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Offline mr. invisible

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The minor prophets: Micah
« on: June 02, 2020, 11:11:56 PM »
I have decided to run a bible study on the minor prophets; as they have a striking correlation with the situation today, for those in lockdown, who are struggling to find things to occupy their time, and for those seeking answers, as to why things are happening the way they are in the world today. These expositions are based on several leading authorities, prayer, meditation, and the work of the Holy Spirit. All I ask is that you don't feel you have to rush through the chapters (please take your time; there's no hurry)
Micah: Chapter One:

So, Covid-19 has struck. The biggest death toll since WWII. In recent months we have watched devastating bushfires in Australia & North America, hurricanes in the Carribbean, earthquakes in Asia, terrorist atrocities across northern Europe, and unprecedented flooding in our own nation. GOD IS ANGRY WITH HIS PEOPLE. Yet, we remain blind, obstinate, and hard-hearted. Listening to the daily government bulletins, advising the people, not once have they advocated a day of "National Prayer". Only yesterday, the rallying cry was "We will defeat this pandemic through our own efforts, and will celebrate that achievement. All the honour will be ours". God isn't in the picture at all.
Not many years ago, we were known as the "Great British Empire". Then it became the "United Kingdom", followed by "Great Britain", and now we are just "Britain", an insignificant little island, no longer even affiliated to Europe. No-one seems to have noticed the slide, both in morality and spirituality.

The central message of Micah, written almost 3,000 years ago is: THE PERFECT WISDOM OF MAN IS TO UNDERSTAND WHAT PLEASES GOD. The world has never been so knowledgeable as today; schools, colleges, and universities abound. The internet allows the gathering of information on almost any subject, and there has been staggering advances in science, medicine, technology, and psychology (understanding the human mind). Yet, despite all this knowledge, and having the holy Scriptures freely available to us, our perception of God hasn't changed since ancient times; we still confine Him, as it were, in a tiny box, locked away in a cupboard, until we desperately need Him. There is no difference between the Israel of the past and the Britain of today. God uses Israel to show the world how He deals with people.
Micah saw the disintegration of Israel and Judah. He witnessed them going from prosperity to ecenomic and moral failure; searching for economic stability and security through alliances with other nations. When visiting the main cities, he saw increasing levels of corruption, bribery, greed, and immorality, that there was evil doings everywhere, and people were refusing to listen to God's word. The whole nation had fallen into a state beyond repair; THEIR SIN WAS TOO DEEP TO HEAL.

Is translated "Who is like our God". He prophesied for over 30 years, at the sime time as Isaiah (around 700-750BC), during the reign of three evil rulers, and proclaiming the same message of judgment upon the nation:
Micah 2:1 & Isaiah 5:8; Micah 2:7 & Isaiah 1:21; Micah 3:1-4 & Isaiah 10:1-4; Micah 3:12/4:6 & Isaiah 1:25-27; Micah 4:1 & Isaiah 2:2
He lived in the hill country, approximately 25 miles outside Jerusalem and, from his vantage point, he could espy the main coastal road between East and West (the crossroads between Africa, Asia, and Europe), regularly watching invading armies going back and forth, knowing for certain that, one day, an army would turn northwards towards Jerusalem. Turning his head, he saw God's anger flooding down from the hills, melting the mountains (v4). God would no longer dwell amongst His people (even His very habitation will be destroyed), for the people had belittled Him, and abandoned true worship. The two largest cities Samaria and Jerusalem would become ruins, the accumulated wealth, gained from immoral practices, would be taken away (v6-v7), and Micah, seeing this, would be inconsolable; groaning and lamenting (v8-v9).

