|Superintendent: Assistant Pastor Jerald L. Bryant
Sunday Morning: 10:30 - 11:30 am
|Christlike Ministries of Deliverance International, Inc.
Sunday School Department
|Lesson: Micah 2:4-11; Time of the Action: Between 736 and 722; Place of the action: Judah
Aim for Change: By the end of the lesson, we will: EXPLORE unjust practices and their consequences during Amos’ time; REFLECT on how the church practices injustices and seems to be oblivious; ENCOURAGE the church to
address injustices practiced within our community of faith.
Even though Micah and Amos spoke to different audiences (Micah to Judah and Amos to Israel), their messages were the same. Since the people had failed to obey God’s covenant, they would experience extreme judgment in the form of
deportation from the land that God had given them. Like the people in Amos’ audience, those to whom Micah preached thought that because they were God’s people in God’s land, they would be exempt from divine judgment no matter how
they behaved. They were going through all the right motions in worship, but their hearts were not in it. Our lesson this week will examine the areas of Judah’s life that were repulsive to the Lord. The message of the people in Micah’s time is
the same for us: there is no rest for the wicked.
The King James Version (KJV)
I. NO REST FOR THE WICKED LANDOWNERS (Micah 2:4-7)
4. In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he
hath divided our fields.
5. Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord.
6. Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.
7. O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
II. NO REST FOR THE FALSE PROPHETS (Micah 2:8-11)
8. Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.
9. The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.
10. Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.
11. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.
New International Version (NIV)
I. NO REST FOR THE WICKED LANDOWNERS (Micah 2:4-7)
4. In that day people will ridicule you; they will taunt you with this mournful song: ‘We are utterly ruined; my people’s possession is divided up. He takes it from me! He assigns our fields to traitors.’”
5. Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the Lord to divide the land by lot.
6. “Do not prophesy,” their prophets say. “Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us.”
7. You descendants of Jacob, should it be said, “Does the Lord become impatient? Does he do such things?” “Do not my words do good to the one whose ways are upright?
II. NO REST FOR THE FALSE PROPHETS (Micah 2:8-11)
8. Lately my people have risen up like an enemy. You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without a care, like men returning from battle.
9. You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever.
10. Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy.
11. If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ that would be just the prophet for this people!
II. BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. Micah was a contemporary of Hosea in the northern kingdom of Israel and Isaiah in the southern kingdom of Judah. Micah’s hometown was Moresheth-Gath (see Micah 1:14), located in Judah
about twenty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem, near the Philistine city of Gath. Although Micah primarily preached to the people in Judah, he also had some words for Israel (see Micah 1:1). Micah received his messages via visions from the
Lord (see Micah 1:1) and in Micah 1:3-7, the prophet spoke of the judgment God would bring upon both Israel and Judah referring to them as Samaria and Jerusalem, the capital cities of Israel and Judah respectively. In the remaining portion
of chapter 1, Micah describes the weeping and mourning that will take place (see Micah 1:8-16). Then in chapter 2:1-2, he spoke out against those who laid awake at night, plotting wickedness and then getting up at dawn to carry out their
schemes simply because they could. Micah declared that when these wicked people wanted a certain piece of land or someone else’s house (though it was all they had), they would take it by fraud and threats of violence (see Micah 2:3).
Then in verse 3, the prophet declared that the Lord God said that He would reward their evil with evil; nothing could stop Him; never again will His people be proud and haughty after He’s finished with them. This is where our lesson begins.
III. NO REST FOR THE WICKED LANDOWNERS (Micah 2:4-7)
A. Loss of land and its use (Micah 2:4-5).
1. (vs. 4). In this verse Micah said “In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me!
turning away he hath divided our fields.” The phrase “In that day” refers to the time when God would bring judgment upon Judah, particularly the Babylonian invasion. When that happened, the prophet said their enemies will “take up a
parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation.” In other words, those outside the land would taunt or ridicule the people of Judah using their own words as a “doleful lamentation” meaning a mournful wailing. These outsiders, who
would include Judah’s conquerors, would make fun of Judah’s predicament by using God’s people’s own words saying “We (Judah) be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away
he hath divided our fields.” The phrase “he hath changed the portion of my people” means that God’s people will no longer have any part or allotment left for themselves in the land. The reason is because God has “removed it (the land)” from
His people. In addition, when God turns away from His people they will also say that He “hath divided our fields.” The time was coming when the people of Judah would be saying “we are finished, ruined. God has taken our land and sent us
far away; he has given what is ours to others.” Enemies will take all their land and force the people into captivity in Assyria for Israel and Babylon for Judah. The land that they loved so much, given to them by God Himself, was about to be
taken away and turned over to others. Their wickedness shown in pride and self-confidence will result in total destruction.
