7/06/20 Micah 7:8-13
Today’s passage is a statement of Israel’s fallen state, yet at the same time a statement of Israel’s eventual redemption (see Vs 9 below). Israel (the northern kingdom) will fall, has indeed already fallen, but once God’s judgment is carried out, Israel will once again behold the righteousness of God, despite the lies of many alleged “intellectuals” who claim to be “teachers” (by right of their “great learning”), teaching the lie that Israel will never return again to God in her own right, and that the elect church has supplanted Israel’s promises of a future holiness with God.
Micah 7:9 – I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness.
Note also Daniel 9:24 – Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
The truth is that one day God will turn back to Israel and they will return to Him, noting the final 2 verses of Micah.
Micah 7:19-20 – 19He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, [and] the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old. Sounds quite certain to me!
Parts of this passage (Vss 8-10) could appear to be Micah talking about himself, but the context makes it clear that Micah is speaking on behalf of Israel in the first person. Thus “me” in Vs 8 below should be seen as Israel.
Micah 7:8 – Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord [shall be] a light unto me.
mine enemy – enemy, either personal or national, feminine gender which is said to represent enemies collectively. Ellicott says, “The Hebrew word is strictly a female enemy …. and is used of enemies collectively.” It is used again in Vs 10 below where the translation suggests that it is female (“she”).
Note that when “enemy” is used in Micah 2:8 (Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ….) it is masculine gender, representing just those enemies among his people.
And in Micah 7:6 (we did this last time - a man’s enemies [are] the men of his own house.) it is a more specific enemy and masculine gender.
fall – fall (including of violent death); fall prostrate; fall upon; attack; desert; fall away; fall into the hand of; fall short; fall out; result; waste away; be inferior to; lie prostrate. Here it would refer to having sinned against God (as per Vs 9 below).
when I fall – or “if I should fall” or “when I have fallen” That is, when (or because) I have fallen into sin, do not rejoice over me. Do not use me to make you feel good about not sinning. It is a common failing of many people, when they fall into some sort of sin, to accuse others of sin in an effort to make their own sin appear more insignificant. And others can often magnify their own feelings of holy purity by magnifying the lack of holy purity in others. As the saying goes: “There but for the grace of God go I.” (Allegedly from a mid-sixteenth-century statement by John Bradford, "There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford", in reference to a group of prisoners being led to execution. - Wikipedia)
Note 1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
When I sit (abide; dwell) in darkness (obscurity, often a metaphor for the condition of those who live in sin away from the light of God – see John 3:19-21) the Lord will be a light (see 1 Timothy 6:16) for me.
Isaiah 9:2 – The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
That is, one day I (Israel) will once again dwell in the light of God’s righteousness. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel. Now is like the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) but God is with them (His rod and staff comfort them) even there, and one day He will preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (Psalm 23:5-6) Israel has a future guaranteed by God!
Micah 7:9 – I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness.
I will bear (endure with patience) the indignation (raging anger) of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him; I acknowledge this.
Psalm 51:3-4 – 3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin [is] ever before me. 4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest.
I will endure my punishment until God pleads my cause as my advocate – if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (I John 2:1) Also note Zechariah 3:1-5.
he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me – Note that it is not “execute judgment on me” but “for me”. This is God defending His people once more as He will one day still yet in the future. It is God fighting on behalf of His people Israel (at Armageddon and following) that will bring them forth to the light and they shall behold his righteousness.
If Israel is finished now, and in the past already (as calvinists so proudly proclaim, alleging themselves to be the chosen replacement for Israel), then why does not God say so here? Or is God just trying to imply a future for Israel when He has no intention of giving them such? Israel is here depicted as accepting God’s righteous anger, acknowledging their sin before God, putting up with it (bearing it) because of that sin, until God should return His favour to them once more and plead their cause, fight their enemies once again for them, be brought to the light of God’s glory once again, and look upon their God because they are once again God’s people (Ezekiel 37:21-28, especially Ezekiel 37:27-28 – 27My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore (of the future: for ever; always; continuous existence; perpetual; everlasting; eternity).
(It is worth noting that, at the start of Ezekiel 37, Israel is depicted as a valley of dry bones rising up again into the house of Israel and leading into the quotes from Ezekiel 37 above.)
