their mistakes.” Let’s look at the list written here:

1. They abhorred justice.
2. They perverted all equity.
3. They promoted themselves through unlawful bloodshed.
4. They built themselves up with iniquity.
5. The judges took bribes.
6. The priests did their priesting only to make money.
7. The prophets did their divining for pay.
8. And worst of all, for this “good work” they grievously opened their mouths and said, “Is not the LORD among us? No harm can come upon us” (Mic. 3. 9-11).

Could this be why the world hates Christians so much?
Are we careful to follow God’s Law with justice and equity?
Are we guilty of murder because of hatred?
Do we promote ourselves to the point of sin?
Have we ever taken a bribe?
Is making money excessively important to us?
Why do we serve in our churches?
Do we ever judge others without first judging ourselves?
Are we bearing the name of Christian in vain?

The good news is this: we still may be hated by the world, but it might be for doing the right thing. We don’t have to be like the rulers, prophets, and people in Micah’s day. We have been saved unto righteousness and good works, and the Holy Spirit wants to enable us to do them.

Peter writes these words to us: “all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, becourteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3.8,9). “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3.15-17).

1. How would you explain to a new believer the nature of our calling as Christians?

2. How do you work out that calling in your own walk with and work for the Lord?

3. What does it mean to sanctify the Lord God in your heart? Why is this so important?

We now see that the word of God is not bound, but that it puts forth its power against the highest as well as the lowest; for it is the Spirit's office to arraign the whole world, and not a part only. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Micah 3.9
Closing Prayer: Psalm 75.1-3, 8-10

Give thanks to God for His constant Presence with us. Acknowledge His power and authority to judge the world. Ask Him to give you an opportunity to declare His Name and the Good News of Jesus today.

Sing Psalm 75.1-3, 8-10

(Galilee: Jesus Calls Us)
We give thanks, Lord, we give thanks for Your all-glorious Name is near!
Men Your wondrous works declare, Lord; let all living creatures hear!

When you choose the time of judgment, You will judge with equity.
Then the earth and all within it by Your hand no more shall be.

For the cup of judgment foams in Jesus’ sovereign, holy hand.
He has mixed it and will pour it out on every wicked man.

As for me, I will declare it: Evermore to God be praise!
He abases all the wicked,  but His righteous ones He saves!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to our summary of last week’s study by clicking here.

Micah in God’s Covenant
Where does the book of Micah fit in God’s covenant with His people? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you to answer that question and to gain a better understanding of how the grace of God reaches and transforms us in Jesus Christ. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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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 Essex Junction, VT.
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