Accused, Bible, Consequences, Deceit, Evil, Modeling, Scripture, Truth

SNAKE BITTEN

MICAH 3:5

“This is what the LORD says concerning the prophets who lead my people astray: ‘When they have something to bite with their teeth, they cry out, “Peace!” But against him who puts nothing in their mouths they declare holy war.’”

I have never been bitten by a snake. Thank goodness. I grew up around them, though. In Southwest Georgia we have rattlesnakes, coral snakes and cotton-mouth moccasins. That last one is the mean one. They will actually come after you. I remember fishing in my uncle’s ponds and having to shoot them as they tried to get in the boat with us. Mean snakes.

The Lord is comparing the false prophets of their day to snakes. The Hebrew word for “bite” is used primarily to describe the serpent’s bite. A serpent’s bite is never good. The people knew that. But these false prophets would latch on and not let go. They attacked those who did not go along with their message and declared “holy war” on them. How dare they not agree?

APPLICATION 

It is human nature to attack people who disagree with us. That does not make it right. In fact, following our human nature seldom leads us to the right thing. Our human nature is sinful, fleshly and only wants to please itself. Whether we are extolling something that is true or false, we want those listening to be in agreement. If they are not, then “off with their heads.” Not literally, lol.

We have probably all known people who act that way. They are really hard to be around, aren’t they? Don’t be that person. Don’t act like they do. Stick with the truth of God’s Word, and you will be fine. The moment you veer off course of that, you are preaching a false narrative.

As I share with others, I try to always be careful that everything I am saying is truthful. I double check stories I may use as an illustration. I double check any statistics I may use also. I do not want to be accused of stretching the truth or an outright falsehood. If others do not agree with the truth, that is between them and the Lord. But I will not be a serpent and bite them. How about you?

O Lord, keep my fangs pulled. Let me never be one who bites another because of my flesh.

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Forgiveness, Heaven, Encouragement, Prayer, God's Will, Bible, Scripture, Confession, Accountability, Hearing, Advocate, Listening, Belief, Brokenness

UNANSWERED PRAYERS 

MICAH 3:4 

“Then they will cry out to the LORD, but He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time because they have practiced evil deeds.” 

I have heard this so much during my ministry years. God just doesn’t hear me or answer my prayers. Why doesn’t He answer? Our God is always listening to our prayers. However, before He can answer us, we must submit to His authority. We must come to Him in confession. Oh, how He wants to answer. 

The people Micah was talking to were asking the same question. They kept crying out to God to rescue them. They had not taken the most critical step towards answered prayers. They had not repented of their sins. Their sins were serving as a roadblock to heaven. Their sins were bouncing off the gates up there. God heard them, but He could not answer them until they came to Him in repentance. 

APPLICATION 

Now, hear me! I am NOT saying that all unanswered prayers are because of sin in your life. In fact, I believe that a believer’s prayers are ALWAYS answered. Sometimes God says Yes. Other times He says No. Then often He says Not now My child. But He is always listening. He hears our cries. 

If you have lost friends who are blaming God for their unanswered prayers, ask them if they have surrendered their lives to Him first. They may not even know how to go about asking Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. What a privilege it is for us to lead them to the throne of grace. 

I have a couple of prayers that I pray daily. I pray other prayers weekly or monthly. Then finally I have prayers that I pray on occasion for those special requests of friends. But I pray. I love to pray. I love to know that my Lord is interceding at the right hand of His Father each time I pray. I know when I open my mouth to voice my prayers, my Father in heaven bends His ear and listens. Call on Him today. 

Father, thank You for listening to all my feeble attempts of prayer. I know You are careful to do Your perfect Will in each and every requests I make. 

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Modeling, Holy Spirit, Bible, Scripture, Evil, Gospel, Darkness, Idols, Altars

IN THE MIDST OF EVIL

MICAH 3:3

“Who eat the flesh of my people, strip off their skin from them, smash their bones, and chop them up as for the pot, and as meat in a cauldron!”

I have experienced evil in my lifetime – pure evil. It is not a comfortable feeling. I remember many years ago, back in 1985, I had the opportunity to visit Liberia on a mission trip with a couple of friends. We went to several villages with the local missionary to do medical missions and share the Gospel. One village we approached had this huge cottonwood tree on the edge of the village, from which were hung all kinds of animal bones. We were told this was the local witchdoctor’s altar. You could just feel the evil all around.

