Micah 3:1-4 “And I said: Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice?— you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones, who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron. Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time because they have made their deeds evil.”
In Genesis 18:19 God attached the condition of righteousness and justice to His willingness to fulfill His promise. “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” We see here in Micah 3:1-4 that the people of God had utterly failed. Justice is essential to the fulfillment of the promise. Exodus 23:6 “You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit.” Deuteronomy 16:19-20 “You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 27:19 “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ Psalm 33:5 “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.” Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” God desires people who are like Him. Those whose lives are founded on righteousness and justice. There are 131 verses in the Bible on this topic. Does it change in the New Testament? No! Jesus condemns the Pharisees because they do not focus their attention on the weighty matter of justice.
These leaders of the nation were not concerned with justice. It is worth noting that Micah says “You who love evil and hate the good”. He expresses his amazement at the extent of their perversion that they had taken what was good and turned it to evil and traded their values to the extent that evil was now good. They had become a deceived and depraved society. We today are facing a time when the enemy has sown confusion into our society to the extent that people are no longer certain of righteousness.
I have stated this before, but it bears repeating. The foundational issue in our present-day society is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and our absolute inability to acknowledge its presence because we love evil. When man was made aware of the issue of good and evil, he took unto himself a responsibility that he is incapable of coping with. Our society has chosen to escape that responsibility by denying its existence. There is shame placed on anyone who attempts to draw our attention to the issue. The confusion will only increase in the days ahead and the situation will devolve deeper and deeper into an utter inability to discern between right and wrong. This deception is prophesied by Paul in II Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” By the way, this is not primarily talking about the world but is directed at the church. Also, II Timothy 2 speaks of a time when the activity of Satan increases and God Himself sends a strong delusion to those who do not love the truth. I believe that we live in just such a time.
I also believe that when Paul says that we know what is holding back that deception now, he is not speaking about the church being raptured from the earth. Rather, Paul is saying that what holds that deception back now, is the binding of Satan from the deception of the nations. My eschatology points to a time when Satan will be loosed, no longer held back, and will go forth to deceive the nations so that they turn against the people of God, Revelation 20:3. It was not until Jesus was resurrected and Satan was bound that the great commission could be given. Before that time in history, only the Jewish nation had the promises of God. It was a much more amazing commission than most Christians understand when Jesus was able to declare that He has received all authority and He commanded us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”. All nations were bound up under the control of Satan until Jesus set the nations free to receive the gospel. Does that mean that Satan no longer influences nations? No, but his gates cannot stand against us any longer. The gospel has been spreading and the kingdom of God has been growing for centuries. The term “thousand” in scripture when used symbolically always means a long period and is not used to be literal. Jesus has been ruling from His throne since he ascended and is waiting until all enemies are put under His feet. There will be, and possibly now is, a time when Satan will be allowed to go out and once again deceive all nations, but that will only lead to the final return of the Lord to completely place all enemies under His feet.
Going back to our text, the prophet Micah likens their injustice to the horrible act of cannibalism. I am reminded of the many times the prophets speak of shepherds abusing the flock and even choosing the choicest of the flock to devour. They are consuming the very flock that they are called to protect. Shepherds who use the flock for their gain and who cause the flock to live in a place of constant uncertainty. The sheep do not know the pleasant environment described by David in the 23rd Psalm, but rather they must constantly be living on the edge of uncertainty about the ever-present spirit of the wolf.
Next, Micah turns his prophetic sword on the false prophets, “Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God.”
