Saturday, August 31, 2019

Friday - Micah 7 - Vigorous Vileness

hat must it mean for people to "do evil with both hands earnestly (vs. 3)? Obviously, it can't be good. Regardless of what the best definition of that phrase is, many of us can actually look back at times in our lives when we were most definitely doing evil earnestly, with both hands. Here is the good news though, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20). In fact, in this same chapter where we read of Israel sinning vigorously, we also read about the wonderful counterbalance of God's amazing grace (consider vs. 18-19).

Micah looked around for pious men, but he found none (vs. 2, compare to Ecclesiastes 7:27-29). Even the best samples weren't any good (vs. 4). Evidently, he couldn't even find a worthy Jew among his own friends & family members (vs. 6). So, what is one to do in a situation like Micah's? Consider the words of David in Psalm 142:4-5. David's plight was bit more personal perhaps than Micah's, but the solution was the same. Both men looked to the Lord (vs. 7). There’s no better person to look to then God, & no more reliable promises than His. Put confidence in men & be disappointed, but trust in God will bring reward (Psalms 118:8).

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Thursday - Micah 6 - The Requirements for the Course

ERIODICALLY we stumble across a verse that leaps off the page & seems to eclipse its sisters & define a whole chapter, or even a book. Micah 6:8 is one such verse. Knowing what God expects from us is of course incredibly pertinent. Sadly, Israel knew exactly what was expected of her, but she still didn't do it.

Again, Micah uses a couple of imperatives at the beginning of this chapter, "Hear ye! Hear ye! (vs. 1-2). We have read before about the controversy that God had with Israel (remember Hosea 4:1). It is mentioned again here. And, Micah points out that God is also pleading with Israel. In defense of His track record with them, He rhetorically asks when & where He had ever failed them (vs. 3).

So, "in exchange" for His extravagant grace, what did God want from the Jews?  And, what  does  He  want  from  us?  Certainly,  we can never repay Him for all of His kindnesses. But we do owe Him anything that He demands from us. But what are those expectations. Micah 6:6-7 reminds us that God does not need sacrifices (Hebrews 10:6-7). We know that He has demanded them in every generation, but these sacrifices are really only indicators & proofs of something else.  Sacrifices without sincerity & without holy spirituality are meaningless. Apparently, the Jews were willing to keep some of the rituals that Moses commanded, but they weren't the least bit interested in actual morality, nor in humble communion with their Maker. This chapter closes with yet another description of the punishments that Israel had coming to her because she just wouldn't get with the program.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wednesday - Micah 5 - The First & Second Advent of Christ

E might imagine at times that these old prophets spoke only of obscure history & about even more obscure events yet future. Such is not the case. Micah 5:1-2 gives us distinctly Messianic prophecies that relate to the salvation of our own souls. The events are presented in what may seem to us to be a strange sequence, but the separation that we now understand was not visible at all to Micah. Messiah's revelation was surely seen as 1 event in Micah eyes. But, Christ’s conquest of this world is chronological & progressive. We could divide it into soul, spirit and body; judicial, practical & final; crucifixion, conquest & kingdom.

The smiting of the judge of Israel upon the cheek must clearly be a reference to the trial, condemnation & crucifixion of Jesus Christ at His first advent (vs. 1).  Also included is the location of the birth of the Messiah, His resurrection & exaltation, as well as an allusion to His deity (vs. 2). The remainder of the chapter seems to be an address that primarily concerns the Millennial Kingdom again. If Christ is standing in the earth, displaying His full majesty, then we must conclude that this refers to His second advent (Micah 5:4).

One of the chief indicators of which time period we are looking at here comes from the references to the Assyrian in Micah 5:5 & 6. If the Assyrian is the Antichrist, then obviously his conqueror will be Christ. Of course, we know that there were more immediate fulfillments of this conquest from "the land of Nimrod" as both the Assyrians and the Babylonians came from that area. And, we can read of some of Israel's exploits in captivity when we read the books of Esther, Daniel or even Nehemiah (vs. 8). However, once we get to verses 9 & 15 and the total defeat of Israel's enemies, we must look at the second advent of Christ.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Tuesday - Micah 4 - A Different Contrast

N Micah 3 we read a clear & contrasting description of how differently Micah approached his God-given responsibilities, compared to how Israel's leaders in general approached theirs. Here in Micah 4 we find another juxtaposition, but this time we have a comparison between ancient Israel in trouble & future Israel being blessed.

Micah 4 begins with a fitting conjunction. While chapter 3 presented a very negative view of Israel, chapter 4 gives us the most positive outlook imaginable (concerning their future). "But in the last days..." Micah wrote (vs. 1). What will these "last days" look like in Israel? For one thing, Jews will be flowing into Israel, not out of it (vs. 1). Micah 3 speaks of the evacuation of Canaan (under the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions). Micah 4 speaks then of the coming reestablishment of the Jews in that land.

Of all of the wonderful and appealing descriptions of Israel's future (found here in Micah 4), none are as spectacular or intriguing as what we read in verse 2. The pronouns "he" and "his" refer to none other than God Himself. "He will teach us His ways!" Wow! It appears then that Jesus' teaching ministry is not yet complete. Micah 4 is definitely a Millennial Kingdom passage. If God will be teaching in that era, then surely, we must know that Jesus will be the member of the Godhead who will be doing it. He is the manifestation of God to us. He will be the ruler of this world; in person; in a body, and He will teach us. Hallelujah!