Micah continues the description of those who were leading the people in evil. These people were totally disarmed and helpless. Their flesh, skin and bones were chopped up for the pot, not literally, but figuratively. They were just food for the leaders, people to be exploited and preyed upon. Pure evil.

APPLICATION

I pray you never encounter evil like I experienced or what Micah is describing. I am afraid our world is becoming more evil by the day. The Word of God is scoffed at. The principles taught in the Bible about marriage, life and godly living are ridiculed and considered old-fashioned. The biblical worldview we believers strive to live by is scorned.

How do you survive this? By relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a pledge I recite as part of the Every Man A Warrior (www.everymanawarrior.com) disciple making curriculum. It is called the manhood commitment. It says:

Created by God in His image to be a bearer of destiny in social and spiritual leadership, I will be a man who, abiding in Jesus Christ and relying on the power of the Holy Spirt –  rejects passivity (the silence of Adam); accepts responsibility to obey God’s will, do God’s work, and love God’s woman; leads courageously through direction, protection and provision based on God’s principles, not my passions; serves humbly giving life to others, not taking life from them; and invests eternally, making disciplemakers.

Ladies, you can adapt that to fit you, as well. But that is how we fight the evil in this world. We abide in Christ and rely on the Holy Spirit. We reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, serve humbly and invest eternally. That is my passion. Try that today in your life and just see what happens.

I shall fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Darkness, Deception, Double-minded, Evil, Faith, Goodness, Healing, Modeling, Scripture, Testimony

HATE GOOD AND LOVE EVIL

MICAH 3:2

“‘You who hate good and love evil, who tear off their skin from them and their flesh from their bones,’”

Before I came to Christ, I loved doing things that fed my fleshly desires. Honesty time – I loved drugs and alcohol. Now, I would not say I was an addict (since I quit cold turkey once I was saved), but I got high most days somehow. Why did I do that? Because just like the people Micah is talking about in today’s verse, I loved evil, or at least the pleasures it brought my flesh.

The leaders of Israel had come to the point that they loved the evil and hated the good. Why hate the good? Because it pointed out their sin. They did not want that. They tore “off their skin,” which meant they took away from the people their outer goods and protection. Then they tore off “their flesh from their bones.” That meant they destroyed the foundation of these people’s faith. They led them into evil, and the people followed as lambs to the slaughter.

APPLICATION

Have you ever noticed that people who are living in darkness are always trying to drag others along with them? They do not want people around them who are living righteously because the light of Christ will point out their sin. They scatter like cockroaches when the light is turned on when someone mentions Jesus.

We cannot let that stop us from shining the light. We have to live lives above reproach in order to draw them to Christ. We must pray for these who are bound to sin. The Lord desires that “all men be saved.” Shine the light, people.

I am so thankful that the Lord did not leave me in my sin. In the midst of my lies and fleshly lifestyle, God saved me. Have I been perfect since then? No way. I have slipped. I have sinned. But praise be to God that His Holy Spirit will not let me stay there. He convicts me and draws me back to a place of repentance and grace. Where are you today? Do you love good and hate evil or the other way around?

I am reminded, Lord, of Psalm 101:3. “I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part of it.” Help me to live like that every day.

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Advice, Advocate, Bible, Choices, Double-minded, Evil, God's Will, Goodness, Knowledge

DO YOU NOT KNOW?

MICAH 3:1

“And I said, ‘Hear now, you leaders of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel: Is it not for you to know justice?’”

As we grow up, we learn new things. I love to watch a toddler or preschooler learn. Everything is new to them. Little things like putting the square peg in a square hole brings delight and handclaps. As they learn more their knowledge about the world around them grows.

Micah now points his attention to the leaders of Jacob and Israel. He basically says, “You should know what is right and what is wrong! You should, by now, understand justice!” But the sins in their lives had blinded them to right and wrong. They had corrupted not only their lives but also the lives of the people.

APPLICATION

I remember telling my children as they were growing up to learn to recognize good and evil instead of what was right and what was wrong. Why? Because in today’s world what might be right for someone else could be wrong for others. But good and evil are the same everywhere.