Does not “evermore” mean for ever? Do calvinists teach that God is lying here?
Micah 7:9 makes it clear that God is still their God. Their confidence is in their God removing their reproach in the future and returning them to the covenant they once enjoyed with their God. If the church should one day replace Israel with the church for all eternity, then this verse in Micah makes absolutely no sense at all.
Micah 7:10 – Then [she that is] mine enemy shall see [it], and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.
One day Israel’s enemies will see (look upon; find out) the redemption of Israel and her reinstatement as God’s special people. Her enemies (who once mocked them saying, “Where is the Lord thy God?”) will be covered with shame (from a word meaning to be ashamed, disconcerted or disappointed).
Isaiah 37:10-11 – 10Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered?
My (Israel’s) eyes will one day see my enemies (“her”) and then those enemies (“she”) will be trodden down (trampled) just as the mud of the streets is trampled. (Note that the following passages from Isaiah and Zechariah are one of a number of such noted today that look at the fall of Israel, and also the restoration of Israel. In fact, in each case where Israel falls, another passage reverses that fall.)
Isaiah 10:5-6 – 5O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. (The enemy treads Israel down, like in Micah 7:10 above.)
Zechariah 10:5-6 – 5And they shall be as mighty [men], which tread down [their enemies] in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the Lord [is] with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded. 6And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I [am] the Lord their God, and will hear them. (Israel now are the mighty ones who tread down their enemies in battle.)
This very clear prophecy of Israel’s future righteousness in Micah 7:10 above as God’s people is so clear that it is hard to believe that so many people have written her off as a nation already! Of course, they will try to pass this off as something that has already occurred in the past, but then ask yourself: just how does all today’s passage relate to only the past, when Israel/Judah since the captivity hasn’t yet returned to the righteousness that this passage clearly depicts. If it did, then why didn’t Jesus commend them for this righteousness? Instead He condemned them for their wickedness.
Matthew 16:1-4 – 1The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 2He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, [It will be] fair weather: for the sky is red. 3And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times? :4A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
Micah 7:11 – [In] the day that thy walls are to be built, [in] that day shall the decree be far removed.
the decree – choq (statute; ordinance; limit; something prescribed (task, portion, action, limit, boundary); decree; law in general)
be far removed – to be or become far or distant; be removed; go far away.
(In) the day that thy walls are built – or “That day will come when your walls will be built”.
(in) that day shall the decree be far removed – or “the day will come when your boundaries (limits) will be far removed (made distant).
This clearly relates to the boundaries of Israel which were defined by God but which have never been taken to their full limit. In Genesis 15:18 God told Abraham that his descendants’ land would extend from the River Nile to the River Euphrates. This has never yet been so; but, one day they will be, so that day must be still in the future (which is just another evidence that this refers to Israel on a timeline in the future).
Job used the same word used for “decree” (choq) to describe the limit of a man’s age ….
Job 14:5 – Seeing his days [are] determined, the number of his months [are] with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
…. and to describe the boundaries of the water
Job 26:10 – He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.
(Note Proverbs 8:29 – When he gave to the sea his decree (choq), that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:)
Isaiah appears to refer to a time when Israel will see God, probably on His throne, and will also see their land which is a long way away (in the distance), yet another prophecy also unfulfilled. It clearly refers to the time when Israel dwells in all her promised land in its completeness.
Isaiah 33:17 – Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.
God told the people in Isaiah’s day that, because of their sin, He would break down their walls.
Isaiah 5:5 – And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; [and] break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
Here the wall is broken down, yet in Micah 7:11 above it then refers to a time when those walls will be built (or rebuilt), that is, a reversal of the judgment that God will bring upon those of Micah’s day. In fact, a lot of prophecy is the placing of judgments upon Israel, and then the restoration from these judgments.
Also note a similar reversal of prophecy with the Gentiles making weapons of war from farming implements, and then the return of those weapons again to farming implements.
Joel 3:9-14 – 9Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: 10Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I [am] strong.
Micah 4:3 – And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
One day Israel will be restored in righteousness to her chosen-nation status; and in keeping with her spiritual restoration, her physical restoration will be complete as well.
