I was a kid, I remember doing something that would elecit these words from the
booming voice of my dad, “Son, don’t make me come in there!” That was code for: “whatever you just did,
you had better get it repaired/cleaned/covered/and back-to-normal BEFORE I have
to tell you to do so.” Did I always heed
this code? Well…not as often as I should
2Hear, you peoples, all of you, listen, earth and all who
live in it, that the Sovereign Lord may bear witness against you, the Lord from
his holy temple.
3Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling place; he comes
down and treads on the heights of the earth.
4The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope.
5All this is because of Jacob’s transgression, because of the
sins of the people of Israel. What is Jacob’s transgression? Is it not Samaria?
What is Judah’s high place? Is it not Jerusalem?
6“Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for
planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her
7All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts
will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her
gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will
again be used.”
Lord is bringing a lawsuit against His people.
All the earth is called to witness the proceedings. When the Lord “comes down” from His holy temple,
it’s not a good day for those standing against Him . And it was going to be a bad day in Israel
(verses 2-3). Why was the Lord having to
come down? The sin of the people—His
people. As the mountain melt like wax
beneath the searing heat of His purity and righteousness (verse 4), the stage
is set for the testimony of the Almighty Judge, Prosecutor, Jury, and
Executioner. The punishment of His
people would serve as a testimony to the world not only of the power of the
Lord but His intolerance of sin.
not as if the Lord had been unclear. He
told His people, through Moses and the Law, what He expected of them. The Lord gave them the path of blessing and
the path leading to cursing. The people
had chosen the path leading to cursing.
If the Lord were unwilling to punish His people for their disobedience,
He would have been a liar. His threats
of punishments would have been like a parent continuously telling their child
“don’t do that!” but doing nothing to curve the behavior. Empty threats do not change behavior. With that, the Lord Himself would bring about
the punishment for their disobedience (verse 3).
had these two parts of the nation been disobedient? Judging from the language of verse five (and
subsequent statements later in Micah), the Lord’s people were mixing pagan
rituals into the worship of Almighty God.
They were paying Him “lip service” instead of the heart’s service He
prophetic judgment is made against Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom
of Israel. In verses six and seven,
their future is proclaimed. Instead of a
great city, there will be a “heap of
rubble”. When the Lord declares He will “lay bare her foundations”, He makes a play on words with the
uncovering of nakedness. Considering the
Lord’s people were considered His wife, Israel was accused of adultery. Worse than that, the Lord declares her guilty
of prostitution (verse 7)!
had rotted them from the inside out and only the purification by the Lord would
cure them and purify His people of this sin.
The first commandment codified for them in Exodus 20:3 was “You shall have no other gods before me.” Following on its heals is the second
commandment, “You shall not
make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the
earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4).
Verse seven sadly reveals the people of the Northern Kingdom had
violated these commandments designed to keep their eyes and hearts focused on
Lord’s punishment for their “wages of
prostitution” (verse 7) will fit their crime:
it “will again be used”. Indeed it was used again. When the Assyrians defeated the Northern
Kingdom, the wealth in Israel’s treasury was placed in the Assyrian temples
where it again was used for the worship of idols and images.
this: the Lord loves His children but even today (on this side of the cross),
He will not tolerate rampant disobedience with us. We are still called to be holy. We are still called to a city on a hill. We are still called to “have no other gods before him”. Dear reader, Micah assures us: you do not
want to make the Lord come down here after you!