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Micah 7:1–10

“As for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (v. 7).

Prophets of the old covenant are often remembered as preachers of divine judgment and wrath, which is not an incorrect characterization (Isa. 13; Jer. 7; Hos. 5:10). Yet this evaluation remains incomplete if we forget the prophets’ role as proclaimers of divine mercy and grace. Micah 7:1–10 illustrates the task of the prophets in both announcing divine judgment to the nation and promising the Lord’s mercy to the faithful remnant. Today’s passage has Micah coming to God’s people at a time he compares to the end of the summer harvest. Just as there was nothing good to eat in the fields after the farmers harvested the crops and the poor gleaned whatever food was left behind, Micah found nothing good in Israel. The Old Testament often depicts the nation of Israel as a vine (Ps. 80:8), and the nation’s self-consciousness as the Lord’s vine was so well known even outside Canaan that archaeologists have found ancient Assyrian images that use vines to represent Israel. Micah’s lesson is clear: Israel failed in its calling to be fruitful. His words are directed to the leaders of the people, for the prophet knew that a faithful remnant existed in his day. These leaders were perverting justice by taking bribes and weaving their evil desires together so as to compose a thick and knotty briar or thorn hedge (Mic. 7:3–4). Micah is likely alluding to tangles of regulations, unwritten laws, and other onerous stipulations the leaders created to keep themselves in power. Things were so bad that even family members could not trust one another (vv. 5–6). Still, all was not lost for those in the faithful remnant, for Micah knew the Lord would hear their cries. He transitions to representing himself as faithful Jerusalem—the believing remnant who recognized the justice of what God was about to do through Assyria and Babylon (vv. 7–8). This remnant was not guilty of the impenitent and flagrant covenant violations that led the Lord to send His people to exile, but neither was the remnant wholly disconnected from the nation, for even the faithful had sins to acknowledge (v. 9a). Even though the remnant did not entirely merit the extreme curse of exile (because divine grace produced its true faith and repentance), it would go into exile with the nation, which as a whole had more than merited banishment from the Promised Land. But God would show grace and mercy, hearing the cries of those who loved Him and vindicating their trust by setting them over their enemies (vv. 9–10).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

As God’s people were surrounded by their enemies, Israel and Judah often heard these nations asking, “Where is the LORD your God?” (Mic. 7:10a). Because these enemies conquered Canaan with little resistance, they thought Yahweh was absent from His people. But Micah saw that the faithful remnant would one day look on these enemies after the Lord trampled them underfoot (v. 10b). That is our hope, for at the last day Christ will set His people over their foes (2 Tim. 2:11–12a).

For Further Study
  • 2 Kings 18:13–19:37
  • Psalm 79
  • Zephaniah 2
  • 2 Peter 3:1–10
Related Scripture
  • Micah

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From the May 2013 Issue
May 2013 Issue