God's Special People (Micah)

Scripture: Micah 6:8, Micah 1:1-9
Date: 05/18/2013 
Lesson: 7
"Even amid the worst apostasy, the Lord was willing to forgive and heal his people."
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church located in California, on the west coast of the United States of America. Sacramento is California's capital city and we are coming to you, like we do every week, ready to sing your favorite songs and open up God's Word and study together. Today is no exception. We're singing a great song - 'give me the Bible'. This is a request from jizelle and patrick in antigua and barbuda, steen in denmark, les in florida, avigail in Georgia, dustin in honduras, denel and jose in Massachusetts, tina and katharine in Montana, selina and jonathan in the netherlands, fabian in New York, clint in new zealand, jared in Oklahoma, jael in Oregon, juvy may in the Philippines, kofi in saint lucia, kaifiti in the Solomon islands - it's exciting to hear from the Solomon islands - leroy in south africa, ana, bj and aiza in south korea, Johnny in Texas, nickey in Virginia, martin in Washington, and milimo in zambia and then via our Facebook page this morning we got a couple messages - one from tracy - she says, 'my girls are sick so we won't be making it to church today so we'll be watching from kimberly Oregon.

' So guys, get well and welcome. And then also, carol sue will also be watching from Oregon so that's exciting hearing from our online family. So get well and we're going to sing 'give me the Bible' #272 - all three stanzas. Thank you so much for sending in your requests. If you have one that we haven't sung yet, or we have and it's been awhile and you just love The Song, go ahead, go to our website at 'saccentral.

org', click on the 'contact us' link and send in your favorite. And we're working our way through all the favorites that have come in over the years and we're doing pretty good. So that is encouraging news if you're still waiting for your song, it might not be much longer and we will sing it. Our new song - we have two because they're both really short so it's kind of equal to singing one normal-length song. #52 - 'Now the day is over' - I have loved this one since I was a little girl.

It's a beautiful melody. We're going to do #52 and #53 so let's start with #52. And this is from emanuel in malaysia - he requested this one - #52. Wasn't that beautiful? We're still in the 'evening worship' section. We'll be out of that very shortly.

Now, #53 - the fourth stanza may be very interesting to you if you look at the words of that. It's the doxology. Interesting, huh? Totally different tune. So #53 it's a request by kenyon and felicia in australia, ameidi, abelino, valencia and wilbert in belize, alex in hungary, rajesh in india, janice in jamaica, una in New Jersey, joyann in New York, meliver in the Philippines, and chatim in sudan. So #53 - we'll do the - all four stanzas.

Thank you so much for sending in your requests and I hope that you are enjoying learning the new songs right along with us. So keep sending them in. At this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for the things that you give us that we can be thankful for. There's many things in this world that are not beautiful - they're ugly and they're painful but there's so much beauty that is still here for us to enjoy and we thank you for loving us and for caring for us.

We thank you so much for the Sabbath you have blessed us with where we can take 24 hours to forget about the things we have to do and just focus on each other, on you - thank you. I pray you'll be with our speaker as he brings us the lesson study and that you'll open up our hearts for what you want to tell us today. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is our senior pastor here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church.

Thank you debbie and our musicians and I want to welcome our friends that are visiting today. Any from the area? Sometimes we have people come in and visit from parts unknown. We're glad that you're here at central church. I always want to take a minute and make sure and welcome those who are watching either online or you're one of our satellite members of Sacramento central or one of our regular students that study with us each week and it always scares me - I meet people as I travel and they say, 'yes I teach class and so we watch your lesson before I teach.' And so I'm always intimidated to think teachers are watching, so we welcome you as well. And we're going to be getting into our study in just a moment, continuing with major lessons from the minor prophets.

As we typically do, we have a free offer that goes along with our study today and it's one of the Amazing Facts study guides. It's called, 'is obedience legalism?' We'll send it to you for asking when you call the number and that number - 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #706 and we'll send this to you for free - 'is obedience legalism?' - It's really a very important question. Today we're dealing with the book of Micah. We're studying 'major lessons from the minor prophets' and by the grace of God we're going to cover the whole lesson today in the book of Micah. Micah's a very interesting book.

