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FRAMEWORKS: Micah 7: Sins of the Present but Hope for the Future


v.1-4 Micah speaks as Israel


v.1 Israel's fruitlessness makes Micah unhappy


v.1  What misery is mine!
I am like one who gathers summer fruit
    at the gleaning of the vineyard;
there is no cluster of grapes to eat,
    none of the early figs that I crave.

v.2-4a The faithful have gone from the land, only the unrighteous remain


v.2  The faithful have been swept from the land;
    not one upright person remains.
Everyone lies in wait to shed blood;
    they hunt each other with nets.
v.3  Both hands are skilled in doing evil;
    the ruler demands gifts,
the judge accepts bribes,
    the powerful dictate what they desire –
    they all conspire together.
v.4  The best of them is like a brier,
    the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.

[Comment: The prophet anguishes over his people with no fruit of righteousness in sight [v.1]. Indeed all he can see are the unrighteous who violently do one another down [v.2], with corruption running rife [v.3], a scratchy, spikey, unpleasant people [v.4]. Condemnation out of anguish.]



v.4-7 Micah warns Israel of the coming disciplining from the Lord


v.4b-6 He warns them of spreading unrighteousness in relationships


The day God visits you has come,
    the day your watchmen sound the alarm.
    Now is the time of your confusion.
v.5  Do not trust a neighbour;
    put no confidence in a friend.
Even with the woman who lies in your embrace
    guard the words of your lips.
v.6  For a son dishonours his father,
    a daughter rises up against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
    a man's enemies are the members of his own household.


v.7 He himself will trust no one except the Lord


v.7  But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Saviour;
    my God will hear me.


[Comment: God's judgment comes in different forms but He's coming [v.4b] so that, removing restraint, everyone is out for themselves and against everyone else [v.5,6]. He himself trusts on the Lord [v.7]. A call to awareness.]



v.8-13 Micah prophesies a day of restoration


v.8 There is hope in the Lord


v.8  Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
    Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
    the Lord will be my light.

v.9 He acknowledges their sin and need to take their punishment


v.9  Because I have sinned against him,
    I will bear the Lord's wrath,
until he pleads my case
    and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
    I will see his righteousness.

v.10 This will be seen by the whole surrounding world


v.10  Then my enemy will see it
    and will be covered with shame,
she who said to me,
    ‘Where is the Lord your God?'
My eyes will see her downfall;
    even now she will be trampled underfoot
    like mire in the streets.


v.11-13 Yet there will coma day for Israel to be rebuilt and triumph


v.11  The day for building your walls will come,
    the day for extending your boundaries.
v.12  In that day people will come to you
    from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
even from Egypt to the Euphrates
    and from sea to sea
    and from mountain to mountain.
v.13  The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants,
    as the result of their deeds.


[Comment: Yet amazingly – and yet so often seen in scripture – grace and mercy will prevail in that, although Israel are down in the immediate future, they will be raised up [v.8]. The Lord will punish them for their sin but He will restore them [v.9], so although their enemies may gloat over their downfall now [v.10] there will yet come a day in the future when Jerusalem will be rebuilt [v.11] and the peoples of the surrounding areas, once their enemies, will turn to them [v.12], and the unbelieving earth will be punished [v.13]. Accountability, punishment, yet restoration.]



v.14-20 Micah extols the Lord


v.14,15 Micah prays – lead your people again, as in days of old, and the Lord answers


v.14  Shepherd your people with your staff,
    the flock of your inheritance,
which lives by itself in a forest,
    in fertile pasture-lands.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
    as in days long ago.

v.15  ‘As in the days when you came out of Egypt,
    I will show them my wonders.'


v.16,17 He prophesies the downfall of ungodly nations


v.16  Nations will see and be ashamed,
    deprived of all their power.
They will put their hands over their mouths
    and their ears will become deaf.
v.17  They will lick dust like a snake,
    like creatures that crawl on the ground.
They will come trembling out of their dens;
    they will turn in fear to the Lord our God
    and will be afraid of you.

v.18 He extols the Lord's goodness


v.18  Who is a God like you,
[i] pardons sin and [ii] forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
[iii] do not stay angry for ever
[iv] delight to show mercy.

v.19,20 A second time he extols the Lord's goodness


v.19  You [v] will again have compassion on us;
[vi] will tread our sins underfoot
[vii] hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
v.20   [viii] You will be faithful to Jacob,
    and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
    in days long ago.


[Comment: As the prophet sees this, his heart is lifted and he prays the Lord will come and shepherd His people again [v.14] as in days of old [v.15] so other nations will see [v.16] and be brought down [v.17]. He concludes by praising the Lord for His grace that is seen in the way He deals with His people [v.18-20]. A glorious conclusion.]



[Concluding Comment: The final chapter is all about reality – about where Israel are at the moment with unrighteousness prevailing [v.1-3] and receiving the Lord's disciplining through their unrighteousness [v.4-7]. As Micah speaks as Israel, he recognizes their failure [v,8,9] but senses the Lord's intent to eventually restore them [v.9-13]. This stirs prayer and praise in him [v.14-20], a fitting end to the book.]