In the book of the Bible called Micah, the prophet Micah speaks of God’s coming judgment against the nation of Israel: the impending invasion from the nation of Assyria. The book begins with an image of God coming down and bringing judgement. The vivid imagery describes mountains melting like wax (Micah 1:4). All of this because Israel had continued to rebel against God. The prophet Micah even goes through the names of different towns that have turned away from God, and he describes how he is in distress over this rebellion (1:9-16).
So, what sort of rebellion deserved all this wrath and judgement? Micah calls out the leaders of Israel for their greed, saying they have wrongly become wealthy through theft (2:1-2). The leaders have also participated in bribery and bent the rules to favor the rich (3:9-11). Micah also blames the false prophets of Israel who gave sweet words of reassurance for the right price (3:5).
But this book isn’t only about judgement. God shows His merciful character by bringing a message of hope. Micah describes how God will act like a shepherd and gather the remnant of His people back to Himself (2:12-13). The book also contains a message of hope about how God will restore all things after His judgement (4:1-7). Micah says that, after the Jerusalem the Israelites know is destroyed, God will bring about a new and restored Jerusalem. And the people of this new Jerusalem will be a blessing to the rest of the world. Micah also prophesies about the new king from the line of David who will rule over this new city (5:1-6).
Today, we know that King is Jesus! Through His death and resurrection, Jesus forgives and saves His people from judgement, and one day He will return to make all things new. Jesus will reign over all creation as the long-awaited Shepherd-King. Even as the book of Micah shares the message of God’s judgment against injustice and greed, it’s also full of the hope of future restoration. It gives us a picture of the loving, merciful character of God. • Naomi Zylstra
• Where do you see greed and injustice in the world around you? How could it be comforting to know that Jesus weeps over these things and will one day destroy all greed and injustice forever?
• We all fall short of God’s justice, and we all fall into greed sometimes. Consider asking Jesus to help you identify greed in your life so you can confess it and rest in His forgiveness and restoration.
You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (NIV)