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29 Micah (1)

In search of pity of the Lord

Micah 1:1-16
U Timothy 4:1-5
T Another sorrow prophet

 We have watched prophets of Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hoshea and 4 till now, but they were the people who passed on a message of God to the Northern Kingdom all. The determination to the Northern Kingdom of God seems to have been almost clarified by these four people, but there seems to have been the message which is still hidden. Micah and Isaiah were called, and Hoshea was similar, too; but in particular, when these two prophets saw the collapse of Northern Kingdom, their eyes would leave for south kingdom. It is birth of a new "genealogy of prophets". Farmer Micah of the out-of-the-way place that was approximately 40km away from Jerusalem southwest, shines conspicuously for some reason among these prophets group. Now, I want to ask his message for a while.

 This morning, it is from Chapter 1. It begins; "The word of the Lord which came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem." (1). Strangely, his eyes who was a farmer of small Moresheth / Gate village of the Judah southern part are turned to Samaria (the Northern Kingdom). When he began prophecy activity, the anarchy times that seemed to be a change of the government by coup d'etat continued, and the Northern Kingdom was in the middle of the terminal stage that seemed to fall down at any moment. "Hear, O peoples, all of you; listen, O earth an all it contains, and let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple." (2-3) The thought of regrets of a prophet; I am impressed by such a dirge of the Northern Kingdom charging through a way to a ruin. "Because of this I must lament and wail, I must go barefoot and naked; I must make a lament like the jackals and a mourning like the ostriches." (8) The condemnation to south kingdom is included in here, too; but, for him, both the north and the south were people of the same Lord; and now, that corner is going to collapse. Micah impeached their crime by intense words, but a suffering of Micah would be a thing equal to sorrow prophet Jeremiah who was called about 100 years later.

U Words of God

 "All this is for the rebellion of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?"(5) His anger was turned to two capitals which can say a symbol of both north and south kingdoms. Above all, their going to ruin is for rebellion in a sacred place worshiping God. Needless to say, Jerusalem was the sacred capital where Solomon built the shrine, he poured it his heart and soul, therefore, Israeli anyone adored there, and it was the place where they should have gathered to worship God. However, unfortunately it did not come true that people of the Northern Kingdom visited a sanctuary after Israel was divided into two in the north and south. It was a proper thing that they demanded sacred place for Jerusalem, and it would be the natural course that Samaria became their central sacred place since king Omri of the sixth generation, too. However, they have placed an idol of God / Baal of Cannan in the holy place which should be the center of Yahweh worship. That Baal shrine was overgrown with prostitution of the mediums that was a model of one of the ancient religion, and it seems to have been effective means to fix faith of paganism to the people. Micah blamed betrayal to their Yahweh who ran to such idol worship above all. "For I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the open country, planting places for a vineyard. I will pour her stones down into the valley, and will lay bare her foundations. All of her idols will be smashed, all of her earnings will be burned with fire, and all of her images I will make desolate, for she collected them from a harlot's desolated them from a harlot's earning, and to the earnings a harlot they will return."(6-7)

 I don't know to where of this book is warning to the people of Samaria, but I imagine Chapter 1 of here was sent to a prophet of Samaria residence as a message to them at least. Since Elijah, the reason is because prophet groups of the Lord continued have still stayed in each place of the Northern Kingdom. However, they did not have an ear to hear anymore. And according to the warning of Micah and other prophets, the Northern Kingdom was destroyed in BC722 several years later of this prophecy by Assyria. How Micah who had to witness that progress had been sad. And it resembles a state of the present age closely. Even if I tell words of the Lord and distribute TOUKA (our church pamphlet), but it does not be paid any slightest consideration and is thrown away to a trash box; it is the present conditions. However, I am encouraged from faith of a prophet unless I can give it up.

V In search of pity of the Lord

 Eyes of Micah were turned to south kingdom. I repeat itself, but, for Micah, both the north and the south are people Israel of same God. He would throw his eyes on south kingdom while praying so, if the Northern Kingdom must become extinct, so that even south kingdom could live at least. However, he understood that punishment to Northern Kingdom / Samaria was punishment of Jerusalem, too; it is said, "For her wound is incurable, for it has come to Judah; it has reached the gate of my people, even Jerusalem." (9). If south kingdom had learned it from Samaria, people of Israel of the Lord would be able to continue living in the south. However, it was not able to expect them.

 He would wish for pity of the Lord. There is it in Verse 12, "For the inhabitant of Maroth becomes weak waiting for good, because a calamity has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem.". Maroth seems to be a town close to Gath where Micah lived in, but it is heard with that "happiness" that they looked forward is pity of the Lord to both north and south kingdoms. However, anger of God for Israel was intense, and the Northern Kingdom was destroyed in BC722 year, and south kingdom was destroyed in BC586. In a message of him which follows there is it; "Tell it not in Gath, weep not at all. At Beth-le-aprah roll yourself in the dust. Go on your way, inhabitant of Shaphir, in shameful nakedness. The inhabitant of Zaanan does not escape. ... The glory of Israel will enter Adullam." (10-15). Gath is birth land Gath of Micah, and the names of country written down here both will be the towns or villages nearby. Micah tells the state that the towns make a miserable ending patiently. Adullam is a town of Cannan where there was the cave where David, chased by King Saul, hid in. The crime of them was terrible so that there was no room for pity, and the estrangement from God was decisive. After Chapter 2; including the possibility that Micah oneself became a victim, their crimes are listed with records of their struggles.

 By the way, in a reason according with those event that such situation really happened, there are people thinking that Micah described it while witnessing those events. However, because Micah testify it as follows; "The word of God which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem" (1), we must hear that it was told by God before those events happen, and became a message. Those events are extinction of the Northern Kingdom and Jerusalem invasion (BC701) by the king of Assyria, Sennacherib; and those are also the extinction of the south kingdom which became reality about 100 years later than him. Perhaps, Micah itself was edited in later years of Micah, and his witness record may be piled up in a description of two former events. However, even if it would be words of prophecy or a witness record, Micah does not merely list those events one by one, while telling the severe judgment of such God, but, in deep sorrow, he is looking for the salvation of the Lord, "who heals these 'incurable wound'?". Here, I feel as if I watch a special feature of prophet Micah who sorrows and seeks after truth, he could not help shedding tears till he comes across the salvation of Jesus.