The prophet now turns his attention to the small towns nearby, passing an appropriate denouncement on each:
Gath (meaning a teller of tales) - Be quiet
Aphrah (meaning house of dust) - Cover yourself with dust
Saphir (meaning a place of beauty) - Go naked
Zanaan (meaning marching) - Stay where you are
Maroth (meaning bitterness) - Tremble for good
Beth-Ezel (meaning hillside) - There will be no foothold for you in sorrow
Moresheth (meaning false promises) - You shall be a lie to Israel
*Note here that Micah passes judgment upon his own town. Also, that Adullam, that well-fortified and renowned city, where King David had hidden from Saul, would also fall to invasion(v15). All the above towns mentioned were conquered by the Assyrians, and Samaria fell in 712BC, never to be rebuilt.
In conclusion, the prophet instructs the whole nation to shave their heads in sorrow, mourning, and lamentation.
Prophesy is a miracle of prediction, given by God. A true prophet declares curses, as well as blessings.
Please re-read chapter 1, considering the state of Israel past, and Britain, present. I pray that this study has been informative.

Micah: Chapter 2
God's Concern/Man's Unconcern

In our introductory study, we briefly touched on the similarity between ancient Israel and present-day Britain; that both, previously prosperous and renowned nations, were falling into moral and spiritual decline. In this chapter, the prophet delves deeper into Israel's corrupt society; focussing his attention on the rich and powerful (wealthy businessmen, aristocracy, and judiciary).

First, it must be noticed that God is concerned with social issues, as well as individual concerns. As Psalm 24 conveys "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness of it". In addition, by His grace, He gives rest to all. However, the wicked spurn that favour; lying awake throughout the night; plotting and scheming in the hope of personal gain. The last thought at night is usually the first thought in the morning, which is then acted upon. Money talks, and the rich and powerful use it against the poor (the wealthy, city dwellers, desiring to own a "country estate", would forcibly evict the peasant landowners, with no consideration for age, sex, or infirmity. Their hand was their god, yet God's hand would prevail against them (v1-v2).

When we hear of need in other countries, often it fails to stir our emotions into positive action; it is a long way away, doesn't really concern me, someone else will sort it all out, I have enough problems of my own to sort out. Even situations in our own land, communities, social circle, and families fail to emit a caring response. Our circle of concern grows ever smaller while, in contrast, our desire for personal wealth and power grows ever larger (millions of us play the lottery twice weekly; in the hope of becoming instantly rich, without effort; believing that wealth would solve every conceivable issue in our lives. The world continually plays upon our discontent; as we strive to own a bigger house, a bigger car, a bigger TV, a more high-profile job, the latest "must-have" gadgets, and luxuries to surround ourselves with. Everything is now about obtaining what we want (or rather, what we're told we must own), at any cost; being considered a failure in society if we fail. Fairness and morality soon disappear, being replaced by deception, fraud, extortion, bribery, corruption, and inhumanity. There is enough food produced to feed the entire world, yet people are starving. Why? Because those who have don't want to give to those who have not (we see obesity increasing rapidly in prosperous countries). We stand in bewilderment, and say "Where is God in all this?"

Here, God announces His punishment upon the wicked: "You are children of the devil, and will not be spared. You will be made desolate; all your ill-gotten gains will be taken away from you, and a common slander will be spoken against you, to destroy your arrogance" (v3). "You consider yourselves the "chosen people of God"; that no trouble can ever fall upon you, so you listen to no word of reproach. You treat your own countrymen as enemies; plundering their goods, and taking the very shirt off their backs (see Exodus 22:v25-v27), those who trusted you; looking to you for help. You only wish to hear things profitable to yourself, to be congratulated, bouyed up, so you warmly welcome false prophets. Do you think I enjoy speaking roughly to you? Do you consider all my words unprofitable? Now Go; for you have utterly dishonoured my land; it is sick of you, and will vomit you out" (v4-v11). "I will assemble every one of you, as sheep ready for the slaughter (see Isaiah 34:v6), caught in the sheepfold, and making a woeful cry in your distress. The Assyrian army has broken down your wall of protection, and will depart, in victory, the same way; their king at their head; for this destruction is ordered by the Lord" (v12-v13).
*Note: Some commentators interpret these last two verses as referring to Jesus, as shepherd, leading His people out of exile, to the heavenly kingdom, though this doesn't fit in with the context of the rest of this chapter and verses following.