He's one of the most ancient of the old testament prophets and this is lesson #7 in your study and we have a memory verse - well the name of the lesson is 'God's special people' - studying the book of Micah - 'God's special people'. And the memory verse comes to us from Micah 6, verse 8 - Micah 6, verse 8. It says - why don't - well, you can say it with me now. Okay, you ready? "He has shown me o man what is good and what does the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God." Micah, of course, is the author. The name Micah means 'who is as God'.

Now there's two very important names in the Bible that are related to that. One of them is 'Michael' and Michael is using the name of God 'elohim'. Whenever you see 'el' in a name in the Bible - Elijah, Elisha, rachel, Daniel, Michael, eliezer - 'el' was a very common part of Hebrew names because is was one of the names of God 'elohim' - it's coming from the name elohim. The other common name of God you find in the Bible is the name - either jehovah or yahweh. Jehovah, as we talked in our sermon last week, is more the latinized version of yahweh and so you'll hear 'yah' or 'ah' in a name.

Micah means 'who is as God'. It could be a statement, it could be a question. Michael means 'who is as God' too, it's using the 'elohim' name of God. So the names are very similar. Now there is another old testament prophet you're going to read about, michaiah and he is not the same prophet.

He lived about 130 years earlier. You remember when king ahab and king jehoshephat were on their thrones and michaiah comes along and he says, 'if you go to battle' - to ahab - 'you're going to die. Israel will be scattered on the hills without a shepherd.' And ahab said, 'put him in jail and feed him with the bread and water of affliction' and michaiah was put in jail. That's another prophet with a similar name. There are about ten Micahs in the Bible and a couple of them are women.

You remember David had a wife - the daughter of Saul - named Michael. There's a micaiah, which was the granddaughter of absalom that married rehaboam, which would have been his cousin, I guess. And so you'll find the name is very common in the Bible. It's asking 'who is like God?' And it's really - the name is the Hebrew way of bragging about their God - 'there is no God like our God. Who is like our God?' Or it could be a statement like in the name of Jesus 'who is as God, Michael.

Michael the archangel means 'the greatest messenger who is as God.' Well, that's probably too much on the name. Anyways, so this is the name of that prophet and I just wanted to delineate him from the other famous prophet by the same name. He lived during the time of three Kings: jotham, ahaz and hezekiah. Matter of fact, if you go to the book of Micah and you read there in the first verse, "the word of the Lord that came to Micah of moresheth in the days of jotham, ahaz, and hezekiah, Kings of judah, which he saw concerning samaria and Jerusalem." Now, it tells us that he's from moresheth. Moresheth was a town and, matter of fact, in the book of Micah he talks about moresheth-gath.

It was in - you know where there were five philistine cities - ekron, gath, and I can't remember the other three right now, but gath - where is Goliath from? Gath. It was the plain about 40 miles southwest of Jerusalem. It was good farming area and from that plain it kind of stretched off until you hit the ocean, but it was good farm land. So he lived on the border of the philistines. He was from the farm is what you can say about Micah and that's why he speaks up in behalf of the poor.

Now it tells us that he is speaking during the time of jotham, ahaz and hezekiah. I want to - just to give you the background to understand his message, you've got to know a little bit about the history of this time. So in your Bibles I want you to go to 2 Chronicles, chapter 29 - Chronicles, chapter - well, tell you what, let's go to Chronicles 27. Let's read a little bit about two of those Kings. I think most of us know about hezekiah.

Was hezekiah a good king or a bad king? He was, for the most part, a good king. How about jotham? Good king or bad king? He's called a good king but people were doing bad things during his reign. Ahaz - good king or bad king? Bad king. Now jotham, you can read here in chapter 27 - 2 Chronicles 27:1, "jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was jerushah the daughter of zadok" - zadok was a priest - "and he did what was right in the sight of the lord, according to all that his father uzziah had done (although he did not enter the temple of the Lord).

