Micah 7:8–18comment (0)
May 25, 2006
By Cecil Taylor
Related Scripture: Micah 7:8–18
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Dean, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
PRAISE OUR INCOMPARABLE GOD
Though Isaiah’s younger contemporary in Judah in the eighth century B.C., Micah’s message was much like the older prophet’s. He closed his book with this psalm that celebrates the mercies of God. It related to the fall of Jerusalem (still to come in 586 B.C.), the exile in Babylon and Judah’s later restoration to the land (beginning in 538 B.C.).
Incomparable Deliverance (8–10)
At the outset, the psalm warned the enemy (of Judah) not to rejoice over the plight of Judah, who had fallen and dwelt in darkness for the simple reason that her sins had called down God’s indignation on her. Judah would rise; the darkness would vanish; God’s indignation would end — all in the sight of the enemy that rejoiced over her sad condition. And it would be the enemy who would be covered with shame and “trampled down.”
Apparently the darkness of the present (and perhaps the immediate future, i.e. judgment on Jerusalem and Judah) was due to the hiddenness of God because the enemy asked scornfully, “Where is the Lord your God?” God’s presence was not apparent to the enemy. Indeed perhaps the painful punishment for her sin was the only evidence Judah had that God was present. God’s people could praise Him for the incomparable deliverance He would bring about in releasing them from the future exile in Babylon. Every believer can praise the Lord for His incomparable deliverance from his or her sin, from disease that invades his or her body at times and from death that threatens him or her at every turn.
Incomparable Destiny (11–13)
Micah looked forward to the day when after the destruction of the city, Jerusalem’s walls would be rebuilt, people would return from the exile and people of all nations would come to the city. The restoration of Israel would be a time for “rebuilding … walls,” not only those of Jerusalem but also those of the cities of the land. It will also be the time for extending the boundaries of the land beyond the actual settlement in the Old Testament period. Micah then approximated the large extent of the occupied land in the future. The references to nations and geographical horizons were given as the territorial boundaries. East was represented by Assyria and the Euphrates and west by the “cities of Egypt,” respectively, and also by the two seas, i.e. the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. To the north (Lebanon) and to the south (lower Sinai peninsula), mountains denoted limits of the future state.
Probably this glorious destiny awaits the Second Coming of Christ and His millennial Kingdom. Yet God’s people could praise Him even in Micah’s day for the glory ahead. [Meantime, however, the land (not “the earth”) would be brought to ruin because of Judah’s sin.] Believers can praise God for the glorious destiny He offers each of them.
Incomparable Deeds (14–17)
The prophet prayed that the Lord would shepherd His people as He had done in their past. He asked God to bring His people to feed in the rich pastures of Bashan and Gilead (modern Syria and Jordan) as they had done during the days of David and Solomon. In reply, the Lord promised to show wonders as in the days of the exodus. The sight of God’s wonderful actions dumfound the nations. Ashamed of their treatment of God’s people, they “lick the dust” and come “trembling from their strongholds to the Lord our God.” For mighty deeds that lead other nations to the Lord, God’s people could praise Him. All who belong to God can praise Him for His incomparable deeds that bring others to Him.
Incomparable Devotion (18)
There is no God anywhere like the Lord. [Micah is a short form of Micaiah, which means “Who is like the Lord?”] The stress in this last verse fell on His delight in “unchanging love” to His people Judah. That devotion was evident in His forgiving their sin. Divine punishment for their sin did not mean God had cast away His people anymore than paddling a rebellious child means a parent has disowned him. The Lord can be praised for His faithful devotion to His people. Let every believer join that praise.