Strange Work

Strange Work Devo Image

“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.’ 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 3:5–8 (NIV)

Oppression worketh its own destruction.—James Linen

God delights in mercy, and judgement is His strange work.—Johathan Edwards

Sadly, for Israel and Judah destruction was coming. Sadness not just for the nations, but deeper distress for God who loved them. The prophet Isaiah describes God’s judgement as His “strange work” (Isaiah 28:21 NIV) because it’s unnatural for Him; it’s something He grieves doing (Lamentations 3:33). But being a just God with the desire to draw His people closer, His judgement surfaced, and He set Micah to task.

Micah arrived with bold indictments against the leaders of Israel and Judah (Micah 2-3:4). Even so, the prophets shared in the blame and indictment. First, Micah attacked their oppressive bribery: When they got what they wanted (presumably food or money), they proclaimed peace; given nothing, they waged war. Translation: If a person could afford to pay, the prophet would pronounce God’s favor and protection. If not, then the prophet foretold God’s providence would be removed. This left the poor with less land and even less hope.

Second, Micah attacked their power. He foretold darkened days—not literally, but spiritually; not permanently, but for a time. It’s like a teacher trying to get the attention of a room of rowdy third graders as she flicks the lights on and off. It’s not punitive, it simply captures their attention, and they look at her. So, for these prophets and the nations, there would be a spiritual darkness, a 400-year silence from heaven. Their injustice and sin caused a spiritual drift, and God used darkness to pull them back to His truth and light.

Judgment is God’s strange work. Yet, in the end, it’s merciful. Romans 5:20 tells us that where sin abounds, grace abounds more. Eventually, Israel and Judah suffered because the leaders and prophets worked to their own destruction. But God “does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10 ESV). Their lives were spared to allow time for reflection and repentance; an opportunity to turn away from evil and return to their God. God’s “anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime (Psalm 30:5 NIV).

There’s always hope in the darkest of days. Pastor Dane Ortlund wrote, “In His justice, God is exacting. In His mercy, God is overflowing.”

So, wherever you are in your relationship with God, know that even in calamity He rejoices in doing good. He is the Lord who declares Himself to be slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness; a Father who forgives and does not hold an eternal account (Exodus 34:6–7).

Pause: What seems stranger to you, God’s judgment or His mercy? Are they two sides of the same coin?

Practice: Read and study Psalm 85:10 and Hebrews 12:5–6. How are discipline and love married?

Pray: Lord, what I don’t know about You, help me to know more. What I misunderstand, correct my error. Where I fall short, help me to grow. If I walk in darkness, lead me to light. Amen.

About the Author

Lisa Supp

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.