We have now come to the climax of Micah’s great prophetic word. This is the note he ends on, which is a note of consolation. God chastises His people, but He does not forget His people. He disciplines His people, but He does not abandon His people. So we know that regardless of what happens, God will obtain glory for Himself, and the greatest glory possible comes when He is manifested as the one who delivers.
“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. 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. 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 . . . Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, Because he delighteth in mercy. 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. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old” (Micah 7:8–20).
Summary of the Text
The prophet ended the previous section by saying that he was going to wait on the Lord. He was going to look to the Lord, and only to the Lord, for the deliverance that was coming (v. 7). The prophet then steps into the persona of the Jewish people characterized as a woman. In that voice, speaking against a taunting unbelieving woman, she says that her adversary should not boast at her fall. And why? Because she was going to rise again (v. 8). Israel acknowledges her sin, along with the justice of God in disciplining her, while at the same time rejecting the taunts of her adversaries (v. 9). The woman taunting will be humiliated, and will be trodden down like street dirt (v. 10). Then in vv. 11-13, the prophet refers in retrospect to the scattering of the Church that was illustrated by the Babylonians. But despite this, the people of God, the flock of God’s heritage, will be gathered again, and they will be well-pastured (v. 14). God will do marvels on their behalf, miracles that recall the glory of the Exodus (v. 15). The other nations will stop their mouths, and will be confounded by what is happening (v. 16). They will eat dirt like a serpent, and will be afraid of Jehovah, the Lord God (v. 17). Who is a God like our God, who pardons iniquity, and who delights in mercy (v. 18). He will turn back to us, and will subdue our iniquities, and He will drown our sins in the ocean (v. 19). God will do all this because He promised Abraham and Jacob that He would do precisely that (v. 20).
Two Relations to Sin
When the people of God repent of their sins, they come to understand two things about that sin. The first is that they call sin by its proper name. They confess or acknowledge their sin (1 Jn. 1:9), and they don’t try shuffle anything off through excuses. At the same time, they reject the taunts of the unbelievers, those who once said, “Where is the Lord your God?” (v. 10).
When David was the song of drunkards, who were exulting in his disgrace with Bathsheba, he was attacked with his sin (2 Sam. 12:14; Ps. 69:12). But he was not attacked for his sin. He was attacked because he was a friend of God, and the sin just proved to be a handy cudgel.
Fear as Part of Evangelism
Notice again what Micah says in v. 17—the nations round about will come to fear Jehovah. We have for too long thought that the only possible way to be winsome is to be nice, grin a lot, and talk about Jesus. But this, all by itself, is an invitation into a cozy club. It is not an invitation into the community of those who worship the God who is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:28), and whose presence makes us want to worship Him in reverence and fear.
But when the power of God is present in the church, one of the responses that people naturally have is one of fear.
“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them” (Acts 5:12–13).
“And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things” (Acts 5:11).
Who Is Like Our God?
What are we told at the very end of this prophetic book? We are told that we serve a God who delights in mercy. Earlier in the book (Micah 6:8), we were told what God requires of us—that we do justly, love mercy, and walk with humility. Here we are told that God delights in the very thing He tells us to love.
God promised the patriarchal fathers that they would have descendants, spiritual descendants, that were beyond the capacity of any mortal to count. Like the stars in the sky. Like the grains of sand on the seashore. And the apostle John turned and looked, and saw a number of redeemed saints that were beyond the possibility of counting (Rev. 7:9). God is going to save His elect, and He is going to do it on a scale that is beyond our ability to predict or imagine. He promised the patriarchs that He would, and He sent the Christ in fulfillment of that promise.
Now do you think that—after the Christ has actually accomplished the work that will accomplish this very thing—that God would then change His purposes? What kind of sense would that make?
Who is like our God? He is the one who will forgive us for all our iniquities, and come back to fetch those iniquities so that He can go drown them all in the ocean. He will subdue our sins. He will deal with them. In the cross, He has dealt with them forever.