Micah has been likened to a horse, thinking of the warhorses of Assyria pounding towards Judah. However, I see Micah more associated with the cow, because this prophet talked about banging swords into plows.
Horses and mules were pretty scarce in Judah, but there were plenty of bulls and cows, so the farmer usually had his plow pulled by oxen.
Micah ended chapter 6 with a list of further indictments, and the judgments the crimes of the people of God would bring. Then, Micah concluded his book with Chapter 7 by showing how the one true and living God is like no other, in five chief ways.
Indictments and Judgments
Micah made clear this judgment was certainly coming, though future restoration remained possible through repentance.
God is Supreme
(1) Supreme in Judgement
Woe is me! For I have become like one who,Micah 7:1-2 (NRSV)
after the summer fruit has been gathered,
after the vintage has been gleaned,
finds no cluster to eat;
there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.
The faithful have disappeared from the land,
and there is no one left who is upright;
they all lie in wait for blood,
and they hunt each other with nets.
The fruit of righteousness was by this time seemingly nonexistent in the people.
- There was a monumental breakdown in society.
- The leaders were corrupt.
- The institution of family was disintegrating
God’s judgment was to allow the society to decay to the basest level.
(2) Supreme in Deliverance
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;Micah 7:8-9 (NRSV)
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me.
I must bear the indignation of the Lord,
because I have sinned against [God],
until [God] takes my side
and executes judgment for me.
[God] will bring me out to the light;
I shall see [God’s] vindication.
Micah’s words prophetically point to John’s Gospel with its revelation of Jesus as the Light. Listen to the similarity of language, as John wrote of Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.
What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.John 1:1-5, 9 (NRSV)
Jesus also testified of himself.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”Jesus, John 8:12 (NRSV)
(3) Supreme in Restoration
A day for the building of your walls!Micah 7:11-12 (NRSV)
In that day the boundary shall be far extended.
In that day they will come to you
from Assyria toEgypt,
and from Egypt to the River,
from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
Micah wrote of the day when, after God’s judgment of exile, the dispersed peoples would return to their ancient promised land, and once again repair their cities, build a new temple, and settle in the land.
Until then, the land would be desolated, for it would be largely left fallow. Though many would not be deported, the common folk who worked the land and provided raw resources, honey, wheat, and other goods for the nations which had conquered them, there would be too few.
History proved out, Israel’s and later Judah’s cities remained rubble for decades until the people returned to rebuild.
(4) Supreme in Shepherding Care
Shepherd your people with your staff,Micah 7:14 (NRSV)
the flock that belongs to you,
which lives alone in a forest
in the midst of a garden land;
let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
as in the days of old.
Psalm 23 remains one of the most famous descriptions of the tenderness of the Lord’s care as the shepherd of God’s people. To a culture that had grown up in a largely pastoral setting, the motif of shepherding runs even deeper than olive trees and grapevines. This speaks of God’s character as merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, deeply invested in the Lord’s own flock, the people God set apart as specially loved and tended.
There is certainly a tension between God’s loving care as a shepherd, and God’s place as rightful judge over all the earth, balancing the wickedness of evil in the people with eternal, unchanging, and infinite love for and faithfulness to the people.
The Lord reserves the right to cull the flocks of all that harms and destroys, in order ultimately to preserve the sheep.
(5) Supreme in Forgiveness
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquityMicah 7:18-19 (NRSV)
and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of yourpossession?
[God] does not retain anger forever,
because [God] delights in showing clemency.
[God] will again have compassion upon us;
[God] will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all oursins
into the depths of the sea.
It is notable Micah ended with forgiveness, for this has been the distinctive mark of God since the days of Cain, since even Adam and Eve. For though both sinned, neither were cursed, and God promised there would come one day a Savior who would crush the source of evil.
God did forgive the people. In the last verse of this book, Micah spoke with confident hope that God would show faithfulness to the people, unswerving loyalty, because this is not only God’s nature but also the nature of God’s love for God’s own.
One day, Micah’s prophecy would be fulfilled in ways he might not have imagined,
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.John 3:16 (NRSV)
[New Jerusalem | Sailko, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]