The leaders of Israel and Judah had lost their bearings. They had forgotten the goodness of God. They had forsaken their worship and adoration of their Lord. Instead, they turned their attention to pagan idols, as if they could do anything for them. They had led their people down the road to destruction and thought nothing of it.

We are in danger of doing the same unless we recognize and embrace the justice of God. He will always judge correctly. He  knows the difference between good and evil in our hearts. He knows we are not perfect. I love Psalm 103:14 which reads, “For He Himself knows our form; He is mindful that we are nothing but dust.” He knows our frailty. That is why He gave us Jesus. Ask Him, and He will direct you as you navigate this world.

Thank You, Father, for giving me the knowledge through Your Word to know what is good and what is evil, what is right in Your eyes and what is wrong.

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Accused, Bible, Consequences, Enslavement, Freedom, Rescue, Scripture

JAIL BREAK

MICAH 2:13

“The one who breaks through goes up before them; they break through, pass through the gate, and go out by it. So their king passes on before them, and the LORD at their head.”

There have been so many movies about prisoners breaking out of prison. I think of The Bird Man of Alcatraz. I have seen James Cagney make prison breaks. And who can forget all the Westerns that included breaking out of the Sheriff’s jail? All these have one thing in common – getting free from confinement.

Micah, in today’s verse, is portraying the people of Israel breaking free from their imprisonment. “The one who breaks through” is a reference, according to some scholars, of Christ, Who sets us free from our enslavement to sin. But the last phrase tells it all – “and the Lord at their head.” He is the one responsible for their freedom.

APPLICATION

Are you enslaved today? Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” You see, we are slaves to something.  

I have never been in jail (at least not yet, lol), but I can imagine how I would feel to be confined somewhere that I could not leave. When you are enslaved to sin, there is no escape. You cannot get out of this enslavement by yourself. You do not have the power to break the yoke of sin. But thanks be to God, He sent His Son to set us free.

I love Isaiah 61:1. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD anointed me to bring good news to the humble; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to captives and freedom to prisoners;” We have a mission to proclaim the good news. We can help point others to the One Who breaks through.

Thank You, Father, for breaking through the walls of sin as I call upon Your name.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Compassion, Covenant, Grace, Promises, Scripture

PROMISES, PROMISES

MICAH 2:12

“‘I will certainly assemble all of you, Jacob, I will certainly gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in the fold; like a flock in the midst of its pasture they will be noisy with people.’”

One thing I have been really trying to do is not make promises I cannot keep. There is nothing quite as bad as a broken promise. Parents do it all the time, don’t they? They promise their children things they have no intention doing. I have seen the faces of children whose parent did not show up for a visit which was schedule and promised. That hurts so bad.

Not God! When He makes a promise, He will keep it. Here in today’s verse, He promises to return the people of Israel to their land. He even says, “they will be noisy with people.” In other words, there will not be just a few. He will return a hoard of people, enough to make some noise. What a great promise.

APPLICATION

Do not make false promises to anyone, including God. We have all heard people promise God the moon if He would just get them out of the problem they are in. God, if You will get me out of this fix I am in, I will go to church every Sunday. And when that problem passes, they soon forget that vow.

I remember when I was about 15, I was in a bad car wreck. Oh, I was so thankful to survive. I made God all kinds of promises. That lasted a few months, and then I was back to my old lifestyle, which was not godly. God still showed me grace and never stopped pursuing me. At age 16, I accepted Christ as my Savior.

The Bible speaks to making vows. It says in James 5:12, “Now above allmy brothersdo not sweareither by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your ‘yes’ must beyes,’ and your ‘no’ must be ‘no,’ so that you won’t fall under judgment.” That is pretty clear. So, be careful as you make promises today.

Lord, I know I can depend on Your promises when all others fail.

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Accountability, Bible, Conceit, Deceit, Godliness, Guilt, Integrity, Modeling, Scripture, Truth

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE

MICAH 2:11

“‘If someone walking after wind and falsehood had lied and said, “I will prophesy to you about wine and liquor,” he would become a prophet to this people.’”

We probably all remember the childhood rant, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” We would say that to people we caught lying about something. There is nothing good about lying. It always leads to a bad end. We find ourselves lying about the lie we just told, and then we get confused about what we said. It is a never-ending circle of lies.

