We come to the final chapter, and final post on my comments and reflections on the book of the prophet Micah.
Micah 7 begins with a brief lament by Micah as he seeks righteous people in Israel but, like a fruit-picker arriving after the harvest, finds little joy (verse 1). Instead he finds people who are violent, seek opportunities to undertake violence, and do it well (2-3). He finds rulers and judges who are corrupt and can be bought with the bribe. The one offering the bribe is described as a ‘great man’1 who speaks what he desires rather than the truth and the corrupt officials make it happen (3-4). But it gets worse! Verses 5 and 6 speak of neighbours, friends, family and household members being or becoming enemies because they treat each other with disdain, contempt and mistrust. It’s an ugly picture all around.
But in verse 7 Micah expresses hope for the one thing he believes can redeem all of this - the Lord. ‘But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.' NASB®2
He watches and waits expectantly for the Lord. The Hebrew word translated here as watch is the word tsaphah which is the idea of leaning forward to peer into the distance - to observe, to keep watch. And the Hebrew word translated as wait is the word yachal which is to wait patiently, not to take matters into ones own hands, but tarry3 and trust.
Verse 8 continues, ‘Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.' It’s an image of current vulnerability and weakness, but of coming redemption and vindication. Micah has fallen and is in darkness, but he will rise and have light. His choice of words in interesting. He doesn’t indicate the Lord will bring light or take him into the light, but that the Lord is a light (other translations put this in the future tense that the Lord will be or shall be a light). It’s an idea we see in the early part of John’s gospel (John 1:4) where John says of Jesus, ‘In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.' Light or the character or nature or impact of light is inherent within the nature of God. He is light, He brings light, He imparts light, He leaves light.
Verses 9 through 13 take this vindication Micah speaks of and extends it to Israel. Though Israel has been judged and exiled the day will come when the people will return, walls will be rebuilt, boundaries will be extended (verse 11). Verse 12 indicates exiles will return from Assyria (where the Israelites were exiled around 722BC) and the Euphrates River (where Judah was exiled around 587/586BC). The rebuilding of the walls spoken of certainly happened under Nehemiah, but the text, to me, reads more like a complete restoration when Jesus returns.
The final verses from 14 to the end are a declaration of forgiveness to Israel. Verse 18, ‘Who is a God like You’ is a play on Micah’s name which means who is like the Lord or who like God?.
These final verses proclaim the Lord’s compassion and willingness to forgive, and His capacity and desire to see spiritual truth imparted and enacted in the lives of believers. Amen - may it be so.