2. (vs. 5). In this verse God through Micah declared “Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord.” When the Israelites entered Canaan, they were to divide the land by tribes by casting
lots (see Numbers 26:55; 33:54; 34:13). Now God said that there won’t be anyone left “in the congregation of the Lord” or among God’s people, who will be able to “cast a cord by lot” meaning able to determine land boundaries. The
remnant of Israel that would be left in the land wouldn’t have any authority for dividing the land anymore because they would be ruled by others. Any division of the land would be done by the conquering Babylonians. Note: Joshua 13
records how Moses gave land to the two and one-half tribes (Numbers 34:13-15) to the east of the Jordan River. Joshua 14:1-5 tells how the land west of the Jordan was to be divided. Eleazar the priest, Joshua the political leader, and the
heads of the various tribes were to cast lots to determine where each tribe would locate. Casting of lots was a way of making decisions in Bible times. It was similar to drawing straws or casting a pair of dice to determine what course of
direction to follow. In the Bible, most of the occurrences of casting lots were in the early period when little of the Bible was available, and when God apparently approved of this means for determining His will. For example, the high priest cast
lots to separate the scapegoat from the one he sacrificed (see Leviticus 16:8-10). The practice of casting lots occurs most often in connection with the dividing of the land among the twelve tribes under Joshua’s leadership (see Joshua chapters
14-21). This was a procedure that God directed several times in the Book of Numbers (see Numbers 26:55; 33:54; 34:13; 36:2). Various offices and functions in the Temple were also determined by lot (see I Chronicles 24:5, 31; 25:8-9; 26:
13-14). The sailors on Jonah’s ship (see Jonah 1:7) also cast lots to determine who had brought God’s wrath upon their ship. Only once in the New Testament did the casting of lots happen with God’s approval. This happened in the
selection of Matthias to replace Judas among the apostles (see Acts 1:26). It should also be noted that Urim and Thummim which means lights and perfection, were gems or stones carried by the high priest and were used by him to determine
God’s will in certain matters (see Exodus 28:30). Many scholars believe that these gems or stones were cast, much like dice are thrown to aid the high priest in making important decisions. There are many theories about how the Urim and
Thummin were used but all of them are pure guesswork. No one knows the exact nature of the Urim and Thummin, or precisely how they were used. However, the Scriptures do indicate, though not very clearly, that the Urim and Thummin
were in some way connected with determining God’s divine will in particular cases (see Numbers 27:24; Deuteronomy 33:8; I Samuel 28:6; Ezra 2:63).
B. Loss of a word from the Lord (Micah 2:6-7).
1. (vs. 6). Micah continues to say in this verse “Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.” False prophets, as well as the people were saying to true prophets like
Micah “Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy.” This was a forceful demand for Micah to stop prophesying God’s message of destruction. The phrase “they shall not prophesy to them” means that the false prophets were calling on
Micah and other true prophets to stop preaching about the coming judgment. The words “that they shall not take shame” mean that the false prophets were saying that Judah wouldn’t be destroyed and become an embarrassment or disgrace
to her neighbors. In their minds they believed that the Lord would never bring disaster or “shame” on His land. A clearer translation of this verse would be “The people and the false prophets say, don’t prophesy to us. Don’t say those bad
things about us. Nothing bad will happen to us.” Note: We still have some of these false preachers today who preach a prosperity gospel and a God who loves us so much that He will bless us no matter what. But God is sovereign. He may
not want you to be prosperous, and no one else can tell you that He wants that for you. It may be that God knows that you may not be able to withstand the temptations of wealth. Prosperity may cause you to forget about the Lord and His
will for you. We need to hear all of God’s word, both concerning blessings as well as discipline. If we don’t want to hear all of God’s words, He will eventually stop talking to us. If we don’t want to hear the whole truth, we won’t get any
truth. The people only wanted to hear God’s comforting messages, not His words of discipline. We need to listen to God speak even when the message is hard to take. The attitude of the false prophets was that since the people of Judah
were God’s people, as long as they continued to participate in worship and rituals, God wouldn’t harm them. How wrong they were! Just being in the land wasn’t enough. The people needed to walk uprightly. They were ignoring the fact
that God wanted heartfelt worship, not just empty, ritualistic worship. Just going through the motions would not satisfy the Lord. The best thing we can do is to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God (see Micah 6:8). We can
leave the matter of prosperity up to Him.
