This past Sunday, we began what will be a 7-week series in the book of Micah. Much of this book is God’s response to the idol-worshiping reality that had gripped the people of God. This is God calling out their sin, making known His judgment and inviting them to repentance. He begins by making clear: When our hearts pursue false gods, God crushes them for our good.
1. God’s Word Comes to God’s People: v.1
The book begins with the statement “The word of the Lord.” This is crucial to keep in view because it prevents us from dismissing this as simply being Micah’s perspective. This is God’s Word that is coming to God’s people. We would do well to hear what God would choose to speak to His people.
2. God Destroys the Idols of Our Heart: v.2-9
As God had made clear that His Word had come, He moves to addressing the idolatry that captivated the people of Israel. He begins by calling them to hear, and what God wants them to hear is that He will crush and destroy whatever would steal our affection for the Lord. In verse 3, God speaks of treading on the high places. That’s where the idols would be worshiped. He speaks in verse 7 of beating the idols to pieces and laying them waste. God will graciously crush what attempts to undermine and steal our affection for the Lord. This begs the question for all of us: are there idols in my life? We tend to think of idols as stone or wooden statues. In reality, an idol is anyone or anything that would take Jesus’ rightful place in my life as the primary source of love, joy, worship, identity, trust, security or any other aspect that rightfully belongs to Christ. So let me ask you again, are there idols in your life? If you’re struggling to discern that, just ask yourself these questions: Where do I find comfort and consolation? Where do I find joy? Where do I find hope? What is my identity rooted in? What is my source of security? If anyone or anything finds its place in those questions in a manner or way that’s reserved solely for Christ, then there are idols in your life! Listen, there will be no rescue without removal. God in His kindness, will strip away and destroy our idols to return us to our primary affection for Jesus.
In verse 8-9, there’s an intriguing and beautiful pivot. Where Micah wants to advocate for the people, the reality is, he, like them, is incapable of helping them. It is only in Jesus that the true advocate will take on this position and be able to remedy our need. There’s rich gospel allusions where Jesus will clothe our nakedness with His righteousness. Jesus will be the one rejected so that we are accepted. Jesus will take on our sin, so that we are cleansed. What a beautiful work Christ will do to restore us unto God.
3. God Judges Our Sin: v.10-16
In the final section, God clearly demonstrates the coming judgment for their sin. Micah uses word play with the place names of the communities to make clear the coming judgment of the Lord. The final result in verse 16 is that the people are called to repent. Repentance is both a confession and a sorrow over sin, while also renouncing and forsaking the sin and choosing to follow Jesus. In endeavoring to be people of true repentance, we closed by using substitutes for true repentance that came from an article written by Jim Elliff: 1. You may reform in the actions without repenting in the heart. 2. You may experience the emotion of repentance without the effect of it. 3. You may confess the words of a true repenter and never repent. 4. You may repent for the fear of reprisal alone and not for the hatred of sin. 5. You may talk against sin in public like a true repenter but never repent in private. 6. You may repent primarily for temporal gains rather that the glory of God. 7. You may repent of lesser sins for the purpose of continuing in the greater sins. 8. You may repent so generally that you never repent of any specific sin at all. 9. You may repent for the love of friends and religious leaders and not repent for the love of God. 10. You may confess the finished action of sin and not repent from the continuing habit of sin. 11. You may attempt repentance of your sin while consciously leaving open the door of its opportunity. 12. You may make an effort to repent of some sins without repenting of all the sin you know.