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Micah 4:6-13: God Will Judge, God Will Redeem Print E-mail
Micah
Sunday, 17 December 2006

The themes of judgment and redemption are often closely connected in the Scriptures.  Whenever we see judgment in the Scriptures, we normally see redemption as well.  For example, think of the judgment that fell on Adam and Eve when they sinned in the garden.  Even in the midst of Godís judgment, we read of the redemption that will come through the one who will bruise the head of the serpent (see Genesis 3:15).  Or consider the judgment of the flood.  Noah and his family are brought safely through this judgment as evidence of Godís plan to redeem a people for Himself. 

The themes of judgment and redemption are often closely connected in the Scriptures.  Whenever we see judgment in the Scriptures, we normally see redemption as well.  For example, think of the judgment that fell on Adam and Eve when they sinned in the garden.  Even in the midst of Godís judgment, we read of the redemption that will come through the one who will bruise the head of the serpent (see Genesis 3:15).  Or consider the judgment of the flood.  Noah and his family are brought safely through this judgment as evidence of Godís plan to redeem a people for Himself. 

As we will continue to see in our text this morning, judgment and redemption often go hand in hand.  Before we look specifically at Micah 4:6-13, we should remember what the prophet has said thus far in the book.  Even though Judah is going through a time of great prosperity, the prophet has written to warn them of future judgment and to call them to repent.  He has criticized the leaders in Judah for ruling unjustly and not being faithful to the Lord.  Yet, as we looked at last week, Micah also writes of a time when the Lord will restore and redeem His people.  He continues to build upon this theme in our passage this morning.  Thus, as we look at our text, I want to answer this question: what is Micah teaching us about judgment and redemption in this passage?

First, judgment will come for all sin (v. 9-13).

We see in verse 6 that Micah is continuing to talk about what will come about in that day, or as he says in 4:1, in the latter days.  We defined this time last week as referring to the Messianic Age.  Yet, in our passage this morning, Micah includes the coming Exile to Babylon and Godís plan to redeem His people from that nation.  We will look more at this redemption in a moment, but letís begin with the bad news: the coming judgment.

Even though Judah is a part of Godís people, the prophet tells us that she will be judged and sent into exile.  Look at verses 9-10.  Over 100 years before the Babylonians would actually destroy Jerusalem (see 2 Chronicles 36:17-21), Micah writes of the coming judgment of Judah.  He does so primarily to encourage the people in the redemption that will follow this judgment, as we see at the end of verse 10 and will consider more in a moment.  Yet, he also writes to remind them that no sin will go unpunished.  Just because Judah was part of the chosen nation of Israel did not mean that their sins had no consequences.  Yes, the Lord would ultimately preserve a remnant of the nation, but this promise was never meant to encourage Israel in their rebellion.  Rather, as we said last week, Godís kindness is always meant to lead us to repentance (see Romans 2:4).  Future redemption is no reason to take sin lightly.

As believers in Christ, we cannot forget that our sins too have been judged.  The most glorious example of judgment and redemption meeting in the Scriptures is found at Calvary.  There, Jesus bore the judgment of God for the sins of those who would repent and believe in Him.  The debt of our sin was not dismissed, it was paid.  The judgment of our sin was not overlooked, it was placed on Christ.  In fact, not only were our sins paid for at the cross, but the sins of all the saints, past, present, and future, were paid for at Calvary.  Judah deserved judgment and she received this judgment in part.  Yet, there was a future judgment to come at the cross.  The former sins that God had passed over were judged in Christ (see Romans 3:21ff).  Of course, we may be tempted, as seemingly Judah was, to view Godís kindness as a license to sin.  Since our sins have been paid for, then surely we can relax and not be so serious about holiness.  As Paul would say, ĎMay it never be!!í  We can never afford to take sin lightly.  Rather, the grace, mercy, and kindness we find at the cross should lead us to repentance and to holiness and to a hatred of the sin that Jesus was judged for.

Someone might interrupt, ĎWell, if all sins will be judged, then what about the sins of the nations that God used to judge Judah and Israel?  Will their sins be judged?í  Yes, Micah tells us that their sins will be judged as well.  Look at verses 11-13.  God will use the nations to judge sinful Israel, but He will in turn use Israel to judge these nations.  Even though the nations, who in their own rebellion and wicked desires, unwittingly carry out Godís judgment on Israel, this does not mean that God will overlook their sin.  In fact, God has a plan for their judgment as well.  They think that they are getting the upper hand on Israel and her God.  Little do they know that they are playing into the hands of the Sovereign King of the universe.  It reminds me of many games of chess and checkers I have played.  I cannot tell you how many times I thought I was getting the upper hand on my opponent only to find out in the end that I was playing right into their hands. 