As we pass through this chapter, again noticing the similarity of ancient Israel to modern Britain; everyone out for their own gain, treating others as objects or victims; something to be used and abused for their own amusement, defrauding and dishonouring those closest to them, we clearly see the words in verse three: FOR THIS IS A TIME OF EVIL. This has been a very severe denouncement of the whole world for over 2,000 years yet, God, in His mercy, permits it to continue; in the hope of bringing all to repentance; for He wishes none to perish. We therefore give thanks to Him for His lovingkindness, patience, and long-suffering, while putting in remembrance Mark 9: v41 &42: "Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name; because you belong to Me, truly he shall not lose his reward. But whoever offends one that believes in Me, it would be better that a millstone was tied around his neck, and he was cast into the sea".

Read this chapter again; considering God's grace in your life, and ways you can help those in affliction, wherever they may be?

Micah: Chapter 3:
Rulers & Leaders

In our previous study, we looked at the rich and powerful, and their unquenchable desire for personal gain, financial and material. In this chapter, considered the most bleak, the prophet focuses his attention upon the rulers and leaders, those who have a responsibility to set a righteous example to the people under their authority.

Firstly, leaders are responsible to God; it is He who gave them their position of authority to carry out His will. In addition, they have to base their work on moral principles (basically, the difference between right and wrong); for moral wrong cannot be politically right. Thirdly, their job is to serve the people. In summary, they have three basic choices:
1. Do God's will
2. Do the will of the people
3. Do what they themselves want

Unfortunately, in all nations upon earth, leaders are only concerned with numbers 2 & 3; believing they themselves are above the law, and have free reign to abuse their position of trust. Their corrupt ways often lead to a dead conscience and spiritual darkness. God is still speaking loudly today, but they aren't listening; they've reached a point where they hate to do good themselves, see good done to others, and despise those they see as morally upright; they simply serve themselves. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. They soon become like ravenous wolves; ripping off the skin, eating the flesh, breaking the bones in order to pick out the marrow, bleeding the people dry (v1-v3)

There used to be a weekly prayer meeting in the Houses of Parliamnet, in London, but no more. In the nation's churches, which have become tourist attractions; with people wandering in and out, taking photographs, and ministers preaching their own opinions or dumbing-down the power of the gospel. However, God doesn't hear prayers that are without true faith and repentance (the gifts of the Holy Spirit) (v4).

Micah now turns his attention to the three deceivers:
1. Satan
2. False teachers
3. Our own hearts & desires

The false prophets were paid for flattery; being unable to discern truth and declare it. Should anyone seek their advice, they would be unable to offer an answer; for the judgment of the Lord was upon them; he will strip away their honour and prestige, and being seen as mere ignorant men, devoid of any spiritual understanding, would be humiliated and a reproach, treated as lepers (v5-v7). (See Deut 13: v1-v3 & Zech 13: v2-v5). Having now denounced the false prophets, he states his own credentials (v8) (See Ezek 3: v8-v11), showing that true prophets must be endued with four key components; to be able to overcome unbelievers and spiritual powers of darkness:
1. Must be furnished with the Holy Spirit
2. Must have a knowledge of God and a sure biblical doctrine
3. Must have discernment
4. Must have mental strength and fortitude

Micah concludes by addressing all those in authority (monarchs, judges, political and religious leaders), by announcing that they all make everything crooked that was straight; enlarging the city and church through extortion, oppression, bribery, and corruption, and then having the audacity to believe that God would be pleased with their efforts. The aristocracy and judiciary determined cases unjustly, priests taught false doctrine, and the prophets issued false predictions. All sought a reward for carrying out their duties; seeking wealth instead of serving God. *It is to be noted here, that they all believed the holy covenant, that God would never break His promises or be able to deny Himself. They held a false pretence of faith; believing God would openly reward them with earthly riches; promising to themselves the favours of God, through their own sinful flesh, rather than through God's word; totally ignoring the conditions of the covenant (v10-v11) (See Jeremiah 6:v13). In addition, because the priests neglected their duty to teach the common people that promises and repentance can't be separated, He introduced prophets.
The final verse of this chapter shows everity of God's judgment upon these wicked men: true religion, the entire city, and even the temple itself will be as heaps of rocks. *It may be noted here that only one individual in the whole nation took any notice of Micah's prophecy: Hezekiah, the king, who changed the laws in order to do God's will, to which, in response, God postponed judgment upon Jerusalem for a further 100 years (see Jeremiah 26: v13-v19).