These lying prophets lied for one purpose – to satisfy the ears of the people. They prophesied health and wealth. They prophesied nothing but good times. When God says they prophesied “about wine and liquor,” He is saying they are telling the people that the land will be plentiful, and they will enjoy the fruit of the vine. They found out differently.

APPLICATION

Application is always important when we look at a verse or passage of Scripture. Why else read it? Here, the application is clear. Tell the truth! Do not lie to people. Even bad news is better told than lying to cover it up. People need to know the truth, no matter how hard it might be.

But let’s think about that for a second. You also need to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15) We should never use the truth to hurt someone else. Some of us remember the line from “A Few Good Men.” Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth!” Be tender when you speak truth to others. There is never any reason to be harsh in truth telling.

I am thankful that my God is truthful. He is truth and nothing but the truth. I can always depend on Him to tell me the truth. I discover His truth from His Word. Jesus tells us, “the truth shall set us free.” (John 8:32) We all want the truth. Will you accept it today?

I am so glad You only speak truth to me, Lord. I know Your truth will remain.

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Abiding, Affliction, Bible, Promises, Rest, Safety, Scripture, Surrender

NO REST

MICAH 2:10

“‘Arise and go, for this is no place of rest because of the uncleanness that brings on destruction, a painful destruction.’”

“All rest is wearisome which is not in Thee, O our God.” Albert Barnes said that in his commentary on Micah. Indeed, it is. Recently, I stained and sealed our small back deck. It took me a lot longer than I thought. When I was finished, I was totally exhausted. I am so glad I had a place to rest.

Micah is still delivering God’s words in today’s verse. God is telling them they deserve no rest because they gave no rest. They deserve destruction because they brought on destruction. The land is unclean because of their idolatry, their pagan worship.

APPLICATION

We all need rest. I normally sleep 5-6 hours a night. For me, that is plenty. Others require 8 or more hours (I won’t name any names, lol). So, when God tells the people “this is no place of rest” that must have been quite disturbing. They were in distress. They needed rest, but none would be found in the land. God’s judgment had fallen due to their idolatry.

God can give you rest. You may be weary. You may be worn out. Do not fret. The God who established rest is here. In Him you can experience true rest, rest that will last, eternal rest. I am not saying you will never get tired again (I wish that were true). But in Jesus, you can have the rest that will never end.

I am so thankful I am resting in Christ. Psalm 62:5 says, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God…” Oh, that is a rest I can depend on. When I came in from staining my back deck, I cleaned up (which took a while with all the stain on me, lol) and rested in my recliner. I won’t say I took a nap, but my eyelids shut for a while. As good as that rest was, it did not last. My rest in Christ will.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5-6)

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Bible, Majesty, Orphans, Restoration, Scripture, Splendor, Widows

SPLENDOR

MICAH 2:9

“‘You evict the women of My people, each one from her pleasant house. From her children you take My splendor forever.

I do not know about you, but I seldom think about anything that I would use the word “splendor” to describe. I guess I should do that more often. If I do, I could describe a beautiful sunset as having splendor. I could say our worship service displayed splendor. But the main way I would use “splendor” would be to describe my Lord.

Here in today’s verse, Micah uses the word to describe what these thieves, which we have been talking about in the past verses, have taken from the children of these widows. We know they are widows because they own their homes (women did not own property back then unless their husbands were dead, or their father had purposely willed it to them). These thieves were ruthless in their greed, neglecting even the neediest.

APPLICATION

James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” For us to show God’s splendor, we need to care for the widows and orphans. God has told us this is precious in His sight. He longs to see them loved on and attended to.

I love how Isaiah uses this Hebrew word, hadar. He says, “the splendor of His majesty.” Think about that for a minute. We can help maintain the splendor of His majesty in the lives of widows and orphans by caring for them. There are so many out there who need us. We just have to open our eyes to their needs.

I have shared before that I worked over thirty years in the child welfare ministry. Some of those children were true orphans, having lost both parents. Others had only one parent, usually a birth mother. It was my privilege to work alongside some incredible people caring for these children. It is my prayer that we restored the splendor of His majesty in their lives. Who can you help restore that to? Just look around and ask God to reveal them to you.

The splendor of our King, clothed in majesty, let all the earth rejoice, all the earth rejoice.

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