Sometimes you get what you
deserve. Once when I was a teenager,
there was a particular incident where I got exactly what I deserved. This genius decision of mine put me in a
position where I had to make a decision between two girls—every teenage boy’s
dream. Both were nice; both were pretty;
both were sweet—I was a winner either way!
I thought, “if I’m a winner either way, I’d be a double winner if I
dated both.” It was a dumb decision but
made sense to a teenage boy (this is why I tell girls today, “boys are the
devil!”). So I decided, in my infinite
wisdom of fifteen years, to do just that.
Without going into all the
details, let’s just say it didn’t work out too well. In the end, both girls were exceedingly angry
and I lost them both as friends. Not
only that, other friends of mine who were girls disowned me too. In the end, the punishment of hurting two
people I cared for and the rejection from my friends taught me too well that
sometimes you get what you deserve. This
is called “justice.”
Micah 6:9-16 finds Israel
in a similar position. They had been
unfaithful to the Lord over and over and over and over again. Now, the Lord is giving them what their
actions deserved; He is about to dispense justice.
The Lord is calling to the city— and to fear your name is wisdom—
“Heed the rod and the One
who appointed it.
I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short
ephah, which is accursed?
I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?
rich people are violent; your inhabitants are liars and their tongues speak
I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins.
will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. You will store
up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword.
will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil, you will
crush grapes but not drink the wine.
have observed the statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house; you
have followed their traditions. Therefore
I will give you over to ruin and your people to derision;
you will bear the scorn of
At the opening verse of
this section, the Lord calls them to hear His voice and listen to the one who
created them. As their Creator-Father,
the Lord reminds us of the wisdom of Proverbs
13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one
who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” The Lord
loved His people and therefore must punish them in order to bring about the
righteous life to which He lovingly and intentionally called them.
Just in case they were
tempted to forget it, the Lord lists the sins for which He is punishing them in
verses 10-12. They were dishonest,
unjust, and deceitful. The society of
Micah’s time was violent and full of liars.
In a strictly political sense, any country where the leaders make
promises that go unfulfilled and the will of the people is ignored, the government
is weakened. In Israel and Judah’s case,
this was a government supposedly representing the Lord Himself! What horrible examples they were to the
people and now the Lord must punish them for their unfaithfulness and unrighteousness.
“Therefore,” the Lord states in verse 13,
“I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins.
And it is to this we turn
our attention. When the Lord punishes
His people—and He still does—we are tempted to question His justice and yet if
we evaluate our lives, we would see the charges against us just as clearly as
we see them against Micah’s audience in our text today.
Justice is getting what our
actions merit. We read the accusations
against Israel and we all say, “yep…they deserved it.” What about when we read the accusations
When we are unfaithful, do
we deserve punishment?
When we are cruel, do we
When we are play by the
rules of the world instead of the rules of the Lord, do we deserve punishment?
The answer has to be
“yes.” He loves us and part of this love
is preventing us from staying the way we are.
There’s an old expression: “God loves you just the way you are but He
loves you too much to leave you that way.”
The Lord still longs to
create in us a heart beating like His.
He uses pain sometimes to break our pride. Sometimes, it’s only when we are knocked down
on our backside that we can look up and listen to what He’s telling us.
As unpopular as it is to
say (much less write!): sin has its consequences. When I decided to try to “two-time” these
girls, the consequence of that sin cost me many friendships and my
reputation. Even though both girls
forgave me (eventually), the friendships were never the same. Sin has its consequences.
The half-brother of our Lord
Jesus Christ wrote in James 4:10, “Humble
yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” In a parable, our Lord demonstrated this saying, “But
the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but
beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that
this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those
who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be
exalted” (Luke 18:13–14). Oh dear one in Christ, humble yourself before
Him and let His grace flow over you. In
place of His justice, may you experience His mercy and grace raining down.
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see so clearly
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Grace like rain falls down on me
All my stains are washed away
They’re washed away
“Grace Like Rain”
Chris Collins | Edwin O. Excell
| John Newton | Todd Agnew
© 2003 Ardent/Koala Music
(Admin. by Ardent Music LLC)
For use solely with the
CCLI License # 196315