Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. — Micah 7:18
President Calvin Coolidge was in a hotel room one night when he awoke to discover that a burglar was pilfering the pockets of his clothing. President Coolidge requested that the thief leave his watch chain, because it had an engraved charm that he especially cherished. Then the President began talking quietly with the burglar and found out that the young man was a student who had no money for his hotel or a ticket back to college. After persuading the student to give back his wallet, the President gave him $32, telling the young man that it was a loan. He suggested that the student leave quietly, in the same way that he had come in, so the Secret Service would not discover him. The young man did so, and eventually paid back the loan. Calvin Coolidge chose to show mercy because he hoped to change the direction a young man was headed, and evidently he succeeded in his purpose.
Today’s focus verse says that God delights in mercy! He does not delight in the actions which cause the need for mercy any more than President Coolidge delighted in a young man becoming a thief. However, God delights in extending mercy to the repentant heart, and in changing people’s sinful ways.
God also delights in showing mercy to His children day by day. This may be evidenced in many ways, such as protection, shortening of a trial, or preventing a disaster. If we stop and think for a few moments, we will find that God has been merciful to us more times than we can count.
If we are Christians, God showed mercy in extending our lives until we prayed, in drawing us to Himself, and then in forgiving us. Perhaps we can look back to a time when God was merciful and healed us, delivering us from intense pain or extending our lives. We may hear of highway accidents and realize that under normal circumstances we would have been at that exact place at that time. Yet, God in mercy allowed us to be delayed that day.
How amazing that God delights in showing the human family mercy! He delights in showing mercy to those who walk with Him. Why not encourage yourself by considering the ways God has been merciful to you recently?
Micah observed the evil that abounded in the society around him. The rulers wanted gifts, the judges took bribes, and no one seemed to be honest. It seemed that every trace of righteousness was gone, like when there was no fruit or grapes to glean in an orchard or vineyard (verse 1). The people of Micah’s time understood farming, so they knew what he was referring to. Even friends and family could not be trusted and were at odds with each other (verses 5-6).
The result of this departure from God would be the judgment that Israel’s prophets (watchmen) had predicted. The visitation mentioned in verse 4 referred to the time when God would come to punish the people for the wrongs they had done.
Micah and those who were godly maintained their confidence in God, in spite of those around them who were unfaithful. Micah knew that if they waited upon God and looked to Him, He would hear and bring them through the difficult times. Even when discipline was necessary for the nation, God would bring through those who trusted Him, and their enemies eventually would be punished.
In verses 11 and 12, Micah looked ahead to the time when Israel would be restored, but in verse 13 he referred back to the current situation. He knew Israel would have to be cleansed of its sin before the nation could be a blessing to those about them.
Micah prayed for the people in verse 14. He wanted God to protect and provide for them. God promised He would work for them and defeat their enemies until Israel’s foes surrendered unconditionally and were fearful of God.
Although this chapter began with Micah painting a dismal picture of the spiritual condition of the Children of Israel, by the chapter’s end, he was reflecting on the goodness and mercy of God which had been extended to Jacob and Abraham in “days of old.” Micah convincingly extolled the benevolence of God, who was willing to pardon the people’s transgressions if they would turn from wickedness and ask for forgiveness.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The message of forgiveness
B. The message of Micah (7:1-20)
1. The corruptness of Israel (7:1-6)
a. The prophet’s lament (7:1)
b. The people’s treachery (7:2-5)
c. The people’s untrustfulness (7:6)
2. The future for Israel (7:7-17)
a. Salvation (7:7)
b. Illumination (7:8-9)
c. Expansion of borders (7:10-13)
d. Exaltation (7:14-17)
3. The character of Jehovah (7:18-20)
a. His pardon and love (7:18)
b. His compassion and forgiveness (7:19)
c. His faithfulness (7:20)
Let us be thankful for the goodness and mercy God has extended to us, and pray for those who have not yet taken advantage of the mercy that is still available today.