Words of Warning
Lord, keep my heart and mind open and receptive to Your words to me, even when they make me uncomfortable.
Read Micah 1:1-16
 The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah-the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  Hear, you peoples, all of you, listen, earth and all who live in it, that the Sovereign LORD may bear witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.  Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.  The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope.  All this is because of Jacob’s transgression, because of the sins of the people of Israel. What is Jacob’s transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah’s high place? Is it not Jerusalem?  “Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations.  All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.”  Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl.  For Samaria’s plague is incurable; it has spread to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself.  Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah roll in the dust.  Pass by naked and in shame, you who live in Shaphir. Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; it no longer protects you.  Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem.  You who live in Lachish, harness fast horses to the chariot. You are where the sin of Daughter Zion began, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you.  Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath. The town of Akzib will prove deceptive to the kings of Israel.  I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah. The nobles of Israel will flee to Adullam.  Shave your head in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourself as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat terrible sin is resulting in this awful judgment (7)?
While other prophets were promising (or being paid to promise) peace (see 2:6, 3:5, 3:11), Micah declares that the Lord is coming to deliver devastation. He will come down from his heavenly dwelling to punish Israel in the north (2-7) and Judah in the south (8-16) for being unfaithful and breaking covenant with him. The nations of the earth are summoned (2) to witness God turning Samaria into a “heap of ruins” (6) and, one by one, laying waste to the towns and villages that lie in the path of advance to Jerusalem. The nation’s wound is “too deep to heal” (9) and God’s wrath is inescapable. Samaria’s principal sin is idolatry (7); Judah is guilty of oppression and injustice (as will become clear in the chapters that follow). In vs. 10-15 there is a series of word-plays: the punishment for each town is linked to the meaning of its name. For example, the residents of Shaphir, meaning “beautiful,” will be stripped of their position and exposed to shame. Footnotes in the NIV explain similar word-plays. Verse 16 reveals the final destiny of these towns: exile! Even well-guarded Jerusalem will not escape.
If you, on God’s behalf, could issue one word of warning to the society in which you live, what would it be?
Pray for God to renew and revive the faith of the people in your community and nation. Pray for God’s mercy.