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Micah 7:11–20

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love” (v. 18).

Having covered the main portions of the book of Micah, we conclude our study of this prophet from the eighth century BC with a look at the second half of Micah 7. Verses 11–20 continue to describe God’s restoration of His faithful remnant after the exile, comforting us as we wait for the Lord to consummate His plan for His people.

Micah foresees the rebuilding of Jerusalem when God vindicates His elect after the exile, describing its boundaries as “far extended” (v. 11). The Lord would enlarge Jerusalem so more people could live there. Here Micah alludes to the “Jerusalem above,” the heavenly kingdom in which we find freedom from sin and divine wrath (Gal. 4:21–31; Rev. 21). In light of the fuller revelation of the new covenant, we understand that this city’s boundaries must be extended to make room for Gentile converts to Yahweh through Christ, who with faithful Jews form the true Israel of God (Isa. 19:16–25; Eph. 3:1–6).

The prophet depicts this return and final blessing in 7:15 as a new exodus, for he says Israel’s final restoration will be accompanied by marvelous signs, just as the first exodus occurred through miracles such as plagues, the Red Sea’s parting, and manna from heaven (Ex. 7–12; 14; 16). But unlike the first exodus, which did not vanquish future enemies of Israel such as the Philistines, Micah says all nations will “lick the dust like a serpent, like the crawling things of the earth” (Mic. 7:16–17). Here is an allusion to the cosmic significance of the new exodus. God cursed Satan, forcing him to lick the dust of the earth after Adam’s fall (Gen. 3:14–15), and at the last day, the enemies of God’s people will do the same. Micah points to the demonic power behind the foes of the church and their final defeat at the end of time (Rom. 16:20). Note, however, that our gracious Lord defeats and makes some of them His friends by granting them faith and repentance (Acts 9:1–31). He defeats others by giving them eternal death (Rev. 20:11–15).
Micah concludes his book by marvelling at the forgiveness of the Lord. The prophet’s name means “who is like Yahweh,” which makes these last words especially memorable. Micah is amazed that even though God’s people have gone astray, the Lord is still gracious to forgive them. In fact, there is no one like Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Israel, for even though other religions believe that God forgives sins, only biblical religion teaches that He does so without violating His justice (Isa. 53; Rom. 3:21–26).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

God forgives sins without compromising His justice. That is the good news of the gospel. If He were to forgive sins by ignoring the demands of His perfect holiness and righteousness, then we could not be confident that the Judge of all the earth will do right. If He did not forgive sins at all, we would have no hope in this world or the next. Only the God of the Bible is both merciful and just. Only He is worthy of our worship and exclusive devotion.

For Further Study
  • Psalm 89:1–6
  • Jeremiah 10:6–7
  • Romans 3:26
  • Galatians 3:13–14
Related Scripture

Micah’s Trust in the Lord

Nahum’s Oracle Concerning Nineveh

Keep Reading The Shema

From the May 2013 Issue
May 2013 Issue