The main purpose of this chapter may be to show that anyone we rely upon, whether parents, teachers, doctors, factory owners, shop managers, politicians, or bus drivers, have a duty of care which comes with the job, and failure to to execute that duty or abusing that position of authority will result in a more severe punishment from the Lord.

Read this chapter again; considering who rules the nation? Monarchy? Politicians? Rich businessmen? Security services? Voters? Satan? Jesus?, and how do you view them currently administering their office? In addition, do you view God as an overseer; someone ready to jump in and rescue when situations go pear-shaped?

Micah: Chapter 4:
We cannot build a better world without God

In our opening three studies we looked at the moral, social, and economic decline of Israel. The common people had become hard-hearted, frustrated, and resentful of injustice, true worship had become corrupted by superstition and false teaching, the greedy rich were exploiting the poor in order to live in greater luxury, and the leaders were abusing their office, and abandoning moral principles. All this sorry state had occurred because of the turning away from God; their ingratitude for all His blessings bestowed freely upon them and, as we stated earlier, belittling Him; bringing Him out when it suited their purpose. However, chapter four brings a message of hope and encouragement to the remnant of those who still hold true in faith.

If people wre asked "What constitutes an ideal world?", the majority would answer "Peace and prosperity". Yet nations continue at this present day to argue between themselves on how to bring about a "better world". It seems ironic that nations have to go to war to bring about peace. People see things deteriorating, they become disillusioned, dispirited, and cynical, finally6 deciding to live for today; because they have lost hope in a better tomorrow. We are living in the last days of history and, as mentioned in a previous study, these are evil times. So, is there really any hope left to cling on to?

Prophesy, as we've noted, is a miracle of prediction given by God, who knows the end of all things. Here, He says " In the last days, the church of Jesus Christ will be established ON EARTH AND THEN IN HEAVEN". His habitation will once again be in the midst of His elect. True worship will be restored. All peoples will come to Jerusalem; for the Lord to show them how to live, as they realize that there is only one living God. He will teach how to worship, and they will believe His word through faith and obedience; acting on His will, and voluntarily submitting to His rule and law. Nations will come for arbitration (there will be no more military superpowers). The billions spent on weapons of destruction and armed personnel will be spent on relieving poverty and similar hardships. Poeple will be free from want and fear (v4). Through the continual work of the Holy Spirit, all will experience a change of nature; from self, hostility, and greed to cultivating peace, hospitality, and brotherly love. All will dwell in peace, security, and harmony under God's universal word. THE ENTIRE WORLD WILL BE UNDER ONE GOVERNMENT - THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD< UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF HIS ELECT (see Isaiah 2; v2-v5). *It is to be noted here, that the first mention is made of the new kingdom being for Gentiles, as well as Jews, that the gospel was first preached in Jerusalem, prior to going abroad to every nation, and that restoration is repeated in these verses; in order to give added assurance to believers currently suffering trials and tribulations (v5). In addition, in stating that "everyone will walk in the name of his god", clearly implies that the kingdom of Christ on earth is meant. JESUS IS GOING TO RETURN WITH HIS SAINTS IN HEAVEN TO RULE ON EARTH, UNTIL ALL ENEMIES ARE UNDERNEATH HIS FOOTSTOOL.

