By Robert Olsen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Micah 7:1–10, 18–20
Reality Defined (1–6)
Micah had been preaching repentance, yet it seemed to have no impact. He likened himself to one who goes to eat food of the harvest only to find the fruit is no good. Despite his warnings and chastisement, the people’s behavior did not change. Instead, those in power in Israel seemed to grow even more despicable. Government officials took bribes instead of being concerned for justice. Even family members turned on one another, dividing households.
Today we can tell people about Jesus and try to persuade them to repent and turn to the Savior, but it often seems to fall on deaf ears. One look at our society shows our circumstances aren’t very different from Micah’s day. All we can do is ask God to change the hearts of people and to help us remain faithful. We can ask Him to help us represent Him well, living out our Christian worldview and showing people who He is and what He is like. Maybe the people of our country will repent, unlike Micah’s audience.
Salvation Discovered (7–10)
At this point in the chapter, Micah turned his attention from his circumstances to God, asserting he would wait for God regarding Israel.
This is a valuable lesson. When we look at our circumstances, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Ungodly things are all around us: Crime rates are up; the media seems to silence the righteous; and the government often seems to care more about virtue signaling than for the governed.
How do we respond? We look to God. First, God is the only One that can change hearts. For a person to see their depravity and need for a Savior, the Holy Spirit must convict them. It is our duty to pray that others’ hearts will be softened as we plead with God to change them.
Second, we can have hope because God is in control. No matter our environment, God knows what we are going through. We also know that in the end, we will stand before a Holy God clothed in the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
Nonbelievers will stand before a Holy God clothed only in their own righteousness, which appears as filthy rags. They will stand condemned and face an eternity apart from God. Therefore, we pray God changes hearts, while also knowing He will bring about justice. It is not in our hands.
This is a great relief as we can rest in God instead of striving to force others to change. This does not mean we do not fight for biblical justice, caring for the poor, the down and out, etc., but the change we desire is not up to us, it is up to God.
Forgiveness Celebrated (18–20)
The Book of Micah ends with praise to God for His character — He is forgiving, compassionate, faithful and loving. These characteristics are a wonderful way to see the book end. Despite the impiety and wretchedness of the Israelites, there is hope in God. The reader receives abiding hope and joy in seeing God’s character.
As we turn our eyes to God and away from our circumstances, we look clearly at ourselves and God’s relation to us. Despite our sinfulness, God is quick to forgive. He doesn’t hold grudges. He does not hold our sin against us when we repent.
The best expression of this is found in Christ. As Paul says in Romans 5:8, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This shows God loves sinners who don’t love Him and gives us hope that God can change the hearts of men. We need to be faithful representatives of God, loving our neighbors as ourselves, presenting the gospel to others, and showing them the love of Christ in everyday interactions.