International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday July 12, 2015
Purpose: To examine the temptation to use rather than to serve others
Bible Lesson: Micah 3:5-12
Background Scripture: Micah 3
Key Verse: But me! I am filled with power, with the spirit of the Lord, with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his wrongdoing and to Israel his sin! (Micah 3:8)
Micah 3:5-12 (CEB)
(5) The Lord proclaims concerning the prophets, those who lead my people astray, those who chew with their teeth and then proclaim “Peace!” but stir up war against the one who puts nothing in their mouths: (6) Therefore, it will become night for you, without vision, only darkness without divination! The sun will set on the prophets; the day will be dark upon them. (7) Those seeing visions will be ashamed, and the diviners disgraced; they will all cover their upper lips, for there will be no answer from God. (8) But me! I am filled with power, with the spirit of the Lord, with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his wrongdoing and to Israel his sin! (9) Hear this, leaders of the house of Jacob, rulers of the house of Israel, you who reject justice and make crooked all that is straight, (10) who build Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with injustice! (11) Her officials give justice for a bribe, and her priests teach for hire. Her prophets offer divination for silver, yet they rely on the Lord, saying, “Isn’t the Lord in our midst? Evil won’t come upon us!” (12) Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become piles of rubble, and the temple mount will become an overgrown mound.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
The prophet Micah may not be as well-known as some of the other prophets but it is Micah that tells us where the Messiah will be born.(5:2) And how the LORD will have the final say. It is Micah’s words inscribed at the United Nations building in NYC. “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.” (4:3)
Most historians believe it was Micah’s prophesy that inspired King Hezekiah to tear down the altars to idols. The fate of Judah was actually postponed about 100 years.
In today’s text, Micah blast all of the leaders of Israel and Judah. He condemns the prophets that only say what those paying for the prophesy wants to hear. The priest that only teaches for money. And he also condemns the judges that rule according to the highest bidder. Judah was experiencing a time of, “get all you can get while the getting is good.” And it affected every aspect of life in Judah. Corruptions had become absolute. It had trickled down to the merchants, as well as the rulers.
While Micah does not tell us about his call, he does testify in verse 8 that what he says comes from the spirit of the LORD.
Life in Judah had become like a game of who could manipulate who. Everyone seemed to be on the “take.” Nothing was done that was not profitable. Preachers, lawyers, governors, merchants all were only interested in what was in it for themselves.
When I look at America today and see the millions of dollars poured into campaigns by individuals, companies, and other governments you have to wonder what they want. I doubt there are very many contributors who do not expect favors from the winners.
What about us? Are we letting the preachers that tickle our ears with words we want to hear, influence us? Are we guilty of looking the other way, when injustice comes? Are we part of the crowd that does not want to stand up for God? Are we like those in Judah and Israel that says, “Isn’t the Lord in our midst? Evil won’t come upon us!”
Because of Micah’s preaching Judah was given more time. But the judgement came just as Micah had prophesied. Repentance can postpone God’s judgement, or as in Jonah’s case God can call off His judgement. God would have saved Sodom for 10 righteous people, but there was not 10 to be found.
Clearly God wants to postpone His judgement as long as He can. However unless there is an outpouring of righteousness He will have no choice. Remember to God righteousness is simply loving the LORD with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself. That love overcomes all of the self-centeredness that exist in our present world. As the hymn writer says, “Lord I want to be a Christian in my heart.”