From verse 6 to verse 8 the prophet speaks of the "Heavenly Kingdom"; as the "earthly kingdom" is not at present honoured with wealth, power, and influence (see Psalm 72 & Lev 26:v3-v12), with the remainder of the chapter again being a message of hope to the remnant of believers, to remain patient, enduring hardships; for God is certain to redeem His people (v9-v10). To the world, the Christian church is contemptable and ridiculous. However, we know His purposes (that they will stand), and His character (through His word) (see Lev 27: v21 & v28-v30). Idols, whether stone or human, receive their honour from the false imaginings of others, whereas the things of God have been revealed to the foolish, and blind the eyes of the wise. The chapter closes on the promise of full restoration to Israel, and that unrighteous purposes of the wicked will always ultimately fail.

Verse 9 is the pivotal verse in this chapter; why do we despair during severe trials (for we know that the grace of God is sufficient for us to endure, that the prayers of others on our behalf, the groans of the Spirit within us, and the mediation of our great "High Priest" all ascend to the ears of God, giving us faith in His promises, that He will deliver us from all tribulations)? Nevertheless, when the godly and ungodly mix together, the  "sword" will continue in use right up to the last day; as despite the power of the gospel, we have made very little progress in over 2,000 years in loving one another (mainly due to sinful flesh and lack of scriptural knowledge). It isn't enough to stop harming others; we have to do good to them, freely offering assistance, lifting their burdens, and not living for ourselves in unprofitable leisure.
*NB: Commentators have differing opinions regarding the middle verses of this chapter; believing that the whole refers to the "Heavenly Kingdom" only. However, the prophets always speak of both present and future events, therefore both the Church of Jesus Christ on earth, and the heavenly kingdom are included (Jerusalem & Zion).

Re-read the chapter, and consider the world under Christ's rule, and the part you might play in it. Will you be allocated 10 cities, or have the 1 city taken from you and given to another? Consider the length of time it will take to judge every individual, who will have to give an account of their life and behaviour, where this is going to take place, and how it is all going to work.

Micah: Chapter 5:
The free will of God upon history

This chapter is the heart of the whole book; one vision covers over 3,000 years of history. At present, we are somewhere between verses 3 and 4; verses 1-3 have already been fulfilled, while verses 4-15 are yet to happen.

Verse 1 happened about 100 years after this prophesy; Jerusalem was under a two-year siege by the Chaldeans and, in 2 Chronicles 18: v23 we read: "Then Zedekiah came near and smote the prophet Micah upon the cheek".
Verse 2, of course, occurred 700 years later, in an insignificant village called Bethlehem Ephratah (so called, because there were two other Bethlehems in Judah, of far greater importance). We read in Matthew 2:v5, when Herod asked the wise men where Christ was born? "They said unto him, in Bethlehem of Judaea". This prophetic utterance must have astounded all who heard it; Micah prophesying that someone would be born who had always existed!! It was probable that even the prophet himself wouldn't have understood what he'd pronounced.
Verse 3 announces the separation between God and Israel, the people absent from their own land, prior to a spiritual re-birth. This remains true at this present day, and we are witnesses to it.

So, what are the future prophesies?
1. The Lord will reign in sovereign power, honour, glory, and blessing over His elect, who will have faith and trust in Him alone (v4)
2. Peace - His people will be protected from internal and external enemies. Leaders, men of authority, will destroy all adversaries, bringing deliverance (v5-v6)
3. Jews will be a shower of blessing to other nations (though, for now, they are a butt for jokes and scattered throughout the earth) (v7)
4. The spiritual re-birth of Israel. They will be made a strong nation again, though having to fight many battles, and grafted back in with the Gentiles as the chosen people of God (v8-v9). *NB: Verse 9 could be applied to Christ, as head of the church (see 2 Corinth 10: v4-v5)
5. Immediate punishment for disobedience (those who live by violence, have a false sense of security, who live by fraud, superstition, or idolatry (v10-v15).

Israel had put their trust in materialism and military strength (horses interpreted as lusts/vices; chariots interpreted as sins; cities interpreted as prosperity; strongholds interpreted as pride/self-sufficiency, and superstition consisting of sorcery: charms, potions, and soothsayers: astrologers, palmistry, dream interpreters, tarot cards etc (see 2 Chron 33:v6 & 2 Kings 10: v26-v27) - all things that belittle and neglect God, and a prevention of fellowship and blessings. These hindrances would be removed; allowing Him an entrance, and a realization that there is only one God who can save through grace and mercy.