Amos 9:11-15 – 11In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. 13Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.
That is, one day Israel will be restored to her favoured position as God’s covenanted people, as He promised Abraham. He will turn again, … (Micah 7:19)
In the law Israel was given a choice: to obey God and be blessed, or to disobey God and be cursed. Their physical well-being depended upon their spiritual well-being. Today we live in an age of grace, so, while there are always going to be some aspects of God’s judgment that will be more immediate in nature, generally our material benefits and judgments are largely deferred until we face God in judgment.
2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
When God removes Israel’s offense against Him (and brings in that everlasting righteousness that Daniel 9:24 also refers to), in that day will their walls also be built and their boundaries extended into the distance. It all depended upon obedience!
Note Deuteronomy 28:1-2; 15 – 1And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe [and] to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
15But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
Micah 7:12 – [In] that day [also] he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and [from] the fortified (matsowr = Egypt or siege entrenchments) cities, and from the fortress (matsowr) even to the river, and from sea to sea, and [from] mountain to mountain.
Some say this refers to Pentecost in an effort to keep it in the past! But the context totally denies this interpretation.
the fortified cities – or “the cities of Egypt”
the fortress – or “Egypt”
In that day when Israel is finally restored to righteousness (an event that has to be yet in the future), they (that is, people in general) will come from all over the world. Even their enemies (represented by Assyria) will flock to the restored Israel. Keep in mind that Micah was writing this either just before or probably not long after the captivity of Israel in Nineveh (722 BC), the capital city of Assyria. The major enemy to both Israel and Judah at this time was Assyria (note Sennacherib besieging Jerusalem in 702-701 BC), so it is natural to use Assyria to represent the enemy here in Micah 7:12. All who heard what Micah said would have understood the message here.
Some see this verse as defining the future boundaries of Israel but the context makes this interpretation awkward. Or it could be seen as “people will come to you, even from Assyria (that is, even your enemies will come to you)”. I have noted this possibility above.
Or it could be read exactly as translated above, noting that both Assyria and Egypt will be on that highway with Israel in between the two.
Isaiah 19:23-25 – 23In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 24In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, [even] a blessing in the midst of the land: 25Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed [be] Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
But with Isaiah mentioning both Assyria and Egypt together here, Micah 7:12 could easily be seen as noting that highway that Isaiah prophesied that led from Egypt to Assyria. “In that day people will come to you from Assyria right over to the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the river Euphrates, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.”
In any case, Israel will literally be the centre of the world. It has been said that all roads lead to Rome; but in these final days all roads will lead to Israel and in particular Jerusalem.
Zechariah 8:20-23 – 20Thus saith the Lord of hosts; [It shall] yet [come to pass], that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21And the inhabitants of one [city] shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. 22Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. 23Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days [it shall come to pass], that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard [that] God [is] with you.
Micah 7:13 – Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings (the consequences for their behaviour).
Notwithstanding (In spite of) all these prophecies of the future, the land will yet remain desolate for now for those who now dwell there because of the wicked fruit they have produced. Yes, Israel will have a righteous eternal future with God, but this will not occur until they have learned their lesson concerning their obedience to God’s commands. And Israel has not ever learned to fully obey the Lord their God. Not yet, but it will happen one day; it has been prophesied!
In Micah’s day they were wanting all the benefits and blessings of being God’s people, yet to have as well the freedom to enjoy all that the world had to offer.
You cannot serve both God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 – No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
You must choose whom you will serve.
Joshua 24:15 – And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
You must decide between your soul and the world.
Matthew 16:26 – For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
You must choose to lose your life in order to save it. You cannot have both!
Luke 9:23-25 – 23And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself (be destroyed; perish; be put out of the way entirely; figuratively: to be given over to eternal misery in hell), or be cast away?
You can’t be God’s servant if you would rather be in the world. And this was Israel’s problem. They did desire to serve God but not at the expense of losing the world. It will only be when they see that those serving God must deny the world that they will see the righteousness that they have always wanted but could never have while they also loved the world. They will never see until they lose the world in their lives.
And it will take the destruction of the world as they know it to bring them to their senses enough to see this truth.
And the church today is just as guilty!