" Now, do you know why he didn't enter the temple? What happened when king uzziah went into the temple and he thought he could burn incense? Because only the priests were supposed to do that - The Sons of aaron - he broke out with leprosy even though he was a good king. And when your father goes into the temple and he's struck with leprosy it could kind of send shivers up your spine and so he didn't go into the temple of the Lord. But it says, "but" - notice here, I'm in verse 2 - "still the people acted corruptly." So Micah is preaching against the corruption of the people during his day. It starts all the way back during the time of jotham. Good king, but he wasn't really teaching the people and so there was corruption among the people during his time.

But then look what happens after he dies. He doesn't reign very long, he dies at about 40 and he has a son named ahaz. Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king and he reigned 16 years - about the same length of time as his father in Jerusalem and 'he did not do what was right in the sight of his lord as his father David had done, for he walked in the ways of the Kings of Israel.' Now the Kings of Israel - that's in samaria in the northern kingdom - they were just sold out to idolatry. And it says, 'he burned incense in the valley of The Son of hinnom.' That later became a dump known as gahenum and Jesus said it was a place where 'the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die' and so you didn't want to go to gahenum. Well he's burning - one reason they turned it into a dump is because manasseh and ahaz had idols to pagan Gods in the valley of gahenum and so they turned it into a dump when hezekiah came along.

They said, 'you know, we don't want to revere this place that had been defiled by pagan Gods.' Not only that, but it goes on to say, 'he walked in the ways of the Kings of Israel, he made a molded image for the baals, he burned incense in the valley of hinnom, he burned his children in the fire according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. And he sacrificed and burned incense on all the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.' So a curse and judgement fell upon them during that time. Well, things began to turn for the better during the time of hezekiah and you're going to notice, when you get to the end of the book of Micah, he starts prophesying some hope and it's because toward the end of his time the people began to turn back towards the Lord, to some extent, during the time of hezekiah. You can really outline the book of Micah in three ways: you've got first prediction of judgment - we'll talk about that in a minute - then you've got a prediction of restoration. Micah talks about the Messiah coming.

And then you've got the third section - and this would be chapters 6 and 7 - it talks about a plea for repentance. And so there's a structure here to the book. Well, go right away to verse 2 - chapter 1, verse 2, "hear all you peoples! Listen, o earth, and all that is in it! Let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.' Now when he talks about the Lord in his holy temple, is he talking about the temple of Solomon or is he thinking higher than that? Notice, "for behold, the Lord is coming out of his place; he will come down" - well, he didn't need to come down out of the temple to judge Jerusalem, they were on the same elevation. They recognized the temple on the earth was just a representation of a greater temple in heaven. What's the lord going to do? Notice right away he talks about the coming of the Lord - so Micah was an adventist, wasn't he? An adventist is someone who believes in the coming of the Lord.

"Behold the Lord is coming" - does that sound like it could be new testament? "the Lord is coming out of his place; he will come down and tread on the high places of the earth. The mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place. All this for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. For what is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not samaria?" - This is the capital of the northern kingdom - "and what are the high places of judah? Are they not Jerusalem?" So his judgment is a universal judgment, even though Israel had split at this point - ten tribes in the north - they'd kind of gone after idolatry. You've got the tribes of Benjamin, levi and judah in the south, but here God is now giving them a message through Micah to both.

He was a prophet, really, with a message to the entire people of Israel, which tells us that it also applies to us because we're spiritual Israel. This is a message of impending judgment. Someone look up for me Revelation 16:20. Who has that? We gave out some little slips - right up here. And while we're finding that, I'm going to go to Revelation chapter 6.

Now you're going to read Revelation 16:20, I'm going to Revelation 6 and we're going to read the sixth seal starting at verse 12. When it talks about Micah coming down - the Lord - Micah talks about the Lord coming down and the mountains melting before him, how does it describe the coming of the Lord here? And this is in Revelation chapter 6, verse 12, "I looked and when he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. And the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island" - now some of these things have happened, historically, haven't they? There was a prominent day when the stars fell and the moon turned to blood and the sun went dark, but are these things also going to happen in quick succession when Jesus comes? They are. You see that from Matthew 24 - "and the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.

