The final chapter.
Verse 1-10 seem to be the author describing the human condition in his nation; but I can't tell if it is his current time or the time right before the captivity. It could easily read like the end times as well.
Verse 1 bemoans a lack of fruit--grapes and figs--to be found or harvested. But it's a simile. "Woe is me! I am like a fruit picker..." He's craving the fruit of the Spirit in the people around us. We know that because he goes on in verse 2 to explain that "The godly person has perished from the land, and there is no up-right person among them.
This can be taken to mean everyone has been corrupted; but I wonder if it can also be taken as evidence of the pre-trib rapture. All of the "good" people have gone, including the Holy Spirit inside them that gave them that fruit of goodness. Read in this light the following verses apply to both this pre-captivity Israel and the pre-Appearance end times.
The second half of verse 2 describes the horrific condition of people laying in wait for bloodshed and hunting each other with nets.
Verse 3 shows how the leaders and powerful are involved in evil.
Verse 4 describes that even the best of them is a briar. It seems to me to say that even if you try to post a watchman, you'll be punished. You shouldn't even try and defend yourself.
Verses 5 and 6 describe other evidence that community has deteriorated by the sad advice given:
- Don't trust a neighbor
- Don't have confidence in a friend
- Don't tell secrets to your lover
- Sons treat fathers with contempt
- Daughters rise up against mothers
- Daughters-in-law against mothers-in-law
- A man's enemies come from inside his home.
It's interesting to me that these signs of deterioration often mirror the gift God reminded them of in His indictment. Government, church, community, family were all gifts from Him. And when He gives them up for destruction, of course those gifts and going to rot.
We see these institutions rotting right now in our own time and nation. We're the only ones who know who to cry out to to turn things around. We have to be praying for our nation. We get a big charge out of judging these people doing these horrible and perverse things, but judging them and feeling smug won't turn things around.
The MacArthur Bible Commentary (and Ryrie cross references) point out that Jesus paraphrases and then directly quotes verse 6 in Matthew 10 as He commissions His 12 disciplines to go out to "the lost sheep of Israel." Verse 1, 21, 35 and 36, as well as Luke 12:53 in a different context, all contains portions of this verse- family against family. It's an interesting choice. It wasn't long after Jesus' death, just a few decades, and the second Temple was destroyed, followed in another 60-70 with the complete expulsion and scattering of all of the Jews from Jerusalem. This was the cusp of a complete destruction, just like in Micah's time and just as in the end times before He comes again.
The tone and tenor change in Verse 7 and 8. Despite this human condition, Micah will watch expectantly for the Lord. Again, I think this can easily also be someone waiting for Jesus to return amid the terrors of Revelations. It's also a lesson in how the prophet saw the worst of humanity and grieved over, but then took his eyes off of the people and onto the Lord. Sometimes we're so demoralized by the people, we forget where our hope lies.
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.Micah 7: 7-8
This confidence among the storm reminds me of all of the promises found in the study, Lord I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur. Those who know the names of the Lord have a strong tower to run to and be saved. Knowing He hears; knowing He is light gives us the shelter we need in the storm.
Some might say that any religion or belief system can give you that confidence. They might say that you have everything inside of you that you need to get through tough times. We know that this author isn't relying on himself based on what he says next, in verse 9.
He states that he will bear the indignation of the Lord; because he has sinned against the Lord. (v. 9a)
And how can he bear this indignation? Because he has faith the the Lord will plead his case and execute justice.
He will bring me out to the light, and I will see His righteousness.Micah 7:9c
Verse 10 brings this back to the rest of the fallen community when they see this salvation they'll be ashamed of mocking this man for his belief in God.
If this was just a motivational poster: "You can do it. Hang in there." It wouldn't include the self-recognition that I am a sinner in need of a Savior and I will wait on Him with Faith and Hope for His righteousness. Makes for a long bumper sticker and isn't very feel-good to contemplate yourself as a sinner; but faith in someOne bigger than myself is all I really have.
MacArthur states that it is Israel responding in verse 8-10, not Micah, as I have interpreted. Wiersbe theorizes that it is the remnant of Israel speaking here. So, there seems to be some debate.
Verses 11-13 are a grim summary that the day is coming when the enemies will overrun the land and the earth will be desolate because of her inhabitants. However Israel's boundaries will be extended and many immigrants would come.
Verse 14- Amid this worldly desolation, the Messiah will Shepherd His people by itself in a woodland, in a fruitful field- eating abundantly. Quite the contrast from the rest of the world.
Verse 15 tells us that we will see miracles as from the days of coming out of Egypt.
Verse 16-17 When nations see this abundance and miracles, they will be ashamed, licking the earth and leave their might and fortresses behind to come to the Lord our God (Jehovah Elohim) with dread.
Verses 18-20 are a final, beautiful praise to the Lord, in faithful hope of how it all ends:
- Who is a God like Thee, that pardons iniquity ("Who is a God Like You" is also a play on words for Micah's name)
- who passes over the rebellious act of the remnant
- He does not retain His anger forever
- He delights in unchanging love.
- He will again have compassion on us
- He will tread under foot our iniquity (Thank you, Jesus)
- He will cast all the sins into the depths of the sea (Thank you, Jesus)
- He will give truth to Jacob and unchanging love to Abraham because of the covenant from the days of old. (The Lord is faithful because of His name and His covenant. We didn't earn it or deserve it. He is keeping His word because that is Who He Is.)