Godís enemies are always convinced that they have Him cornered, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Again, the cross itself is the greatest example of such.  Wicked men killed Christ thinking that they were putting an end to His Kingdom.  Little did they know that they were in fact carrying out the Fatherís plan to exalt His name over all (see Acts 2:22-24, 1 Corinthians 2:8). 

Thus, all sin will be judged.  We see this in our passage this morning and we see it throughout the Old and New Testaments.  Yet, before we move on to look at verses 6-8, notice the contrast between verse 10a and 13a.  Judah will fact judgment, but this judgment will be followed with redemption.  Micah uses the analogy of a pregnant women.  Granted, I have never been present when a woman was giving birth, but I know enough to know that it is not an overly pleasant process.  Yet, when the struggle is over and the pain subsides, the mother realizes that a child has been born.  The overwhelming difficulty leads to overwhelming joy.  For more on this, we turn our attention to the second lesson we learn about judgment and redemption in our passage.

Second, redemption will follow judgment for Godís remnant (v. 6-8).

Micah makes it clear in this passage that God will preserve a remnant even through fierce judgment.  Look at verses 6-8.  The immediate fulfillment of this prophecy is found in Israelís return from the Exile (see 2 Chronicles 36:22-23).  Yet, as we noted last week itís ultimate fulfillment will not come until the close of the Messianic Age, when Christ returns to establish His rule forever.  On that Day, a remnant will be gathered, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore.  Of course we know that the Second Advent will occur because we believe in the First Advent.  Even as verse 8 points out, we know that the dominion of God (through the gospel) began in Jerusalem, the hill of the daughter of Zion.  In fact, as the passage that we read from Peter (1 Peter 2:1-11) points out, God is continuing to gather the remnant, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

This remnant that God is currently gathering will walk through difficult days.  Some of these will be consequences for their own sin and some will be simply the result of residing in a fallen world.  Like Micah warned Judah, so the New Testament writers have warned us of coming suffering.  Granted, the suffering that believers face should not be a result of their own sin, but it will be suffering nonetheless.  Like Judah, we face difficult days ahead.  Yet, the sufferings of this present age cannot be compared to the glory that is to be revealed.  We will go through the fire, but it is the fire that will refine us and prepare us for the coming redemption.  The ultimate judgment for the sins of believers has been paid by Christ.  Thus, as we struggle through these difficult days, we know that redemption awaits us.

Micah wrote these words to encourage his readers.  Yes, he wanted to remind them that all sin would be judged and therefore should never be taken lightly.  But, in light of the coming judgment that Judah faced, he wanted to encourage the faithful, the remnant that God would preserve.  As believers in Christ, we too should be encouraged by Micahís teaching on judgment and redemption.  We should be sobered by the judgment that our sins deserve and amazed at the sacrifice of Christ to appease such judgment.  We should look to the coming Day of redemption that God has promised with great joy and longing. 

What God began in the garden, He will bring to completion.  His plan of redemption continues and will be fulfilled when all things are united in Christ (see Ephesians 1:7-10).  Brothers and sisters, our source of joy is not our circumstances, it is not how well things are going, how good the job is, how much we have in the retirement fund, or anything to the like.  Rather, our source of joy is the redemption we have in Christ, purchased by His own blood as He took our judgment at Calvary.  The redemption that is already and not yet, the redemption that we currently enjoy as members of the Body of Christ and the redemption that will be revealed in that Day, which we long for with all we are, this redemption is our source of joy.

It is this redemption that left the Apostles praising God for counting them worthy to suffer for Christís Name (see Acts 5:41).  It is this redemption that Paul and Silas sang of in chains (see Acts 16:16ff).  It is this redemption that the recipients of the letter of Hebrews counted as a better possession and an abiding one (Hebrews 10:34).  It is this redemption that calls us as believers in Christ to rejoice, to be encouraged, to hate sin, to long for the coming Day.  The words of Micah continue to be fulfilled in our day.  May we say with John: Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Sunday, 24 December 2006 )

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