" - That hasn't happened yet - "and the Kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, 'fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne'" - this is God coming. They see him - "'and from the wrath of the lamb! For the great day of his wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'" So you can see there's even apocalyptic message here in the book of Micah about the Lord's coming and a judgment. And this is still in the future. This is going to happen, friends. And you're going to read for us now a similar verse in Revelation 6 - I'm sorry Revelation - yeah, 16, verse 20.

Revelation 16:20, "then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." You know, we're scheduled to do a camp meeting in Hawaii this fall and when you think about an island people love to go to - no one can deny - I mean, australia's an island, isn't it? But it's almost - it's like a continent - but when you think of an island, you can't deny that Hawaii is an island and so whenever I think about this verse - it's also one of the tallest mountains in the world, did you know that? If you measure the island of Hawaii from the sea floor, it's taller than mount everest. It just comes right up from the sea floor and - is it mona loa, mona kea - I don't know which is the taller of the two - it goes to like 13,000 feet - and you add that all up and it's like -something thousand feet above the sea floor. And it says, every island and every mountain will melt away when the Lord comes. That hasn't happened yet, has it? So here, Micah is talking about the islands and the mountains melting away under the Lord. Psalm 112, verse 10, "the wicked will see it and be grieved; he will gnash his teeth and melt away;" - there you've got that again, David talking about it.

Of course David wrote this before Micah - "and melt away; the desire of the wicked shall perish." You can also jump to verse 5 of Micah chapter 1, why? "All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not samaria? And what are the high places of judah? Are they not Jerusalem?" So the capital of the southern kingdom was what city? Jerusalem. The capital of the ten tribes was samaria. And so he's saying, you know, it's being - it's coming from the leadership, this apostasy is happening and it's trickling down into the people. Both capitals were worshiping other Gods at the time.

Alright, then it talks about the agony of the prophet's heart. If you look in Micah 1 - wait, first let me get someone to look up - who has Numbers 11:11? We gave that to somebody - over here. Hold your hand up kathleen. And I think we gave out another one - yeah, someone's got 1 Kings 19:14 - okay, jolyne. You know it's tough to be a prophet.

Godly people will appreciate it when you prophecy, especially if you're talking about judgment - they want to know and prepare, but a lot of people will resent it and they'll call you everything from crazy to deluded and when you're a prophet and you see what's happening to God's people, it can grieve you. What does Micah say? "Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked;" - anyone want to put in your resume for prophet? Would you like to go to 'jobs.com' and apply - see if you could be a prophet? What's the job description? "I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like the jackals and a mourning like the ostriches, for her wounds are incurable. For it has come to judah; it has come to the gate of my people - to Jerusalem." Now here he's foretelling that Jerusalem - Micah's the first prophet that foretells a great judgment is coming on Jerusalem and this is not the main prophecy on that. Alright, read for us Numbers 11:11, okay? Numbers 11:11, "so Moses said to the Lord, 'why have you afflicted your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you have laid the burden of all these people on me?" Would you want to be Moses and be responsible for 1.8 million children? And they were the children of Israel. But here you had slaves and you had to turn them into an army and a nation and whenever they sinned it just broke Moses' heart.

In Jeremiah 8:21, here's another prophet. "For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt. I am mourning; astonishment has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?" Jeremiah sometimes is called 'the weeping prophet'. Is it easy to be a prophet? Alright, someone's got 1 Kings :14.

"And he said, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." Alright, when Elijah makes this statement, where is he? He's back at Mount Sinai. He's in a cave. Why? Because after this big revival on Mount Carmel, when all the prophets of baal were slain and the fire came down and God did this wonder and the rain came down, the next day the queen jezebel put a price on Elijah's head and he had to run for his life. He just wanted to bring revival and he thought, 'as long as jezebel's still in power will there ever be revival?' And so he got discouraged and he went off - ran out into the desert, got under a broom tree and just said, 'lord, I'm going to go on a hunger strike.

