In chapter 6 of Micah, the people of God were put on trial for their sins. The best defense they could come up with was “do you want some more sacrifices or offerings from us?” Needless to say, God found them guilty and sentenced them to punishment.
Here in chapter 7, we see Micah, on behalf of God’s people, responding to the promised punishment. That response should serve as the blueprint for how we respond when confronted with the weight and reality of our own sin: with lament, confession, and trusting in God’s promises. While we are insufficient, we can find hope in the sufficiency of God’s promises (particularly His promise to restore and redeem His people). Micah presents the following path for restoring hope in the face of sin:
1. Lamenting the Insufficiency of Man: (1-6)
In the first 6 verses, Micah makes it clear that everyone is sinful (1-4a), that our sins deserve to be punished (4b), and that there is nobody who is sufficient to deal with our sins and save us from the punishment and discipline of God (5-6).
We must remember that we are all included in this category. Romans 3 is a good reminder that “no one is righteous. No, not one…. There is no one who seeks God.” Left to ourselves, we are sinners who deserve to be punished, and that punishment is eternal separation from God in hell (Rom 3:23).
And there is no person, thing, or activity on earth that can help us. Yet, we often put our hope in all sorts of insufficient things. We hope in family, jobs, church activities, politicians or policies, etc. These can be good things, but they do NOT save us from the consequences of our sin.
2. Trusting in the Sufficiency of God: (7-20)
Starting in verse 7, we begin to see the hope and we find the answer. Micah says “I will look to God. I will wait for the god of my salvation.” Micah knows that God is sufficient to deal with our sins, and that He is faithful to fulfill His promises.
Over the course of three poetic stanzas (8-10, 11-13, 14-17), Micah proclaims and prays about two particular promises of God: A) That He will redeem and restore His people; and B) That He will exact retribution on His enemies.
A) He will redeem and restore His people: God sent Christ to be our advocate. He pleads our cause (9) before the judge (God) by stepping forward and taking our punishment for us. For those who believe and trust in the advocacy and substitutionary atonement of Christ on their behalf, there is great hope and joy and peace, because our sins are forgiven…. BUT….
B) He will exact retribution on His enemies: for those who do not believe or trust in the work of Christ, they should heed the warning of this promise. For those who do not believe, He will give them over to their sins and the punishment they deserve (hell). One day, they will acknowledge the Lord, and they will be ashamed (10; 16-17). Those who have not trusted in Christ for salvation should begin to think about the reality of punishment for their sin.
And the last few verses of Micah 7 (18-20) are truly beautiful. They describe the majesty and wonder of how God redeems His people: Through His substitution, our iniquities are pardoned. By His blood, our transgressions are passed over. He doesn’t hold our sins against us, but casts them into the depths of the sea. And the promises He made to Abraham and Jacob are fulfilled in the grace and truth that came through Christ (John 1:17). God takes delight in loving us, and has gone to great lengths to forgive us. What a great and mighty God! Our hope is found in Him alone!