I started reading Micah recently. I have read it before, but in a fresh read through I have been struck by a particular turn in the second chapter. Micah was a prophet who had a hard message to bring to Israel. The Northern Kingdom had already fallen to the Assyrian Empire because of their idolatrous behaviors and now Micah receives word from the Lord that the Southern Kingdom is going to also be destroyed because of the trickle of idolatry that was infiltrating their people as well. In the words of Micah as received by the LORD, “I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves (Micah 2:3).”
Receving this message disheartens the people. They don’t only not accept the words from the prophet and try to silence him, but they don’t belive these words could come from God. “Is the Spirit of the LORD angry? Does he do such things (Micah 2:7)?” They didn’t see God as angry with their behavior and couldn’t believe that God could possibly wish disaster on them, His chosen people. No one wants to believe that their God could be against them. He’s always loving them and looking out for them, how could He possibly destroy them in anger?!?
The prophet Micah has some stern words for these blind optimists. “If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophecy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ he would be just the prophet for this people (Micah 2:11)!” So full of their own self-importance and false confidence, the people of Israel have become blind to God’s concerns and are lost in their own pleasures. All they want is the good news of what God can give them. It’s honestly a sad picture. These people are so lost, it fills me with pity and sorrow that they could so completely miss what God is doing and who He is and mournful that destruction is their lot because of their willful ignorance.
Where the message takes a turn for the awesome is in the very next paragraph.Micah, again speaking for God says this:
“I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring togethr 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. 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).”
Even though destruction and judgment is coming (no matter what the people believe), God’s heart is still for His sheep. Not only that, but He promises a return and that One will break the way open and lead them out. In the midst of a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the judgment of the people for their arrogance and transgression against God He promises their deliverance and that they will be lead out of their suffering. In Jesus we see an incredible picture of our King who doesn’t just rule over us or even leave us in our slavery to our own passions, but a King who enters into our lives and leads out of the pen and forward. Leading the way, Jesus shows us the way and walks with us through that gate. That’s a King I can follow.