The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), July 19
Spiritual leaders who abuse their role for personal profit misrepresent God to their people. Judah’s leaders used their platform to enrich themselves; they were not men of conviction but profiteers—commercial religionists.
God called Micah to speak to the leaders of Jerusalem regarding the abuse of their positions for personal gain, “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity . . . . Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD, and say, ’Is not the LORD among us?’” (Micah 3:8-9,11).
Micah was from a small town called Moresheth, in rural southwest Judah—yet he had no problem indicting the corrupt leaders of Jerusalem, the commercial religionists who abused their positions of influence for personal gain. Micah promised that Jerusalem would become a heap of ruins” and that the temple would be “like the bare hills of the forest” (3:12). Jeremiah quoted Micah’s prophecy thirty years later (Jer. 26:18).
Religion attracts profiteers—men who happily charade themselves as “men of God” while they represent their own interests.
When Elijah killed the 400 prophets of Baal, it was only a few short years until Ahab had another group of 400. Commercial religionists seem to thrive while God’s prophets serve Him regardless of personal benefit. They are men of conviction that cannot be bought. They understand that:
- Justice cannot be bought. No matter how man may redefine as good what God has called evil, God’s prophets will always sound a clarion call declaring sin for what it truly is.
- Truth is not merchandise; unlike information, it cannot be purchased. Sadly, many pay money to hear lies, while God offers truth freely to whoever will receive it.
- No man knows the future. The future must be revealed by God.
- The man of God must speak the truth regardless of its popularity or rejection.
- The truth God reveals will always come to pass, even if it presently looks foolish.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Is. 34-35; Micah 2-5):
What does Isaiah’s message to the nations reveal about God?
How does Isaiah 35 give hope to God’s people in the midst of judgment?
Micah provides insight to the spiritual climate of Israel’s leaders as they face the Assyrian threat. How had Judah’s leaders and the powerful people in their midst abused their power?
Micah speaks of a far distant day when God will establish the land of Israel as a blessing to the nations. How will this fulfill the promise that God made in Abraham in Genesis 12:3? What does this reveal about God and the promises that He makes?
What promise does the Lord make regarding Judah’s messiah?
Review God’s promise regarding Judah’s descendants in Genesis 49:10. How will the LORD fulfill that promise?