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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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, Greed, Stealing

ROBE STEALER 

MICAH 2:8 

“‘Recently My people have arisen as an enemy—you strip the robe off the garment from unsuspecting passers-by, from those returned from war.’” 

Some people do not care about others at all. They will steal from them without any concern. When I worked at a children’s home once, we had a problem with people coming onto our campus on Sundays while we were all gone to church and stealing stuff from us. Stealing from a ministry caring for children is pretty low. 

Micah is telling them the Lord’s words about their thievery. They were even stealing the outer garments (which were used also at night for covering) from peaceable people. These people who were the victims were trying to walk with God and please Him. These thieves didn’t care. They saw the garment and took it. That’s why God is leveling His judgment against them. 

APPLICATION 

I am sure you have never done anything like that. If you have, I pray you will ask for forgiveness right now. That’s right – stop reading and get on your knees. God has not forgotten that sin, which was really against Him. You may have forgotten, but He has not. 

In fact, we read about this in Psalm 51. Verse 2 through 4a says, “2 Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my wrongdoings, and my sin is constantly before me. 4 Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight,” 

If those verses describe you, spend some extended time in prayer asking the God of the universe, who gave His only Son to die for you, to forgive you and cleanse you. I always feel better physically after a bath. A spiritual bath also makes us feel better. Try it. 

Thank You, Lord, for protecting me from those who would take from me from a callous heart. 

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Abiding, Advocate, Affection, Battles, Belief, Bible, Compassion, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Righteousness, Scripture

WOULD GOD DO THIS? 

MICAH 2:7 

“‘Is it being said, house of Jacob: “Is the Spirit of the LORD impatient? Are these His works?” Do My words not do good for the one walking rightly?’” 

As a pastor and a minister of the Gospel, I have been asked many times why God would allow the death of a loved one or a mass killing. I have also been asked by others why God would allow them to get cancer. I do not have answers to all these questions. I can only point them to Christ. I know He has all the answers. 

The Israelites were asking these questions. Would God really do this? Is God really behind this? God answers through Micah with the last phrase of this verse. “Do My words not do good for the one walking rightly?” That is a punch in the mouth, isn’t it? The Hebrew word for “rightly” could be translated uprightly or straight. 

APPLICATION 

You may be one of those people who have questioned God. You may not understand why He has allowed something horrible in your life. Let me tell you something. I understand that. My wife and I lost a little girl, Cathleen, back in 1987. She only lived about six hours. That was hard. There were questions, but God healed our hearts. 

I have also gone through two, count them, two stem cell transplants for treatment of a disease I have. That was not easy either. I prayed to die a couple of times, but God healed me. I am healthier today than I have been in probably a dozen years. As I said earlier, I do not have all the answers, but I do know the One who does. 

I want to encourage you today to lean into Jesus during those hard times. Do not worry about leaning too heavily on Him. He can carry the load. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Do you believe that? Then trust Him. 

O Father, I do not understand all You are doing in my life. I understand You are in control, so I will allow You to lead. 

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gospel, Listening, Obedience, Prophesy, Scripture

La la la la la

MICAH 2:6

“‘“Do not prophesy,” so they prophesy. But if they do not prophesy about these things, insults will not be turned back.’”

When we were children and we did not want to hear what someone was saying, we would stick our fingers in our ears and say, “La la la la la.” We just did not want to hear it. What would the person do who was telling us what we did not want to hear? One of two things – they would say it louder or stop talking.

The people of Israel did not want to hear what Micah (or any other prophet) was saying. They may have stuck their fingers in their ears. We do not know. It says here there that they said, “Do not prophesy.” In the Hebrew this was a very blunt statement. Kind of like “Shut your mouth.” Hmmm. Does that still happen today?

APPLICATION

Today, people get mad at the preacher if he starts stepping on their toes during a sermon. How dare that preacher say those things to me. Who does he think he is? There is a passage in Malachi 2:6-7 that says, “6 True instruction was in his mouth and injustice was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and justice, and he turned many back from wrongdoing. 7 For the lips of a priest should maintain knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of armies.”

Look at the last part of that verse – “for he is the messenger of the LORD of armies.” That is who is speaking here in Micah – a messenger of the LORD of armies. Today’s preachers/teachers have the same responsibility. And if they are preaching God’s Word correctly, we need to listen. We need to stop putting our fingers in our ears and saying, “La la la la la.” We should do what it says in Malachi – “seek instruction from his mouth.”

I have preached hundreds of sermons in my ministry career. Perhaps thousands – I have not kept count. I know some of those sermons were preached out of my flesh and not from the Lord. That is why I am so careful now to only preach what the Lord gives me. I stick to His Word. Check out whoever you are listening to. Make sure what they say aligns with what God says. And if it does – follow.

O Father, I want to hear Your message from Your spokesman. I want to hear the truth of Your Word.

