For the past few weeks, I have been very interested in the books of the minor prophets, minor because of their length in the Bible, not their content. There are 14 of them in the Old Testament, and they are worth the read. They mirror life in these tumultuous times. They are contemporary though written hundreds of years ago. They narrate human nature, which is basically the same world wide....and it transcends generations. The men who wrote them were chosen by God to teach, warn, admonish....and even cry and beg for their people to return to God. These brave souls often faced humiliation, rejection, suffering, and they risked looking like fools.
Such is the case with Micah, which means, "Who is like the Lord?" Micah was a contemporary of the great major prophet, Isaiah. Micah faithfully warns anyone who will listen to him that the nation will be destroyed because of the wicked hearts of its leaders, including civic leaders, prophets, and priests, who were all guilty of not fearing God any more. This general uneasiness toward recognizing and dealing with sin in their lives had a ripple affect on the general population, who followed suit. Sluggishness and apathy towards the holiness of God reigned, as a result, in the population as well as in the leadership. There was no fear of God there, whatsoever. One theme throughout all the prophets, both major and minor, was the shortcoming of the prophets and priests in withholding the truth of the consequences that would fall on them and the people as well if they did not turn from their sins and repent. They failed to proclaim the doom coming to them and instead promised false hope and repeated declarations of peace. The prophets and priests often proclaimed that these leaders preached "peace, peace, when there is no peace." Another theme throughout these Old Testament books is that since God pays close attention to our every step, He sees and rewards the remnant who refuses to go along with the crowd. To that remnant who remain faithful to Him, He promises His blessing. To that remnant who follow Him, a better day is coming perhaps in their lifetime, but for certain in eternity, as they will dwell with the Lord forever and He will reward them openly for their lives surrendered to Him instead of living for the pursuit of the things that temporarily satisfy their flesh. Micah 7:7-9 is a great guideline for us when we fall. It's a simple, uncomplicated (not necessarily easy or quickly embraced because of our weak flesh) prescription for rebound from sin, recovery from life's difficulties, and steadfast hope in a mighty God who delivers us from ourselves.
Because isn't our own flesh most often the most significant thing we need deliverance from? I know that is true for me, personally. The order of the points is not really in order, if that even makes sense. Many times the Bible is like that. It is not always in chronological order. That's why I've got dig into the text, meditate, pray, return to it, read it again, and wait for the Lord to shed light....because it's only through His wisdom in me that I have any understanding of the Word of my God. So I want to look at 3 powerful verses in Chapter 7. Verses 7-9. Let's start in Micah 7:8 - "Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light."
1. "For though I fall. . . " Relief floods my soul at this statement. We are so often guilty of putting people on pedestals, especially our leaders - as though we foolishly expect them to live lives devoid of falling, devoid of slipping and sinning. Micah is not positioning himself to be anything different from what he is. . . a sinner. He is going to fall. The fall may come as a result of sin but it doesn't have to. The fall may be the result of life circumstances or a great blow such as death, divorce, loss of a job, or family turmoil/trauma of some sort. But it will come. We all fall for one reason or another, often many times before we get it right. What a grace gift it is that our Lord keeps loving us and working with us until we get it right. It serves us well to keep people small and God big. Falls are much harder when you fall from up on a pedestal. So what do we do when the inevitable happens? What do we do when we fall?
Go to Micah 7:7,9 - "As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. I will be patient as the Lord punishes me, for I have sinned against Him. But after that, He will take up my case and give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies. The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see His righteousness." 1. "As for me, I look to the Lord."
There's the answer. Soul relief again. Look to the Lord. I will look to the Lord, who is my refuge, my hiding place, my strong tower, my intercessor, my advocate, my banner, my Father, and the One who knows and loves my soul....just to name a few.
2. "I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me." Confessing to God what He already knows is essential. It's obviously for us, not for Him. Does humility not come with speaking out loud to Him our sin, shortcomings, anger, weakness, jealously, lack of forgiveness, and unbelief? Does not the mere mention of these acts reveal who we really are in ourselves and how much we need Him to forgive us and wipe our slate clean once again, restoring us to Him?
3. "I will be patient as the Lord punishes me, for I have sinned against Him." We must admit to our own sin and accept responsibility for it. I must bear my consequences myself. We can't blame anyone else. We can't sling mud - not with God. He knows it all. So whatever consequences we have coming to us, we must embrace it, not just take it. We bear it by the grace of God and not blame shift. Neither can we blame God. We can't allow any bitterness to cling to us. We have to repent and keep going. Sometimes it's a process to get out of the fog of living in God's indignation, but any correction we receive is only given because He loves us so much. Depending on the reason for the fall and the fall itself, this can be a process. It's not always a quick. It may take a while to get out of the fog of living in God's indignation. We find peace and rest through the process, however, in looking to the Lord again and again and again and again. He hears us though the clamor of trauma continues to resound. Though He seems distant. Though the storm seems to prevail. He hears. Keep watch. Stay alert. Be patient. God has His own timing. His wheels sometimes grind slow but they're always sure. We have to carry on in His grace. In all of our suffering, He stands beside us with abounding grace and endless, reckless love....enough to more than get us through. Enough to keep us sane. Enough to give us hope. 4. Micah 7:8 - "For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light." Here is grace in action. Grace enables us to endure the darkness. It keeps us from losing our minds. Through grace we can arise from the darkness. . . eventually. Grace lubricates our nerves enough to get up again and get going. Grace is a balm. It is the salve of the Holy Spirit that soothes the raw wounds or deeply rooted hurts that may have caused us to fall in the first place. It accommodates us and makes a way for us to wade through whatever fog, grief, or turmoil we might be stuck in one step at a time.
I love Revelation 21:23 - "And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light."
Until then, Jesus will break through that dark night of the soul and shed light, His light. That light consists of peace with ourselves, joy, hope, and the reality gripping our soul that though maybe nothing has changed--that is, the physical, earthly results of our falls are perhaps still there--God is a restoring Father and the Presence of Christ is so real that life is going to be livable. We can breathe again. We can function again. We can laugh again. The final part of Micah 7:9 concludes, "The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see His righteousness." Soul relief. Pure joy. Deliverance. Restoration.
Regardless of the fall, deliverance and restoration are always the result of those who live for God and walk in His Spirit....He's a good, good Father.