2. (vs. 7). In this verse Micah goes on to say “O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” The prophet referred to his
listeners as “thou that art named the house of Jacob” because they were descendents of Jacob. But the truth is, they were not acting the way Jacob would’ve acted. He never would have listened to false prophets who were much like today’s
prosperity preachers who preach that everyone can be prosperous or wealthy. They preach only of God’s blessings and not His punishment or chastisement. Because we are all disobedient at some point, we won’t always experience God’s
blessing. But we will always experience His chastisement, because He loves us (see Hebrews 12:5-8; Revelation 3:19). Micah then posed some questions regarding God’s prophesied judgment against them. He first asked “is the spirit of the
Lord straitened?” Depending on the context, the word “straitened” in Scripture can have more than one meaning, but they all express basically the same idea. It can mean impatient, restricted or constrained (see Luke 12:50; II Corinthians 6:
12), hampered (see Proverbs 4:12), or shortened (see Job 18:7). However, in this verse according to the context, it most likely means “impatient.” The people were heeding the false prophets’ message that God had not grown impatient with
them, and therefore the judgment Micah prophesied wouldn’t happen. This caused Micah to ask “is the spirit of the Lord straitened?” Or in other words, “do you think God’s Spirit has not grown impatient?” Of course the answer was yes.
He had grown impatient with His people, but they listened only to the false prophets who lied saying God’s patience would never run out on Israel. Then he asked “are these his doings?” The word “doings” here refers to God’s oncoming
judgment against Judah. In essence Micah was telling the people that unlike what the false prophets were saying, the Lord’s “doings” not only included blessings, but also included punishment for sins. The people were holding on to promises
that God would only keep if they were obedient, but they were ignoring all His warnings (see Deuteronomy 16:16-19). Then the prophet gets to the point. He asked “do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” The phrase “my
words” here refers to the message Micah received from God. The prophet was saying that if a person walks upright, God’s Word will always be just and fair. God’s Word will not only speak of blessings, but it will also speak of chastisement
when necessary. God’s Word literally does us an infinite amount of good. There’s no way to overestimate the value of God’s Word (see Psalms 119: 11). As the psalmist said “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (see
Psalms 119:105). Note: I like the translation of this verse given in the CJB (Complete Jewish Bible). It reads “Is this what the house of Ya‘akov (Jacob) says? ‘Adonai (God) has not grown impatient, and these things are not his doings.’
Rather, my (Micah’s) words do only good to anyone living uprightly.”
IV. NO REST FOR THE FALSE PROPHETS (Micah 2:8-11)
A. A hostile community (Micah 2:8). In this verse, God goes on to say through Micah “Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.” Since
His people were not living according to His holy standards, God considered them as His enemies, which is always a terrible position to be in. The Lord considered His people enemies mainly because of how they treated their fellow citizens,
especially the poor and destitute. God said “ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.” The Lord accused some of the people, no doubt the rich, of robbing others of their robes. The
Hebrew word for “pull off” means “to strip” or “to unclothe.” The Lord described those victims as “them that pass by securely as men averse from war.” This refers to people who walked by feeling safe and at peace which is the meaning of
“men averse from war.” This verse is speaking of debtors, or those who owed others having their clothes taken because they were unable to pay their debts. This action was contrary to the law that stated “If you take your neighbor’s cloak as
a pledge, return it by sunset, because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate” (see Exodus 22:26-27, NIV). Some people were so evil that
they had no sense of decency, taking advantage of those who were already worse off than the wealthy Jews.
