The Word Made Fresh
1I am undone! I have become like someone who finds nothing to eat after the summer fruit is gathered
and after the crops have been harvested.
I hunger for the early figs, but there are none.
2There is no longer anyone in the land who is faithful.
There is no one left who is righteous.
Everyone is lying in wait to shed blood,
and they hunt one another with nets.
3They are well versed in evildoing.
Officials and judges take bribes,
and the rich and powerful dictate whatever they want.
They pervert justice for their own wishes.
4The best of them is like a thorn.
The most lawful among them is like a briar patch.
The day of punishment has arrived for your sentinels,
and their time of confusion has begun.
5It is best not to trust a friend,
nor have any confidence in a loved one.
Guard what you say to she who embraces you.
6Sons treat their fathers with contempt,
and daughters are against their mothers.
Daughters-in-law oppose their mothers-in-law.
Your worst enemies are members of your own household.
7But I will look to the LORD.
I will wait for the God of my salvation to hear me and act.
8You who are my enemies, don’t celebrate over me –
we may fall, but we’ll get up.
We may sit in darkness, but the LORD will be our light.
9I know that we must bear the LORD’s anger, for we have sinned.
But God will take our side and judge in our favor.
We will be brought into the light,
and we will see how God will rescue us.
10And our enemies will see it, too.
They will be ashamed because they taunted us saying,
“Where is the LORD your God?”
But we will see their defeat.
They will be trodden into the mud in the streets.
11People of Jerusalem, listen!
The time is coming for your walls to be rebuilt
and land added to your territory.
12Then people will return to you
from Assyria and from the cities of Egypt.
They will come from the countries that lie
between Egypt and the Euphrates River.
They will return from the nations between the seas.
They will come home from the countries in the mountains.
13But the rest of the earth will be deserted
because the people there have been wicked.
14LORD, be the shepherd of your people,
and take good care of your flock.
They live alone now in the safety of a forest.
But rich lands of grass are all about them.
Let them eat the grass in Bashan and Gilead
as they did in days gone by.
15The LORD says to them, “I showed you my power
when you escaped Egypt long ago,
and I will show it to you again.”
16When the other nations see these things happen,
they will be ashamed, for all their power will be taken from them.
They will be so surprised they will be unable to speak.
17They will have to eat dust like snakes.
They will be like the animals that crawl on the ground.
They’ll come trembling with fear from their hiding places.
And they will respect the LORD and the people who belong to God.
18LORD, is there another God like you?
When your people sin, you forgive them.
Your anger doesn’t last forever,
but you enjoy demonstrating your faithful love for them.
19And once again you will show your loving concern for us.
You will completely erase the sinful things we have done.
You will throw all our misdeeds to the bottom of the sea.
20You will be faithful to the people of Jacob,
and demonstrate your abiding love to Abraham’s offspring.
You will do everything you promised us,
even though that promise was made long ago.
1-3: The primary charge is against those in charge — officials, judges, and the powerful. They are all corrupt, and God will deal with them.
4-6: What’s more, and what’s worse, is that the corruption of the rich and powerful has corrupted everyone else, to the point that deceit and treachery can be expected from even one’s friends and family.
7-10: The prophet turns to the LORD for vindication, knowing that he too has sinned, but willing to bear “the indignation of the LORD,” and certain that God will ultimately vindicate him.
11-17: The prophets never can seem to let doom be the last word, can they? Micah sees a day of restoration for Israel and even an expansion of their territory. He asks God to shepherd them to greener pastures, certain that the nations that have been Israel’s bane will see in Israel’s restoration evidence that the God of Israel rules supreme over the earth.
18-20: The prophecy of Micah ends with a statement of faith that God will forgive and restore. It is a remarkable thing that God’s prophets, living as they did in the darkest days of their people, saw even in their suffering evidence of God’s sovereignty and God’s love. We should be so hopeful in our darkest days.
However disobedient we have been, however far we may have fallen, however selfish our behavior, God can and will restore us if we are willing to repent, admit our shortcomings, and rededicate ourselves to God’s will in our lives.