Though history's future is fixed, our future isn't; WE CAN CHANGE!!! (dependent on our decision to become a part of this future - How we respond to the prophetic message.

Read this chapter again; considering God's past/present/future work in building His church, and how you can help in it's construction

Micah: Chapter 6:
The God of Israel

We observed in the previous chapter the God of history, and now we view the God of His people. Here, God stands in the dock of the courtroom, accused of undue severity against Israel, and brings into the witness box the whole earth. He begins by relating the condition of the Israelites found in Deutoronomy Chapter 32: "They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of His children; they are a perverse and crooked generation" (v5). "Oh foolish people and unwise!! Is He not thy Father, that purchased thee, made thee, and established thee?" (v6). "He found him in a desert land. He led him about, instructed him, kept him as the apple of His eye" (v10). "He made him ride upon the high places of the earth" (v12). "But, Jerusalem forsook  the God that made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him with strange gods, and sacrificed unto devils, not to God, but to gods they knew not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou are unmindful, and have forgotten the God that formed thee" (v15-v18). "They are a nation devoid of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them" (v28).

IN THE PRESENT, TO KNOW THE FUTURE, WE HAVE TO LOOK INTO THE PAST. For Israel, the past cause was their ingratitude toward God for all His blessings upon them.The future consequence of that was that God was going to display His righteous anger and displeasure, by throwing them out of their own land, scattering them to all corners of the earth, and making their name a reproach among the nations (see Deut 32: v19-v26). We see this fulfilled at this present day; Jews scattered here and there, with jokes abounding regarding their apparel and thrift.

The earth was created before man, and has therefore seen the entire history of Israel; witnessing God's past blessings: He brought them out of slavery, gave them guides/leaders, brought civil order, moral conduct, religious observance, and spiritual discipline. He gave them a name of renown, a land to inherit, and prosperity; turning curses into blessings (v1-v5). *It is to be noted here that Balaam was a prophet of God, who spoke by the Holy Spirit, and could have cursed Israel with a pronouncement of God's wrath upon them. Though Israel continually provoked God throughout the wilderness years, He remained faithful and merciful to them; continually bestowing countless blessings.

God sets out three very simple, easy to follow rules:
1. Be fair (live uprightly)
2. Show mercy (go beyond forgiveness)
3. Show obedience and humility

Jesus performed all three to perfection, while Israel couldn't even manage number one. They believed they could buy God's love with countless offerings (outward show). Yet, they remained unjust, proud, and unmerciful, unable to carry out God's will.

A realization of sin > immediate repentance > right worship of God > prayer for forgiveness/mercy > sincerity > humility > gratitude/thankfulness. The wrong worship is: Offerings, duty, insincerity, ingratitude, pacifying God with an outward show, attempting to satisfy Him by giving up certain pleasures, fasting, giving time and money, and obedience to the sacrements - all for show, but no genuine repentance, humility, or a show of faith (v6-v9).

God then asks: "Should I then turn a blind eye to your continual wrongdoing? Every time you open your mouth, lies and deception emerge. Dishonesty and extortion is the norm; there is neither truth or integrity among you; all attempt to gain some advantage over another" (v12). He then pronounces judgment upon them (v13-v15). *Note that some commentators take verse 14 as "Their children will be slaughtered".

Omri (the father of Ahab)built Samaria and an idolotrous temple there (see 1 Kings 16: v25-v34), while Ahab did wickedness continually, implementing oppressive and violent customs (see 1 Kings 21: v25-v26).

Read this chapter again, and Deutoronomy 32, considering:
1. Why, when found guilty, people fail to acknowledge their guilt; using excuses or subterfuge to diminish their responsibility?
2. Why do they delude themselves? Is it deliberate or through ignorance?
3. Are we following the three simple rules, or just performing an outward show of true worship?

