This past Saturday I published a post that left me uncertain and concerned. I thought I had understood well the verses I was discussing and, although I prayed for God’s guidance, I failed to listen. I have allowed myself to fall into the trap of busyness to the point I had double booked myself on a couple of things.
In my attempt to check things off my list I forgot to listen when God was telling me I needed to dig deeper and understand better. The first time I typed it out on WordPress, the public internet connection had actually cut out and wiped the whole post before it could be saved. I should’ve took that as a sign then, but in my stubbornness I retyped it all and published it…
…Only to dive deeper from a feeling of uneasiness the next day. Upon understanding the text better, I became revolted by Saturday’s post and trashed it. For a woman who has Proverbs 3:5-6 taped above her desk, I should have known better than to publish something that left me uncertain. If the post is from God, I should be at ease — maybe even joyous — to share what the Lord has revealed.
With that being said, I would like to give it another go.
“Then I said, “Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel. Should you not embrace justice, you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from their bones; who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?” Then they will cry out to the Lord, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.” — Micah 3:1-4
When I first read this I immediately assumed the leaders and rulers of Israel were committing cannibalism. So appalled and shocked by the dramatic imagery and the idea that they were doing such a thing kept me from fully grasping the rest of the chapter. Instead, I latched onto it and ran with it, making it the theme of the post I eventually deleted.
A glance at what ‘The Broadman Bible Commentary’ had to say about it helped me realize my mistake:
“It was as thought the very shepherds who have been given care of the flock are themselves devouring the sheep. Micah’s meaning here is clear. The common man in the street – and Micah had become their spokesman – saw the upper, ruling class as beastly butchers. They had as little real feeling for the common man as a butcher had for the animal in the slaughter pen” (p. 202).
Okay, so how did the researchers at Broadman Press come to this conclusion when the first few verses are so appalling? Because of other verses in the chapter, of course:
“This is what the Lord says: “As for the prophets who lead my people astray, they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat, but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them…” …Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, “Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us.” ” — Micah 3:5, 9-11
These greedy rulers sound like Prince John from the tale of Robin Hood, who – in his greed – was apathetic towards the people. Unfortunately for them, they refused to repent and would reap what they had sown:
“Then they will cry out to the Lord, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done…”Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God”…Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” –Micah 3;4, 6-7, 12
Yet, there was hope.
“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.” –Micah 3:8
After revealing “The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will grow dark for them” in verse 6a – meaning their time as spiritual leaders was coming to an end – Micah told the people a couple of verses later he was with the Lord and the Lord with him. He was sent to announce and reveal the sins of Israel. If anyone had heeded his words, they would have had hope.
In the same way we must heed the words God gives us if we wish to have hope. In dark times, He may ask us to be patient until the season passes. In times of pain, He may ask us to trust Him. In times of success, He’ll ask us to stay humble, not to give into the temptation of pride and boastfulness, and to stay loyal to Him. In times of severe loneliness, He’ll remind us He is always with us and ask us to draw closer to Him. In times of uncertainty, do not be stubborn and follow your own way. Instead…
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” –Proverbs 3:5-6
Lord, thank you for helping me write this. Please forgive me for having failed You on Saturday. Please help me lay down my stubbornness where You, Papa, are concerned. Thank You for Your guidance. Thank You for Your wisdom. Most of all, thank You for loving me when You have no reason to. All of this I lift up in Jesus’s Mighty Name, amen.