Micah targets those prophets who speak good things to those who pay them and pronounce curses on those who refuse to give them no offerings. I remember several years ago there was a well-known duo of so-called prophets and apostles who came to St. Louis. They arbitrarily chose St. Louis and I suppose felt that their popularity allowed them to come to the city without regard to the God-ordained fathers of the church. They had not met with the pastors and had not even consulted with the recognized leaders of the city. Their conference was not all that they had hoped and the attendance of Christians from St. Louis was not strong. I happened to hear that they were in town and I remember being surprised that they had not given much notice of their intentions. Also, they were at the largest convention center in downtown St. Louis. On the only day that I attended, one of the “prophets” stood up and prophesied that St. Louis would never see a move of God because they had snubbed this man and his “apostolic” friend. This man is still a very popular “prophet” in the church and he still travels with his side-kick “apostle” and still draws a large crowd wherever they go. I am appalled at the continued immaturity of the Body of Christ to accept these men as of any value to the kingdom of God. And yet, so many do accept them, celebrate them, and emulate them. I am constantly being pushed by well-meaning Christians to listen to the garbage on so-called prophetic websites that are full of false prophets spouting words from their spirit in order to gain money or prestige. Why? They celebrate occasional sort of right words and point to them as though they understood so much more than they declared and they never point out the manifold times that they are completely wrong.
Because the motives of their heart are deception and because Jesus loves and is building His church in such a way that the gates of Hell cannot withstand, very soon judgment is coming to the house of God in America and it will begin in the church and the leaders and prophets will be the primary target of His discipline. These false ministries will be exposed; their inspiration will cease and their mouths will be shut. I had a vision several years ago where I saw a gigantic bonfire. It filled the entire scope of my vision and I heard weeping and even screaming of sorrow. I asked the Lord what was this vision about and He directed me to I Corinthians 3:12-15 (The Passion Translation) “The quality of materials used by anyone building on this foundation will soon be made apparent, whether it has been built with gold, silver, and costly stones, or wood, hay, and straw. Their work will soon become evident, for the Day will make it clear because it will be revealed by blazing fire! And the fire will test and prove the workmanship of each builder. If his work stands the test of fire, he will be rewarded. If his work is consumed by the fire, he will suffer great loss. Yet he will barely escape destruction like one being rescued out of a burning house.” So many are in for such a rude awakening. One of my prayers these days is, that the Lord will love us enough and be jealous enough for the church that He will begin removing lampstands. Surely the churches in Revelation were no worse than our present situation. The church has become so secular. Our motives are so similar to secular consumerism and the institution of the church in America is so fashioned after the corporate-driven agenda. We have no voice because our voice has no distinction. Lord, please have mercy and help us!!!
So, what does His coming in discipline look like? Micah 3:8 “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 and to Israel his sin.” The Lord always raises a courageous ministry that will distinguish itself from the crowd and will have the energy to stand firm in the face of the crashing waves of opposition. Joshua 24:15, “…Choose this day whom you will serve”. “… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I Kings 18:36-39 “And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that these people may know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” I believe that the Lord will soon raise a challenging voice and the test of truth will be fire. Not the fake but the real fire of God that consumes even the altar of sacrifice. Micah found his voice in the time of God’s visitation. “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 and to Israel his sin.” Filled with power, the Spirit, with justice and might!!!
Micah 3:9-12 “Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who detest justice and make crooked all that is straight, who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity. Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.” Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.” What will the fire from heaven look like? Zion will be plowed like a field and the city of God will be a heap of ruins. Is that the end of the story? No!!! I believe the church in America will soon experience a time of destruction. The enemies will seem to prevail and will dance on the grave of the institution of the church, but that is not the end of the story. It’s difficult to declare so much judgment. The prophets repeated over and over the coming judgment on the people of God. I know we feel that we are a more special people than Israel and the Old Testament experience, but we are just like our predecessors. We have the same failings and the same sense of superiority and the same declaration of exclusion as we claim that God holds us unreprovable, but I believe we face the same consequences if we do not repent and you cannot truly repent without your eyes being opened and your ears being able to hear. Unfortunately, the Bible does speak to that strong delusion because we lack a true love for the truth, a passion for truth that is willing to receive His discipline. But that’s not how it ultimately ends. He is building His church and the gates of Hell will not prevail. As we look at the next chapters of Micah, we see one of the few prophetic words that penetrate the heart of Jerusalem and bring true repentance. Micah is an exception to the history of the failure of Jewish prophets to effect change in the heart of the nation. It gets better!!!