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The Scriptorium

Captive

It was a simple case of antithetical obedience. Micah 6.16

The Case against God’s People: Micah 6 (6)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 83.1-3
Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.

Psalm 83.1-3
(St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
O God, do not be quiet now; do not be silent, nor be still!
See how Your foes erupt in a row and those who hate You chafe at Your will.
Shrewdly they plan, conspiring as one, against Your daughters and Your sons.

Read Micah 6.16

Preparation
1. Who were Omri and Ahab?

2. What would be the result of their “counsels”?

Meditation
Omri was the worst king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Until, that is, his son Ahab came along (cf. 1 Kgs. 16.25, 26, 30). What each of them had in common was the sin of idolatry. They deliberately and consistently led the people of Israel away from the worship and service of God into the worship of Baal. They continued using the language of Biblical worship, and invoking the Name of God, but their real loyalties lay elsewhere. And this rebellion and idolatry were the cause of all the distress that came upon the northern kingdom, culminating in its destruction and the deportation of the people to Assyria.

The same fate was lining up with the southern kingdom of Judah in Micah’s day. Though Judah lasted a bit longer than Israel, their capitulation to idolatry and all the attendant sins thereof ultimately led to desolation – the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the carrying away of God’s people in captivity to Babylon.

Israel’s captivity in Assyria and Judah’s in Babylon were real and terrible. They were also symbolic, because long before that physical captivity was imposed on them, these two nations had made themselves captive to the lies, culture, and morality of the false religions of unbelieving nations. Their spiritual captivity was the cause of their physical captivity under the judgment of God against their idolatry.

Many would say that the Church in our country today has become captive to unbelieving ways. How we worship, what we understand by salvation and discipleship, how we live our Christian lives is shaped more by the unbelieving world around us than the clear and unchanging teaching of God’s Word. Will our spiritual captivity result in some physical captivity of our own? Let us pray and repent, that it may not be so.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Antithetical obedience. That’s what they were doing. They were being obedient to everything opposed to God. “For the statutes to Omri are kept; all the works of Ahab’s house are done; and you walk in their counsels” (Mic. 6.16). And they felt good about it? So proud of themselves. Look at what we’ve done!

However, God looks, and He sees, and He is appalled.

Could it be that God looks at us today and sees the same thing?
And we are looking at ourselves and thinking we are doing a great job?
Is it possible that we will soon be in for a rude awakening?

The psalmist wrote:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the path of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that brings forth its fruit in its season,
whose leaf also shall not wither;
and whatever he does shall prosper” (Ps. 1.1-3).

That is seen as true obedience. An obedience that keeps us captive to Christ and not to idolatry. The Omris and Ahabs are plentiful in our world, and from them we must turn away. And when we do turn away, and repent of our sins of idolatry, we are assured of our forgiveness. There is no other way.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8.1). Captive.

Reflection
1. To what kinds of ideas and lifestyles can believers become captive in our day?

2. What are the effects of following these ideas and lifestyles?

3. How can we protect ourselves from being taken captive by the unbelieving world?

True religion as yet prevailed in the tribe of Judah, though the kingdom of Israel was become corrupt, and filthy superstitions had gained the ascendancy: but in course of time the Jews became also implicated in similar superstitions. Of this sin the Prophet now accuses them; that is, that they made themselves associates with the Israelites… John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Micah 6.16

Closing Prayer: Psalm 83.4-18
Pray that God will reveal any ways you might be captive to the temper of the times rather than the Spirit of Christ. Repent of any sins, and call on the Lord to stay His hand of judgment from falling upon His captive people.

Psalm 83.4-18
(St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
“Come, let us wipe them out,” they say. “Let Israel’s name no more be heard!”
Bold they conspire to do us away, and covenant against You, O Lord.
Peoples and nations cast in their lot for this ambitious, wicked plot.

Deal with them, Lord, and bring them down, as You against old foes prevailed,
when You Midian cast to the ground and all her kings and princes assailed –
all who Your pastures sought to possess You brought to ruin and deep distress.

Make them like whirling dust, O God!  Scatter them like the windblown chaff!
Rage like a fire consuming a wood, like flames that burn a mountain pass!
Blow like a tempest, bring them to harm, and terrify them with Your storm!

Fill with dishonor every face that they may seek Your Name, O Lord.
Bring them to shame, dismay, and disgrace, and let them perish under Your Word,
that they may learn Your infinite worth, O God Most High of all the earth!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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

The Church Captive
Our book, The Church Captive, shows that the plight of Israel and Judah has often befallen the Church of our Lord Jesus. Are we captive to unbelieving ways today? Order your free copy of The Church Captive and decide for yourself (click 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.

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.
Books by T. M. Moore

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