But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin. — Micah 3:8
During World War II, the prayers of a Spirit-filled woman for her son-in-law, Harry, changed the course of his life. Harry was on a ship in the South Pacific and unsaved. She sent him a letter one June that said, “I know you are going to be here for camp meeting.” When Harry received the letter, he told his fellow sailors, “That mother-in-law of mine is really cracking up. She thinks I’m going to be back in Portland the middle of July.” Harry had been at sea for only eleven months, and others had been there longer.
The next day, Harry’s name was called, and he was told that he was going home. He said, “That evening a little patrol boat seemingly came out of nowhere. I had never seen a patrol boat out there in the middle of the ocean before. It pulled up alongside our ship, and the officer of the deck said to me, ‘There’s your boat.’ I went down the rope ladder — the only man who went to this little boat.”
When Harry inquired of the boat’s coxswain where they were going, the coxswain said he did not know, but they were supposed to meet a big ship out there someplace. About 1:00 a.m., the shadow of a seaplane tender loomed up against the stars. As it slowed down, they bumped alongside. Harry put his hand out, feeling the side of the ship for the ladder. When he felt it, he stepped on and climbed to the rail. The patrol craft pulled into the darkness.
Later, Harry said there really was no reason for him to come home — that it was only through the prayers of his mother-in-law that he reached Portland the second week in July. That camp meeting, he repented, and God saved his soul.
Harry’s mother-in-law never claimed to be a prophetess. She, and others with her, just obeyed God’s Word by praying and then daring to believe. Although much of Micah chapter 3 condemns the leaders of Israel because of their wickedness, Micah said of himself, “I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord.” Why did Micah have that confidence? He was obeying God and declaring “unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” God can use people who are obedient, like Micah and the mother-in-law in this story. Today, we need to challenge ourselves to obey God’s Word, and then let Him work through us.
Micah is a book of stern rebuke in a day of desperate delusion. Continuing the prophesies of judgment begun in the first two chapters, Micah 3 begins by stating simply that judgment was completely alien to Israel and Judah. Their spirit was the opposite of what God had taught them through His law. They hated good and loved evil.
Judah and Israel did not simply oppress foreigners, but they destroyed their own people. God compared the oppression going on in Israel to cannibalism. Comparing their deeds with the worst of abominations showed how repugnant their injustice was to God. How ironic, then, that in the midst of all this, the people still prayed fervently to God. Not only did God say that He would not answer, but He would go out of His way to prevent them from getting any message or insight from Him at all. Micah, by contrast, was “full of power by the spirit of the Lord” (verse 8) because he had remained faithful to God.
As a city founded by God, Jerusalem could not continue unless it turned to God. The people there continued to do the opposite of God’s will, yet the city appeared to prosper. But God, through Micah, revealed the reason for this: the prosperity was a false one, built on oppression and corruption. Nearly everyone was driven by greed, especially those whose motives should have been the purest: the judges, priests, and prophets. All were bought with bribes, while rulers made their wealth and built their bustling cities on the backs of laborers who worked like slaves, were penalized for crimes they did not commit, and were disposed of when they were no longer useful to the wealthy and powerful. All the while, they looked on their ill-gotten prosperity as a sign that God was with them and they were invincible. Because they credited God with the prosperity that came from abomination, He promised to destroy them utterly.
In the fourth chapter, a bright light of hope shines in all this gloom. God revealed to Micah a time far beyond the current time, when His people would be as they should always have been. In the future, Micah saw an Israel that would prosper because she would walk in the name of the Lord, an Israel that would be the example of holiness to the whole world, that would spread peace to the world instead of fear and sin. The prosperity of God is not worldly prosperity, resting in the hands of a few oppressors, but everyone will share in it, “every man under his vine and under his fig tree.” It is this expression of Israel’s godly prosperity that makes the fig tree a recurring symbol of Israel throughout the Bible. Here, God revealed His awesome plan: He would not send Israel into captivity just to punish the people, but to purge them. The unrealized potential of Israel was compared to an unborn baby; in Babylon, God said, Israel would be able to give birth to this baby. The experience of captivity would transform Israel into the nation she was called to be from the very beginning.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The message of promise
A. The future judgment (3:1-12)
1. Of the rulers (3:1-4)
a. Their wickedness (3:1-3)
b. Their judgment (3:4)
2. Of the prophets (3:5-8)
a. Their deception (3:5)
b. Their judgment (3:6-7)
c. Their contrast (3:8)
3. Of the leaders (3:9-12)
a. Their wickedness (3:9-11)
b. Their judgment (3:12)
B. The future kingdom
1. The character of the kingdom (4:1-5)
a. The establishment of the kingdom (4:1)
b. The instruction in the kingdom (4:2)
c. The peace of the kingdom (4:3-5)
2. The restoration of the remnant (4:6-8)
a. The regathering of the remnant and reign of the Lord (4:6-7)
b. The restored dominion of Jerusalem (4:8)
3. The distress of Jerusalem before the kingdom
a. The description of captivity (4:9-10)
b. The description of the siege (4:11)
c. The description of victory (4:12-13)
Will we obey God today? Who knows how God might use us if we do!