In this often-overlooked but excellent chapter of the Bible, the prophet Micah summarized the sad situation of Israel, the impending judgment of God, and the hope of grace and restoration. He pictured himself as a fruit-picker who arrived too late, finding none of the fruit of righteousness among God’s people (v.1). His assessment of his beloved nation was that there were no godly people left (v.2) — everyone was corrupt, neck-deep in sin. Honesty and fairness were forgotten virtues. Sin had not only ruined the political structure and the corporate sector of Israel, but it had also affected the homes of the nation (v.5-6). Families had been ripped apart and their loveless houses were filled with hate. Micah pronounced judgment plainly (v.4): “Your punishment has come.”
With the little word “but” in verse 7 the tone of the chapter changes from gloom to hope: “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah had placed his faith in God, the one who picks us up when we fall down, takes up our case when no one else believes in us, and leads us out of our darkest days into the light (v.8-9). Micah prophesied that Israel would endure punishment for their sins, but it would be a time of purification and restoration as they became disgusted with their sin and found their satisfaction in God’s love.
The last three verses of this book are a joyful description of God’s character (v.18-20). The prophet exclaims, “Who is a God like you?”, inferring that the Lord stands alone as the one who forgives sins and has mercy on those who have offended Him. He “delights in steadfast love” and has compassion on His people. In this description I can hear a call for spiritual drifters to return to the Lord, for backsliders to repent of their sins, and for apathetic believers to run back to the arms of their loving God. Don’t you love the promise in verse 19? When we repent, God throws our sins into the depths of the ocean and, as one children’s song says, “He puts up a NO FISHING sign”! Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Note: Do yourself a favor and listen to “Equally Skilled”, perhaps the only song ever recorded that is based on Micah chapter 7. Jon Foreman, one of my favorite songwriters, paraphrases the chapter and captures the prophet’s message perfectly in a folk style. The song is built on the image in verse 3 about how the people in Micah’s day had become so good at sinning that they could do it equally well with either hand. But God’s hands are equally skilled at administering justice and forgiving repentant sinners. Click here to listen. If the link doesn’t work for you, search YouTube for “Jon Foreman equally skilled”.