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Day 136 – Thru the Bible
Today we complete Micah and continue Psalms.
Micah 5 – In His ultimate victory, this King will rule over all as a Shepherd who gathers, tends, and protects His flock in the power and authority of God Himself. We have already seen the nature of this King as Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who came to gather His sheep to Himself (John 10:27), feed them the bread of heaven (John 6:35), and give them living water (John 4:14). He heals their wounds (1 Peter 2:24–25) and protects them by laying down His life for them (John 10:15). They are forever secure, for He will never cast them out, and they cannot be snatched from His hand (John 6:37; 10:28). He is a Savior worthy to be trusted. Bank everything on this Good Shepherd, who is our coming King!
False prophets spoke peace while ignoring the sins of the people. Assyria threatened with overwhelming military brutality. Yet Micah speaks of the peace to come when the Shepherd-King deals decisively with the people’s sins (Ephesians 2:14) by canceling sin’s debt and defeating the only powers that can really harm us in this world (Colossians 2:14–15). The victory against Assyria foreshadows the Shepherd-King’s victory over the greater enemies of sin and death (Romans 5:8–11).
God intends Judah’s exile to be a time of purification from their dependence on worldly power, occult knowledge, and false idols. He will preserve a remnant through this time of purification. Likewise, God intends to purify and sanctify Believers during their time of exile in the world (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:11). Our journey through this fallen world is filled with joys but also with sorrows and pain (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:14). But our hope is sure. Our true home is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). And one day that true home will come to earth and reinstate Eden, without the trials and burdens we currently bear (Revelation 21:1–4).
What are you banking everything on?
Micah 6 – Micah speaks for people in every age, asking what God wants from sinners. Escalating from less costly to more costly sacrifices, the prophet proposes even the unthinkable: human sacrifice. God does require “human sacrifice,” but He did not ultimately force us to pay for our sin with our own sons. What God requires is that we rest in the all-sufficient sacrifice of His own Son. What a scandal of mercy: God did not ask us to give our firstborn for our transgression; rather, He gives us His firstborn! (Romans 4:25).
This text is a frequently quoted summary of godly living, and rightly so. This is the godly life, the beautiful life. To it we are called. Let us strive to embody Micah 6:8 in our lives. And let us do so in a way that gladly acknowledges that we will never “do justice” and “love kindness” and “walk humbly” with God as we should. Only Jesus lived this way perfectly. But the wonder of the gospel is that He did it in our place and transfers His record of perfect righteousness to all those joined to Him by faith. As He indwells His people by His Spirit, they are empowered to do justice and love kindness, walking humbly in His ways (James 1:27).
In a remarkable way, this verse also foreshadows the gospel. It expresses first our obligation to the law (“to do justice”); then it compels us “to love kindness” (i.e., steadfast love or mercy), since none of us can fully keep the requirements of the law; and finally it calls us “to walk humbly with your God,” because we depend upon our relationship with Him to provide the justice and steadfast love required of us.
The following sentences of judgment are rendered for deceitful business practices that take advantage of the poor and weak: desolation, dissatisfaction, hissing, and scorn. These sentences have been placed upon all who have sinned, yet for those who confess and repent, this liberating truth is brought home: Jesus became desolate for us. He experienced the hunger and thirst, and bore the mockery, hissing, and scorn that we rightly deserve, so that we can enjoy God’s abundant blessing and glad welcome.
Meditate on the richness of the Gospel you see here. How does it transform your heart and renew your mind?
Micah 7 – Micah expresses confidence that though the “city” of God’s people (most likely Jerusalem) will fall to her enemies, she will rise again from the rubble. Enemies who taunted and trampled her will themselves be trampled. These promises will ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus, as the city from which His kingdom is established becomes a beacon of hope to the nations despite its past destruction for sin.
To bear the indignation of the Lord is to recognize the weight of the offense of sin toward a holy God, and the cost of atonement for that sin (1 Peter 1:19). Today, if we recognize God’s right to indignation, then we mourn over how our sin offends His holiness. We long to approach Him in genuine contrition, confident that Jesus is our “advocate” pleading our cause before the Father, and that His grace is greater than our sin (1 John 2:1; Romans 5:20). For though Micah expressed confidence that God would plead his cause and execute judgment for him, he could not have seen how radically and truly God would do this—by sending His own Son to have judgment executed upon Him.
Micah prays on behalf of his people, asking God to shepherd them with the loving authority of His staff, to feed them, to work marvelous things among them, and to defeat their enemies as He did when they came out of Egypt. Micah’s prayer was answered when the “great shepherd” (Hebrews 13:20) appeared, spoke with authority (Matthew 7:29), fed His sheep with food that endures (John 6:27), worked miracles among them (John 20:30), and defeated their greatest Enemy (Hebrews 2:14). We look forward to His second coming and triumphant reign, when “the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd” (Revelation 7:17).
Micah offers ultimate hope to a people deserving judgment because of God’s promises of steadfast love and compassion. We now understand that a holy God can pardon and pass over the transgression of those who put their faith in Him only because those sins were put upon Jesus (Romans 3:24–26). God’s wrath against the sin of those who belong to Him was exhausted at the cross. Just as decisively as He dealt with the Egyptian army, so has God dealt with the sins of His people, through Jesus (Romans 8:1–4).
The exultant closing of Micah’s prophecy is the hope-filled confidence of every Believer. Have you grown bored with the gospel? Or do you wonder, as Micah does, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity?” The apostle Peter tells us that these gospel matters, anticipated all through the Old Testament, are “things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:10-12). The gospel explodes our categories for how God must deal with us in light of all our failures. Trust Him. Jesus’ record is yours because your sinful record has been removed by His suffering on the cross. God has “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” This is who God is.
How does this truth lead you to worship the God who is?
Psalm 131 – Some might wonder how the opening of this Psalm of ascent can fit with expressions in other psalms of ascent. Here we read, “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high”, whereas elsewhere we read, “I lift up my eyes to the hills” (121:1), and, “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!” (123:1). But as we consider these statements, we realize there is no conflict. In fact, precisely because the psalmist has his eyes lifted high to the hills, gazing on the One enthroned in the heavens, he is able to understand himself in proper perspective. His gaze toward God is high, but his consideration of himself is measured and modest. He recognizes that there is much he simply cannot understand rightly, so he can be at peace entrusting those things to God. The calm and quiet of his soul is not an expression of resignation and defeat. Rather, he experiences this calm precisely as he expresses all of his hope in the superior greatness and majesty of the Lord.
He longs, then, for the whole of the nation of Israel to experience the joy of this peace and calm, and so He calls them, “from this time forth and forevermore,” to “hope in the Lord.”
How are you hoping in the Lord?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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