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Monday, July 22, 2013

Micah: Justice (Part 6)

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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 my people and the flesh 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

After reading through the book of Micah, I got the feeling that Micah had a very strong sense of justice. He is still defending Judah because he thinks it's not their fault. Micah says that they have been lead astray by their leaders and God agrees with him.

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. 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."
Micah 3:5-7

I can relate to Micah because I also have a strong sense of justice. God has a strong sense of justice too, but he loves us more than he loves justice. That is why he sets aside being fair and gives us something better that justice. He gives us mercy.
God has given the false prophets a chance for mercy, but he does have to have a sacrifice for sin, whether that's a lamb (old testament) or Jesus' death or, if you don't except these, you are the sacrifice. If you don't accept the savior, you must burn up in hell.
Here, God is thinking of ending the age of the prophets. Prophets were suppose to be God's way to communicate to his people, but even they were becoming corrupted and their corruptness was rubbing off on the Israelite. God knew he had to stop this, but first God gave a chance for repentance through Micah because Micah was one of the few people who still had faith in God.

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

Micah is a righteous prophet. Even though people are against him, he stands strong because he longs to please God.
The false prophets are telling the people exactly what they want to hear. No one wants to believe that Micah is right. They don't want judgement, so they believe the false prophets and continue with their lives as if nothing's wrong.
The same is true of today. Their are false pastors and teachers who tell people what they want to hear and they usually have a huge audience because who doesn't want to be told what they want to hear? Everyone wants to be told that God is fine with their sin.
But then there are the pastor and teachers like Micah who tell you what God wants you to hear. They tell you what the bible says, not what the world says. Those are the people you should listen to.

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." 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 3:9-12

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Daily Reminders #21

They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"
Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:33-36

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Micah: In Denial (Part 5)

The Prophet Micah
"Do not prophesy," their prophets say. "Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us."
Micah 2:6

These are the false prophets of Judah, and they are in denial. They don't want to believe that they were sinning or that disaster would befall them. They want to live in the moment, ignoring the consequences of their sin, ignoring that it is sin, but Micah was called to change that.

Should it be said, O house of Jacob: "Is the Spirit of the Lord angry? Does he do such things?" "Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright?
Micah 2:7

Micah now poses this question: can God be angry?
The answer is absolutely! God has a righteous anger. Anger becomes sinful when it turns into a grudge or causes you to do anything else sinful.

Lately my people have risen up like an enemy. You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without a care, like men returning from battle. You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever.
Micah 2:8-9

Most of the prophets are not accepted by their people. (The only exception that comes to mind is Jonah.) There's even a parable that says this!
Micah his says people are acting like an enemy towards everyone, which probably includes himself.

Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy. 
If a liar and deceiver comes and says, 'I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' that would be just the prophet for this people!
Micah 2:10-11

We live in a time of opposition. Mathew 7:15 say"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." There are false Christians that wish to destroy the true ones.
In the time of Micah, there were no Christians, but there were prophets to lead the people. There are also false prophets that pretend to be true ones.

"I will surely gather all of you, Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their King will pass through before them, the LORD at their head."
Micah 2:12-13

I think this is talking about Jesus. Jesus will break open the way and go before us.
Micah promises that Jesus is coming, that he will redeem us. He'll lead the way.

The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their King will pass through before them, the LORD at their head.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Micah: The Deliberate Sinner (Part 4)

Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning's light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.
They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance.
Micah 2:1-2

There's sin, and that's bad, but what's even worse is when someone plans their sin. Micah isn't the only bible verse that says this.

I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes. In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good. Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong.
Psalm 36:1-4

" 'But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the LORD and must be cut off from the people of Israel.
Number 15:30

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Hebrews 10:26-27

Deliberate sin is wrong, the old and new testament both agree on that.

Therefore, the LORD says: "I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity.
Micah 2:3

Micah is very straightforward. He tells us "Don't do this because God will do this." If you deliberately sin, God will plan disaster for you. This might be dooming you to hell, or there might be disasters on earth.