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Bible, Blessing, Gifts, Grace, Scripture

LEFT OUT 

MICAH 2:5 

“‘Therefore, you will have no one applying a measuring line for you by lot in the assembly of the LORD.’” 

Some people think they deserve to be included, no matter who they are or what they have done. Our culture today has people thinking they deserve everything. No one wants to work, but they want all the benefits. Some even think they have the right to take from someone else just because they need it. 

The people to whom Micah is prophesying have turned their backs on the Lord but think they should still be blessed. They will not be part of the remnant which the Lord promises to return to the land. They don’t deserve it. God will not bless the unrepentant. 

APPLICATION 

We don’t deserve grace. It is a true gift from God. In fact, one definition of grace I have heard is “Grace is getting something from God that we don’t deserve.” Have you ever thought about how blessed you are to have God’s grace? I have. In fact, just about every day I think about it. 

Instead of going around thinking about the things you “deserve,” why not concentrate on what you have? When you do that, you are more likely to share with others. You are more grateful. You are better stewards of your possessions. You realize all you have belongs to Him anyway. 

The older I get, the less I want. My wife and I have become more contented. Things just don’t get us all flustered like they used to. We have learned (after all these years) to trust Him. He has proven Himself time and time again. We know Romans 8:28 is true (Look it up). Are you content today? I pray you are. 

I am forever grateful to You, dear Lord. You are so faithful to meet all my needs each day. 

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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Blameless, Devil, Encouragement, Eternity, Evil, Humility, Mockery, Relationships, Satan, Scripture

MOCKING

MICAH 2:4

“‘On that day they will take up against you a song of mocking and utter a song of mourning and say, “We are completely destroyed! He exchanges the share of my people; how He removes it from me! To the apostate He apportions our fields.”’”

Being mocked is not fun, is it? Remember as a child someone repeating every word you said. Little brothers and little sisters were really bad about that. “Leave me alone” and the echo would come back, “Leave me alone.” “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.” Again, “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.”

Today’s verse shows that happening to God’s people by the pagan enemies who would defeat them. They would actually mock their mourning and cries out to God. Defeated and demoralized. Defeated and publicly humiliated. How low could they go. Pretty low it seemed.

APPLICATION

Has this happened to you? Have your enemies mocked you? Probably not, but it could happen. So, what is worse than that? I will tell you. Standing before a holy God and answering not for your sins. If our sins aren’t under the blood, if we are saved by the blood of the Lamb, we will not only be humiliated, but we will also be eternally separated from God.

You cannot get much lower than that. Listen to me, if you are a believer today, Satan will mock you when you are down. He will whisper those accusations against you. Remember that your sins were paid for at Calvary. That does not give you a free reign to sin. Not in the least. But it does give you the answer to Satan’s mocking.

We can literally tell Satan to flee. James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It does not get much better than that. You have the power through the Holy Spirit to put Satan in his place – hell. That is not where you belong and that is not where you are going. You have an eternal home guaranteed for you in heaven. Doesn’t that excite you today?

Father, it does not matter what the devil says. I know I am yours and forever will be.

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Bible, Boasting, Conceit, Exalting, Humility, Scripture, Stubbornness

WALKING RIGHT 

MICAH 2:3 

“Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘Behold, I am planning against this family a catastrophe from which you cannot remove your necks; and you will not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time.’” 

I have to admit something. Sometimes I can get a little haughty or arrogant. I jokingly say most mornings when I get up and look in the mirror, “Well, it happened again last night.” That’s when my wife would ask, “What happened?” I reply, “I got better looking. It’s just the Willis curse.” LOL 

The people of Israel and Judah were walking haughtily. That means to be too big for your britches (according to local Southern colloquialisms). That Hebrew word for “haughtily” only occurs right here in Micah 2:3. It comes from the Hebrew word rum which means high and lifted up. Get the picture? They were walking around with their noses up in the air. Stuck up people. 

APPLICATION 

Have you known people like that? Unfortunately, I have. They are not much fun to be around. They look down their noses at you. I have even known Christians who acted that way. That is no way for a believer to live. We have to be better than that. Remember, God said He would humble the exalted and exalt the humble. Even the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar said this about proud people. “He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37) 

I want to encourage you today to humble yourself before a holy God. Go to Him on bended knee and ask Him to show you the pride in your life. He will gladly point this out because pride (in this sense) is not the kind of character He wants to build in you. 

I said earlier that I can be proud sometimes. When I start to get puffed up, my sweet wife reminds me of who I am in Christ. The Holy Spirit kicks in and reminds me that my place in the kingdom is solely dependent on my Savior, not my abilities and genius. I want to serve as His humble servant. Will you bow with me today? 

God, forgive me when I try to exalt myself. Remind me to sit at the end of the table waiting to be asked to sit in the place of honor. 

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