In case you didn’t know it, there’s something you should note about the prophets. Each one of them--even the harshest among them, like Jeremiah and Amos—had a word of hope for Israel. I mean every one of them. No matter what dire predictions they offered, each one of the prophets predicted the restoration of Israel someday, frequently at the end of their writings. Their last word was good news.
And today’s passage really gets to the heart of the matter. Israel’s main problem wasn’t the economy, or incompetent leadership, or even the various foreign enemies which surrounded her. Her main problem—from which all the others flowed or were relatively irrelevant—was sin. This is what kept the Lord from blessing her as he wanted to. As Isaiah put it, “[The] Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.” Let’s be clear about this: The Lord was looking for an excuse to bless them. As soon he could, he would.
One day, he would. That’s the point of today’s reading. As in the days of the Exodus from Egypt, he would perform a marvel to behold. All the nations around her would be ashamed of what they had done, and would seek the Lord out of fear of him.
Now we come to my favorite part of this. You might not know this, but Micah’s name means “Who is like the Lord?” The answer to that, of course, is “nobody.” There’s no one like him.
He pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance. He does not stay angry with his redeemed people, but. . .bask in this for a moment. . . delights to show mercy.
That's his heart. The Puritans used to call the outpouring of his wrath his “strange” work, in the sense of “unusual.” Most of the time we blithely walk around, completely oblivious to the multiple ways we’ve offended him. Nonbelievers live out their lives in relative peace, and the Lord provides for their physical needs and gives other blessings such as family, friends, fun, etc. Every once in a while, however, he opens up just a little itty bitty tiny bit of his just wrath in the world, and we’re wondering what’s going on as we watch the news about a terrible tragedy.
The day is coming in which he'll have compassion on his people, and will do something he’s never done before. He will tread their sins underfoot, and will hurl all our iniquities (basically another word for our sins) into the sea. What sea is this? What ocean could be deep enough for this? I mean, he’s omnipotent, so what if he changes his mind someday and decides to dredge up my sins once again?
My friend, that sea is not a sea of water. It’s a sea of blood. As gross as that might sound to modern ears, it’s what’s needed. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is deep enough to bury my sins once and for all. And as I once heard, he throws your sins into the bottom of that sea and posts a “NO FISHING” sign.
He ends the book with a reiteration of his faithfulness. He made promises to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and he kept every one. And he’s shown love and mercy and kindness to Abraham’s heirs, both the physical ones and those of us who count him as our spiritual forefather.
Has he done this for you? If yes, then take a moment to say thanks. If not, or if you’re not sure, please see this.
Lord Jesus, I can certainly testify to the truth of today’s passage. You don’t stay angry with me, but delight to show mercy. You've trodden my sins underfoot and thrown them into the depths of your sea. Let me meditate on that for a moment.