B. Displaced women and children (Micah 2:9). Still describing the sins committed by His people, in this verse God said “The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory
for ever.” Not only were men treated cruelly, but the wealthy also took advantage of women and children. The Lord declared that “The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses.” The “women” here most likely refers
to widows who couldn’t afford their homes causing them to be taken away. In most cases, their homes were their only possessions and were “pleasant” to them, so this was one of the most cruel and thoughtless things that the wealthy could
do. This is another picture of how far away from God’s standards the people of Judah had gone. Even the “children” in Judah were victims of cruelty. God said “from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.” The “children” here
probably refer to the children of the widows who had their homes taken from them. In many cases, the homes that were being taken from the widows were the inheritance for the children. But that was being taken away, and in so doing, God
said that the wealthy had “taken away my glory for ever.” God’s “glory” was the fact that the children would inherit the land, but due to the wickedness of the people, the children would also be removed from the land along with everyone
else. God would receive no glory from this. For sure our righteous God will certainly repay those for the injuries they’ve done to the widows and fatherless, who, being helpless and friendless, cannot otherwise right those wrongs themselves.
C. No rest for false prophets (Micah 2:10-11).
1. (vs. 10). Now God says in this verse “Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.” God had intended the land of Canaan to be a place of rest for His people
(see Deuteronomy 12:9-10). But because of their wickedness, God said the land of Israel “is not your rest” or a place of rest because “it is polluted” meaning that they had ruined it and made it unclean with their sin. Since the Lord was going
to remove His people from the land, He encouraged them to “Arise ye, and depart” or get out of the land. When Micah gave this message, escape from judgment that was coming in the form of a Babylon invasion, was still possible only if the
people left the country. However, anyone who failed to leave immediately would be destroyed, either killed or taken into captivity. They would also see their land destroyed as God said “even with a sore destruction.” This means a complete
and utter destruction.
2. (vs. 11). In our final verse, the Lord speaks directly to the false prophets or preachers. He said “If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the
prophet of this people.” Here the Lord tells the people what kind of prophets they really wanted. They didn’t want one that told them the truth like Micah. They wanted a prophet who says “I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong
drink.” This was just another way of the false prophets saying that the people didn’t have anything to worry about since they were God’s people. They could be merry and drink wine even to the point of getting drunk. But the Lord also said
that those who prophesied such a message were “walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie.” In other words, Israel only wanted prophets that would tell them what they wanted to hear---that God wouldn’t judge them. But the false prophets
told them what they wanted to hear because they had a spirit of “falsehood” and they “do lie.” Note: The true prophet or preacher tells people that they can receive God’s blessings only when they are obedient (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14)
and His chastisement or discipline when they are disobedient (see Deuteronomy 28:15-52). Not only was this true for Israel, but it’s also true for God’s people today. If we want God’s blessings we must be obedient to His Word, His will
and His way. If we do anything else, which would be disobedience, we can expect chastisement and discipline. Yes, there is no rest for the wicked! So, who are you listening to? The false preacher will tell you that our God is only a God of
grace and mercy who will give you whatever you ask for. But the true preacher will tell you the truth that yes, God is a God of grace and mercy, but He will give you what you ask for only if it’s according to His will (see I John 5:14-15).
However, He’s also a God of justice and will discipline His own.
V. Conclusion. This week’s lesson has provided some insight into life outside the blessing of the Lord. While it is true that the worst consequences of a life of selfishness and sin will come in the hereafter, in this present life there are
consequences as well. The wicked simply have no rest or peace (see Isaiah 57:20-21). Resting in the Lord is one of the most prized possessions of the believer. Threats to our peace and rest can come from various sources and can be both
physical and spiritual. However, we can rest in the Lord’s finished work for our salvation. We can rest in His victory over sin, this world, and Satan. We can rest in the peace the Lord has given us. We need not be troubled or afraid (see
1. When we purposely disobey God, we can expect Him to remove any blessings that He has given us (Micah 2:4-5).
2. It’s foolish and disastrous to take the advice of those who reject God’s Word (Micah 2:6).
3. If we walk according to His Word, we have nothing to fear from God (Micah 2:7).
4. To take away the dignity of others is to rob them of the glory, or blessing God has for them (Micah 2:8-9).
5. In order to avoid God’s judgment or discipline, we must remove ourselves from those who are ripe for that judgment (Micah 2:10).
6. Sinners are always comfortable in the presence of those who have similar lifestyles (Micah 2:11).
|Sunday, July 12, 2015
No Rest For the Wicked
Golden Text: “O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straitened? are these his
doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” (Micah 2:7).