The Case against God’s People: Micah 6 (4)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 77.7-10
Will the Lord cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more?
Has His mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah
And I said, “This is my anguish;
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
(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.
Read Micah 6.9-12
1. Why is God coming to judge His people?
2. Of what are God’s people guilty before Him?
God never leaves His people in doubt about why He is judging them. Micah said that God had appointed a rod for the backs of His people (v. 9) because of their wickedness and abominations (v. 10). But what were these?
Here the prophet mentions three transgressions. The people were deceitful, using “wicked scales” and “deceitful weights” (v. 11). The use of such contrivances, designed to deceive merchants and others, was strictly forbidden by God’s Law (cf. Lev. 19.36). These were surely in use in Israel and Judah, but they may also be serving here to symbolize a general air of deceit and advantage-taking among the people.
Second, the rich were oppressing the poor and thus doing violence to them by keeping them in poverty (v. 12). They loved themselves but hated their neighbors.
Finally, everyone was trafficking in lies (v. 12; cf. Ps. 12). People lied to one another, stretched the truth, made flimsy excuses, misled their neighbors, and thus scorned the ninth commandment. No way God would allow this to continue among those who bore His Name upon them.
They who are wise would see how God judges the sinfulness of His people, and they would learn from Israel’s foolishness (v. 9). The second part of verse 9 is better translated, “they who have wisdom will see Your Name” – that is God’s work of judgment – and, presumably, learn what is necessary to steer clear of His wrath. Micah issues a call here for us to be wise and turn from the wicked ways of those who fall under the judgment of the Lord – the very thing God’s people were not doing.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“God never leaves His people in doubt about why He is judging them.” And He never allows us to wonder about what causes Him to judge us. He has given us His Word to lead us and guide us into all truth and good behavior.
“The LORD’s voice cries to the city…” about things He has told them before. They were being deceitful in work and words. And He had addressed these sins multiple times. “You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure…” (Deut. 25.15). “You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have honest scales, honest weights…” (Lev. 19.35, 36). “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight” (Prov. 11.1). “Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and dishonest scales are not good” (Prov. 20.23).
It’s pretty clear how God feels about that subject.
Now lying: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. 20.16). “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds…” (Col. 3.9).
“Micah issues a call here for us to be wise and turn from the wicked ways of those who fall under the judgment of the Lord”, and we would be wise to do it. Keeping the Law not only pleases God but is a testimony to the world of our belief in Him.
“Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them” (Prov. 28.20).
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
“…happy is he who keeps the law” (James 4. 17; Prov. 29. 18).
1. What are we supposed to learn from God’s judgment against Israel and Judah (Rom. 15.4)?
2. Why is it so important that we be well-grounded in the Ten Commandments (Matt. 5.17-19; 24.12)?
3. Why do you suppose lying, deceit, and oppression are so abominable to the Lord?
The Prophet shows here by implication, that understanding was a rare thing among that people; for few hearkened to the voice of God. And thus we see what his object was; for he wished to touch the Jews to the quick, that they might acknowledge that they were without mind and understanding, because they had hardened themselves against God, so that his voice did not reach their hearts. John Calvin (1506-1564), Commentary on Micah 6.9
Closing Prayer: Psalm 77.11-20
Recall God’s grace to you in Jesus Christ. Thank Him for your salvation. Wait in silence for Him to convict you of any sin. Devote yourself afresh to following Him.
(Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
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
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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 Scriptures 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.