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15th May

Micah 5-7; Psalm 130

Bible in a Year
5 minutes
In this article
15th May

Micah 5-7; Psalm 130

Bible in a Year
5 minutes


So far in Micah, we've started the first two rounds of Micah's warnings and hope. Micah was a pre-exilic prophet to both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. He used 'Israel' to refer to the entire nation and then referred to each kingdom by its capital. Jerusalem in the south and Samaria in the north.

He declared judgement and destruction over Israel. God would destroy them and remove their idol worship from the land. He will bring an army to conquer the land. They were guilty of oppressing the poor and selling off their land. They ignored the prophets, preferring to listen to false prophets who told them what they wanted. But then Micah ended that first round with a high. God will gather the remnant of Israel after he's brought judgement on them.

Then Micah started his second round of warnings and hope. He challenged Israel's leaders for suppressing justice and oppressing those they were meant to lead. He called out the false prophets who lid and preached whatever people wanted them to preach. And then Micah brought his second round of hope. There will be a future time where God will establish his holy city in the mountains of Jerusalem. In that time, all nations will come to the city and worship God. There will be peace and flourishing, where each person will have their own little garden of Eden. While they will soon suffer, God will eventually rescue them and bless them.

Micah 5-7

At the end of yesterday’s reading, Micah was focusing on the future hope, likening Israel to a pregnant mother who currently is in pain and agony, but will experience the joys of her pregnancy in the future.

Micah continues with this idea. The people are facing sieges and attacks from their enemies. But there will come one from the town of Bethlehem who will lead the people. Therefore, God will let his people be sieged and attacked, until, like a mother giving birth, this new leader arises and can bring his people back into the children of God.

He shall be like a shepherd and a king to the people of God, and he will be their peace. Through this new leader, God will restore the remnant of his people, who will join him in destroying their enemies.

God then declares that he will remove from Israel the things that people have been putting their trust in; military strength, pagan magic, idols, and foreign gods. By purging his people of these things, he is once again making them holy before him.

This brings us to Micah's third and final round of warnings and hope. God challenges the people, asking them how he has oppressed them to make them behave this way. This answer is obvious. He hasn't. Micah notes that God's primary desire isn't offerings and sacrifices, but it's that his people will pursue good things; justice and kindness, walking humbly with him.

God then points out that he can no longer ignore the wickedness that is happening and Israel. He challenges the wealthy who have been cheating people out of their money with dishonest scales. Rich men who have lied and practised violence so they can amass wealth for themselves. God will punish them, so that when they eat for pleasure, it will no longer satisfy them, and when they sow to increase their wealth, it will produce nothing.

Micah then begins to mourn. There is no one good left. Instead, everyone is wicked and violent. The judges are corrupt, accepting bribes and not administering justice. People can no longer trust their neighbours or friends, and even families are divided. And yet while all this is happening, Micah will wait on God's salvation.

And at that, Micah turns to a song of victory. He declares that even if he is struck down, God will rise him up. He recognises his sin before God, but trusts that God will forgive and redeem him. And in that ultimate day of salvation, Jerusalem will have its wall rebuilt and all the nations will come to it for safety and support. Micah invites God to shepherd his flock, and God responds to him. Just as God led the Israelites out of Egypt, he will continue to do marvellous things for his people. He will punish the wicked nations just as he punished the serpent in the garden of Eden many, many years ago.

As we come to the end, Micah's speech has moved from mourning, to victory, and finally here to praise. He praises God for forgiving sins, for not holding on to his anger, and for delighting in love. He declares that God will have compassion on his people and remove their sin from them. And that he will be faithful to the promise he made Abraham, to make his people a blessing to all nations.

Micah is a condensed version of a lot of the other themes we’ve seen in the pre-exilic prophets. God is punishing the people for their idolatry and the injustice they promote. He will use a foreign nation to come and destroy them. But after that, he will restore a remnant of his people back to the land. He will establish a leader who will be a shepherd to them and lead them, and all nations, into peace and flourishing. That’s the book of Micah.

Psalm 130

This psalm isn’t attributed to anyone in particular and is named as a psalm of ascent. These psalms were sung by worshippers as they ascended to Jerusalem for the three pilgrimage festivals (Passover, Festival of Weeks, and Festival of Tabernacles) or possibly by the Levites as they ascended the steps of the Temple. Psalm 120-134 are all psalms of ascent.

Psalm 130:1-2 - Call to the Lord

Psalm 130:3-4 - The Lord forgives

Psalm 130:5-6 - I will wait on the Lord

Psalm 130:7-8 - Hope in the Lord

In this ascent journey we’ve gone from being far from God's presence (Psalm 120), to seeking God’s presence (Psalm 121), and then to reaching God’s presence (Psalm 122). From there, the psalmist has asked the Lord for help (Psalm 123) and then praised the Lord for his protection (Psalm 124).

From within Jerusalem, they reflected on the nature of righteousness and wickedness (Psalm 125). They thanked God for how he has restored his city, but also ask for more (Psalm 126). This leads the psalmist to reflect on the importance of God being first and foremost in our live (Psalm 127) and fearing God (Psalm 128).

Having focused on God’s authority and power, the psalmist then reflects on how God rescued them and Israel from oppressors (Psalm 129). Now the psalmist calls out to God to rescue them from, and forgive them for, their sin.

The psalmist starts with a call to the Lord to hear their pleas. They recognise that if God were to keep track of everyone’s sin, no one would be able to stand before him. Instead, God forgives his people so they can come before him and worship him.

Therefore, the psalmist will wait on the Lord to redeem them. They also encourage the rest of Israel to trust and hope in the Lord, for he will redeem them from their sins as well.

As the psalmist has got closer to God’s presence in this journey to ascent, they recognise the need to deal with their sin.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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