Micah Chapter 7: The Great Time of Trouble

Dec 19th, 2009 | By | Category: Micah, Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Micah Chapter 7: The Great Time of Trouble

Micah 7:1 Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.

The RSV reads, “Woe is me! For I have become as when the summer fruit has been gathered, as when the vintage has been gleaned: there is no cluster to eat, no first-ripe fig which my soul desires.” God likened Himself to when the summer fruit has been gathered, and there is nothing to eat. A pathetic situation was being described here—nothing of value was left. The crop had been thoroughly harvested and nothing remained. A lot of labor was expended for virtually no gain—just an isolated unripe grape here and there. The allusion was to the fact that the tithe was not being given according to the Law.

Micah 7:2 The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.

For the beginning of verse 2, the RSV has, “The godly man has perished from the earth.” The grapes (verse 1) were like the godly man in that there was no cluster of either. Only an individual here and there remained upright, Micah being one and also Isaiah, a contemporary prophet. After all that the Lord had done for Israel, there was no community of faithful believers. When Jesus healed the ten lepers, the situation was similar—only one came back!

There is very little appreciation of God in times of crisis, and that is what we are approaching today. Notice that “each hunts his brother with a net,” trying to ensnare and take advantage of his fellow man instead of loving his neighbor as himself (compare RSV).

Micah 7:3 That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.

The RSV reads, “Their hands are upon what is evil, to do it diligently; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together.” The people were actively searching for evil to do. Entire employment centered around evil. Stated another way, the inhabitants were engaged in full-time service in evil.

Micah 7:4 The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.

Imagine even the very best of them being like a “brier,” that is, sharp and dangerous! “The day of thy watchmen and thy visitation [punishment—RSV]” was the day of judgment. The prophets were the “watchmen” of the day of trouble. This thought is based on the fact that fortified cities in the past had walls upon which watchmen took turns day and night to look for approaching trouble, enemies, etc. That way the city could always be warned of impending trouble. Similarly, the Lord had some prophets arise late and early to watch over His people, Israel. Warnings were continually given of a coming day of judgment if the people did not repent and change their evil ways. Here Micah said that the day of judgment had come, that the experience was upon them.

In the antitype, Christendom will be in this situation, especially after the Harvest when “summer is ended” and the “salt of the earth” has been taken away (Jer. 8:20; Matt. 5:13). For the most part, no righteous man will remain (except the Great Company, who will not have a stabilizing effect on society).

Micah 7:5 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.

Micah 7:6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

For verses 5 and 6, the RSV has, “Put no trust in a neighbor, have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.” These verses remind us of what Jesus said the Lord’s people should expect in the Gospel Age, especially during the Inquisition period of the past and again at the end of the age. At that time, we may even be betrayed by our own children. Remember, Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword (Matt. 10:34). In the end time, husband may rise against wife, daughter against mother, etc. During the Inquisition, it was not uncommon for a person to betray a member of his own family.

Verses 5 and 6 indicate that on the one hand, discretion may have to be exercised at the end of the age in regard to certain truths being uttered among one’s own family. On the other hand, some will use this line of reasoning in order to be prudent and remain silent, and thus will miss the opportunity to speak out at the right time. It is difficult to know what to do when the pressure is on and the chips are down. Near the end of Jesus’ ministry, he realized it was time for him to die according to Daniel’s prophecy. Prior to that time, he was prudent, using discretion and withdrawing himself, but when he saw it was the end of his earthly ministry, he threw caution to the wind and spoke out strongly, bringing about his apprehension. He went to Jerusalem, knowing what the result would be.

Verse 5 advises not to speak in one’s own house. In regard to the persecution at the end of the age, it will be wiser to speak out and be persecuted for righteousness’ sake than to refrain from speaking out and have persecution forced upon us later, after the Little Flock is gone. In other words, it will be better to die in defense of the truth than through some dumb, foolish mistake because of unwisdom. A life should not be needlessly frittered away when the truth could be defended on a more auspicious occasion.

Micah 7:7 Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

Verse 7 will be good advice for those left behind after the Church goes beyond the veil. It reminds us of the text “Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger” (Zeph. 2:3). The worldly element should use discretion because they are not consecrated to the Lord. It will be prudent for those who are righteously inclined but not of the spiritual class (1) to hide themselves, (2) to seek meekness and righteousness, and (3) not to get involved in wrathful, vociferous disputes and violence.

Therefore, verse 7 is advice  not to the Christian but to the unconsecrated remaining behind in the Time of Trouble. With the Church, the advice will be the opposite. When religious issues are in the forefront, the Christian will have to speak out against them, for to be quiet at that time would be a compromise of principle. Hence we must be careful not to wrest Scriptures out of context and thus fail to give a witness. The feet members will be placed in a position where they will have to either declare themselves or remain silent by compromising. We could not speak out through our own strength, but the Holy Spirit will give the necessary courage. Knowledge alone is not sufficient—we must do the best we can and then rely on the Lord to prompt us at the right time.

Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.

Micah 7:9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

Verse 8 is a break in thought. In spite of Israel’s unclean condition, which justifiably merited God’s judgments in the past (606 BC, AD 70, AD 135, etc.), He will have mercy on them. Most of Micah’s prophecy was a denunciation, but from here to the end of the book, Israel’s reclamation and future blessings are foretold. God will redeem or rescue a purged class out of Jacob’s Trouble to become the nucleus of the Kingdom. This class will be prudent; they will mourn like doves and seek the cleft of the mountains. In fact, the primary application of the text to “seek righteousness, seek meekness” is to the Jew, although we also apply it to the Gentile; it is instruction on what to do in the Time of Trouble.

The spiritual lesson is secondary here. All down the age, the Lord’s people have suffered and been unrecognized by the world, and although it is true that they will be vindicated in the resurrection, the primary application is pertinent, practical advice to the unconsecrated Jew and Gentile living in the end of the age. Not only will the Church have a wonderful witness opportunity in the near future, but when the trouble is really close at hand, many of the unconsecrated will ask advice on what to do. Scriptures such as “seek righteousness, seek meekness” will give them some understanding.

Micah 7:10 Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.

After Jacob’s Trouble, the Gentile powers will be covered with shame and say to Israel, “Where is the LORD your God?” The Gentiles have wrought judgment against Israel in the past, but this time the judgment will boomerang. Those who have scorned the Jew will see the Lord redeem Israel and change them as a people.

Micah 7:11 In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.

“In that day shall the decree be far removed.” God had determined the times in which the Gentiles would be supreme. During that time, from 606 BC to 1914, His face was turned away from His people Israel, but here the time has come to tear down that decree and give a period of favor. A radical change will be seen.

Verse 11 is a figurative expression of the rebuilding in Israel of that which has fallen down. The “walls” imply material prosperity, reclamation of the land, Jews returning to Israel out of every nation, the Ancient Worthies being on the scene, Gentiles acknowledging Israel as the capital of the world, Ezekiel’s Temple being built, etc.

Micah 7:12 In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.

This prophecy pertains not only to King Nebuchadnezzar’s victory in 606 BC but also to Gog (the Assyrian) in Jacob’s Trouble. Verses 12 and 13 are given in reverse order. At first, Israel will be temporarily defeated by Gog, but then God will effect a miraculous deliverance. The defeat and destruction of Jerusalem will occur in the day that Israel is prospering. In the final analysis, Israel will be reclaimed and restored, but first, a judgment will occur because the whole society, from top to bottom, is corrupt.

Micah 7:13 Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.

Notwithstanding the encouragement of verse 11, the land shall first be made desolate.

Micah 7:14 Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.

The RSV reads, “Shepherd [rule] thy people with thy staff [rod], the flock of thy inheritance, who dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.” God will ultimately shepherd the Israelites in rich pasturage.

Micah 7:15 According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things.

The RSV has, “As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt I will show them marvelous things.” God’s deliverance of Israel from Gog will be so marvelous and miraculous that He likens it to the miracles done on the Israelites’ behalf when they left Egypt in the Exodus. Just as the ten plagues wrought a mighty deliverance, along with the dividing of the Red Sea, so at the end of the age, the Lord’s deliverance of His people will be accompanied by supernatural phenomena.

Micah 7:16 The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.

“The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might” (RSV). The nations will react emotionally. Just as intense anger can cause temporary partial blindness, so great and intense astonishment can cause temporary partial deafness.

Micah 7:17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.

There is no denying that Israel will be honored in the future. When the Gentiles witness the marvelous deliverance, they will grovel in the ground, pleading for mercy from the Lord. Not only will Israel be mightily ashamed that they crucified their own Savior, but the Gentiles will be mightily humiliated when they see that they have to go to the Jew for salvation. That will be a real galling pill for some! But the Israelites will be a changed people—thoroughly converted and humbled.

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by thetransgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

For part of verse 18, the RSV reads, “Who is a God like thee, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?” The mention of “the remnant” pinpoints the fulfillment of these verses as being at the end of the age. The RSV continues, “He does not retain his anger for ever because he delights in steadfast love [mercy]. He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as thou hast sworn to our fathers from the days of old.” This commentary is like a chorus of different ones speaking. The Jews will appreciate God’s mercy in delivering them, even though they crucified their Savior. The Gentiles will recognize what has happened and will appreciate the mercy that is extended to them. And God’s faithful promises will be realized. The Almighty God will not hold a grudge.

(1975 Study with Excerpts from a 1993 Study)

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