In that day people will ridicule you; they will taunt you with this mournful song: 'We are utterly ruined; my people's possession is divided up. He takes it from me! He assigns our fields to traitors.' "
Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the LORD to divide the land by lot.
Micah 2:4-5

If you plan sin, you will be punished. God does punish sin. It's not always immediate, but it does happen.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Micah: Powerful Prayer (Part 3)

Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. For Samaria's plague is incurable; it has spread to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself. Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah roll in the dust.
Micah 1:8-10

In the previous post, Micah prophesied about Samaria being destroyed. Micah is distressed because Samaria started sinning by worshiping Baal and sacrificing their children to their idols, but it spread like a plague to Judah. Micah weeps before God and God answers his prayers.

So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the commands of the LORD their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced.
2 Kings 17:18-19

2 Kings 17 describes the attack of the Assyrians and the sins of Israel. It is the devastation Micah prophesies about, but God heard Micah's mourning. God spared Judah, even though they were infected with sin, God heard.

Pass by naked and in shame, you who live in Shaphir. Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; it no longer protects you. Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem. You who live in Lachish, harness fast horses to the chariot. You are where the sin of Daughter Zion began, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you. Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath. The town of Akzib will prove deceptive to the kings of Israel. I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah. The nobles of Israel will flee to Adullam. Shave your head in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourself as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile.
Micah 1:11-16

Seeing his own people suffer was painful, so he wept, he prayed. God didn't destroy Judah because of prayer.
This is why we must pray. God doesn't have to answer us with a yes, but you're prayer can never be answered if it's never asked.

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Next (Coming 7/14/13)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Micah: Judgement is Coming (Part 2)

Hear, 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. Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth. The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope.
Micah 1:2-4

Verse 2 of Micah is an important, commonly overlook verse

Hear, you peoples, all of you, listen, earth and all who live in it,

This tells us that he is speaking to everyone of that time period.

that the Sovereign LORD may bear witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.

This tells us the purpose of his letter, to warn to whole world that God is going to bear witness against us. Micah might be referring to the later mentioned case God makes against Israel.
Or perhaps, he's saying that sometimes, it may seem like bad people are successful. Sometimes, evil people do well, but Micah is warning the world that in the end, God will punish those who don't give their life to Christ. (Or, in that time, have faith in God and have it credited to you as righteousness).

All 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? "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 foundations. All 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."
Micah 1:5-7

Micah might be talking about when the Assyrians invaded Samaria. (2 Kings 17)
Micah's first prophecy is about God punishing sin and that is true today. God punishes sin.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Micah: Introduction (Part 1)

The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Micah 1:1

Micah is one of my favorite books because to me, it shows the power of God. The book of Jeremiah even quotes Micah:

Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, "Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: " 'Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.' "Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the LORD and seek his favor? And did not the LORD relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!"
Jeremiah 26:17-19

There is also a Casting Crowns song that has lyrics based on Micah. In their song "Courageous," there is one line towards the end that says "Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God."

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

The first thing Micah writes down (after his opening) is about when the Lord comes. Micah holds on to the hope that Jesus will come, and we hold on to the hope that Jesus is coming back. God has not abandoned us, He will return.

Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.
Micah 1:3

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Daily Reminders #20

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
Proverbs 3:25

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Luke 2:10

I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people."
Ezekiel 3:9

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Has the Fig Tree Ripened?

Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.
Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Mathew 21:18-22

We have to remain faithful to Jesus, that is the only way we can bear fruit.

One important thing to remember is that mountain moving faith is simply believing that nothing is impossible with God and nothing will alter God's perfect plan.

"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Mathew 24:32-35

To understand what's being said here Mathew 24, we have to look at the whole chapter.

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many.
Mathew 24:1-5

Here are the signs Jesus gives of the end age:

1. There will be false Messiahs

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Mathew 24:6-8

2. There will be wars
3. There will be Natural disasters

But Jesus says we should be calm during these disasters and wars.

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
Mathew 24:9-11

4. Christians will be persecuted
5. Many will turn away from God
6. There will be false prophets

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the wilderness,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. "Immediately after the distress of those days " 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' "Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Mathew 24:21-31

7. The tribulation will be "unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again."
8. The return of Christ will be seen all across the world

"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Mathew 24:32-35

Knowing the context of this verse, I we can conclude that we need to be watchful as we await the return of the king.

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
Psalm 27:3

But we also must be calm. Christians should be the calmest people in disasters.

Be faithful, fruitful, and watchful. Jesus is coming. He may be coming tomorrow or one hundred years from now, but Jesus is coming and we need to make the most of every moment.

My Pastor

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