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November 21, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build up Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with iniquity: Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.’ Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.”—Micah 3:9–12 (NKJV)
Up to this point, Micah has railed against the moral degradation and spiritual bankruptcy of leadership in the northern and southern kingdoms. It’s heavy stuff. But Micah had such a heart for the strong-armed and the oppressed; he couldn’t stand idly by. And such a heart was used by God.
Today’s verse partially reiterates the charges against them. Then, it highlights two key points that apply, not only to those Micah was addressing, but also to the Church today. First, Micah announces these corrupt officials felt no harm could come to them because the Lord was among them. Essentially, they adopted a false sense of righteousness because of who they were and believed they could squeeze by in their disobedience. Such a dangerous mindset! Not only were their actions hypocritical and dishonoring to God, but they used His name in vain with such ill allegiance.
Next, Micah uses the words “because of you” (referring to leadership). They had established a house of cards—one founded on immorality and sustained by greed; a foundation that was doomed to collapse. And who suffers in the fallout? The people.
Let’s mirror this to the Church. When we follow Christ, there is significance and responsibility that comes with it. If we are in Christ, then we “ought to walk in the same way in which He walked (1 John 2:6 ESV) and not rest on our laurels of salvation and grace. The apostle Paul cautions, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not” (Romans 6:1–2 NKJV)! When we refuse to live according to the Word of God or misrepresent Christ in any way, we are hypocritical, duplicitous, and we use His name in vain (1 John 1:6–8). Clearly, this has an influence nationwide.
Speaking of influence, church leadership has an even greater responsibility to the church body in its care. Jesus warned, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6 NKJV). Paul illustrates this idea by writing, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6 NKJV). Even a small amount of leaven can affect a lump of dough. Likewise, a small amount of corruption or false teaching permeates slowly, but it soon saturates and stumbles a church body. Like that house of cards, it’s doomed to collapse. And who suffers? The people.
Spoiler alert! The people listened to Micah, and I encourage you to study more about that. Suffice it to say, the Church needs more Micahs—people willing to stand up for the Word of God and point them to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). Are you that one?
Pause: What two things did Micah address that have significance for us now?
Practice: You don’t have to officially serve in the church to be a servant of God. Charles Stanley wrote, “There are no unimportant positions in the kingdom of God.” We are all called to stand out against unpopular ideas or practices. Asking for God’s help is the first step to serving in His name.
Pray: Jesus, what I feel is heavy, but You say it is a light burden for You. Lord, the world is weighty, but You say that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Help me to overcome any fear in standing up for what is holy and just. Amen.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.