Micah: Chapter 7:
The prophet's experience

In the previous two studies, we saw Israel through God's perspective.  Now, in this final narrative, we view the nation from the prophet's standpoint. The first point of note is that the prophet had a vision of the impending destruction of Israel (something seen). He then translated it into prophesy (something heard), before translating it further into seven condensed passages (something read), which contained his forty years of prophetic ministry.

We find Micah in a very familiar disposition to our own; he was in utter despair, and displaying signs of self-pity. Despite his oft-repeated warnings, the nation's inhumanity and immorality continued to escalate. He couldn't stop the rot, no matter what he tried; no-one listened or cared, and he found none to help. Thus leading him to cry out "I am cursed!! All the kindness and benevolence in Israel has been stripped away, both morally and spiritually. I have found not one honest person among the multitude; everyone preys upon one another. there remains no loyalty, respect, integrity, or trustworthiness to be found (v1-v2). The rich man gives gifts to the governors, bribes to the judiciary, and they all conspire together to defraud. The best of them sneers with contempt at the thought of rebuke" (v3).

It is apparent from verses 5, 6 & 10 that when Micah returned home, dejected and despondent at the lack of success, his own wife and family railed and taunted him. He found no respite. Like the present day, there was a breakdown of family life; no family values, just disobedience and disloyalty, with children treating parents with disdain and mockery. Love and respect had walked out the door, and a Christian's greatest enemy is to be found within his own household.

Verse 7 teaches us three important lessons:
1. Don't retaliate to provocation from an ungodly individual
2. Don't become angry or disheartened by wicked people's success or esteem
3. Don't make the excuse of being led away from God by someone else

Nothing wounds more than taunts, slander, and mockery (Satan often uses these when temptations fail). Yet, even in the darkest moments, there is always a speck of hope, and faith defeats the enemy of our soul (v8). If, for example, we retaliate against slander, let us acknowledge our sin to God > the Lord will plead our cause (citing mitigating circumstances) > our punishment will be less severe > we will not be left in affliction > we will have a certain expectation of deliverance (v9).

Verses 11 & 12 intimate God's decree: Israel will be driven from their own land into exile, and be placed under the rule and laws of invading armies. * NB: Two other interpretations are offered here -
1. That the decree is the gospel going out from Jerusalem
2. That the decree is the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Nehemiah (see Nehemiah 2: v1-v17)

The book concludes with a prayer to God (v14-v20), which rises in scale ( from "yours, to "he", and finally to "you"). "Feed your chosen people with hope, through the gospel, those in suffering and tribulation. Let the strong nations be ashamed at their inability to defeat Israel (church), that they will be reluctant to make war. Our hope for forgiveness and reconciliation lies with a God who delights in mercy. If God can forgive a corrupted nation like Israel, He can forgive anyone (see Psalm 105: v1-v14).

The book of Micah shows that it is the message that counts, not the messenger. We see, through these few pages, not to despair in severe trials of faith, but to seek the Lord; for He will judge between those worthy of punishment for sins ("I came to bring a sword"), and those He sees as loyal, trustworthy, and obedient. And, to those, He will bring salvation. The past, present, and future is all of the Lord (God > Israel > Micah > future Israel > church of Jesus Christ > God).

Please re-read the book of the prophet Micah again; noting what you have learned from it, and how you can take forward it's teaching into daily life. I pray that this study has been profitable to your mind, heart, and soul.

I hope to have the next study, which is the prophet Habakkuk, ready by mid-July. However, should anyone wish to receive it live, as it were, I will be sending a PDF by e-mail on a weekly basis commencing 25th June, together with a brief easy-to-follow summary of each chapter. If interested in that, please send appropriate details to me, via the private messaging service.

Offline Winnie

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Re: The minor prophets: Micah
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2020, 05:03:23 PM »
Hello there,

This is an interesting and thought provoking study. 

I thank you for it.  I will print it off and go through it again more thoroughly with my Bible open to Micah.

In Christ Jesus


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