Just kill me. It's not - I shouldn't even live anymore.' And an angel came to him and brought him some food. You remember that story? So finally he prays and tells the Lord what's the problem. He says, 'I'm the only one left.' A prophet - sometimes it's a lonely life. Now he wasn't the only one but he felt it, didn't he? He felt - I mean you live by a creek for a couple of years and you're fed by crows and then you have to live in the attic of a widow and hide for another year and a half? I mean, he felt pretty lonely.

And so, the life of a prophet can be pretty tough. Listen to Ezekiel. It says in Ezekiel 24:15, "also the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'son of man, behold," - now Ezekiel was in persia when he had this prophecy - "I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh in silence," - it doesn't mean you won't sigh, but do it in silence - "make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man's bread of sorrow. So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.

" God told him, he says, 'your wife is going to die.' And - now this is a difficult passage - I mean, here Ezekiel's a prophet doing what God says, you think he's going to bless him. And he said, 'no.' He said - just in the course of life. I don't know if there were other issues involved. It's not - it may not be that God struck her to make a point. It could have been health, but God told him this is going to happen.

He said, 'I'm going to use it for an illustration.' He said, 'as much as you love your wife, I love my church.' - I'm paraphrasing the message of Ezekiel here - 'and the people are going to be judged and they're going to lose their loved ones.' Do you remember when aaron's sons nadab and abihu were struck because they went into the temple - they were intoxicated and they brought strange fire? And when they were struck by the lord God said, 'do not mourn, do not rend your robes, you're the high priest.' But this is - there's going to be mourning among the people. Mourn quietly. So it's tough to be a prophet, isn't it? 2 Corinthians 11:23 - this is Paul now, I picked one from the new testament. Paul says - he's talking about the other apostles - he says, "are they ministers of Christ? - I speak as a fool - I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons" - stripes, you know what that means. When you were whipped it left stripes on your back and he's saying, 'I was whipped more.

' - "In stripes above measure," - I can't even count - in prisons more frequently," - can you imagine Paul's rap sheet? "In deaths often. From the jews five times I received forty stripes minus one." - You were allowed to whip a person up to 39 times. You weren't allowed to be whipped 40 times lest you feel contempt for those made in the image of God. - "Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;" - you'd be waterlogged - "in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness," - in the country, in the city - "in perils in the sea," - on land and in sea - "in perils among false brethren;" - some who I thought were safe turned out to be hypocrites. He said - who was it? 'Demetrius the silversmith did me much harm' - "in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness - besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

" It could be tough to be called by the Lord. Paul saw Jesus. Would you like to see Jesus? Would you like everything else that goes with it? Say, 'oh, I'd like to have a vision.' John had wonderful vision and he was a prisoner when he had it too, wasn't he? And so, Micah is one of those who reminds us it can be tough to be a prophet. Now there's something we're reminded about here in 1 Peter. There's suffering in life.

There's suffering if you follow the Lord and there's suffering if you don't. It is better to follow the Lord. You know, I get annoyed and aggravated when I hear pastors - I turned on some Christian program last night and I heard a pastor promising prosperity to everybody and Karen and I switched the channel pretty quick, but he was doing that 'name it and claim it' - you know, everything's going to be wonderful. And it is true, God blesses his people. There are a lot of blessings you can read about in Deuteronomy 28 and other places.

God promises for those that love him and that obey him but there are also trials. Job was a greatly blessed man, right? But when you talk about a man who went through the biggest struggles in the Bible, who do you mention? I mean, it only lasted a few weeks, but it was tough. And then he blessed the latter end of job even more than the beginning. So yes, it is better to serve the Lord, but the idea that you're not going to have struggles - 'all that live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.' And Jesus said, 'if they have persecuted me, if you follow me, they'll persecute you.' So there's going to be trials in life, just accept it. It's a lot easier once you brace yourself and you prepare for it.

The question is, 'are you suffering because of decisions you've made - because you're doing something wrong? Or are you suffering for your faith? Have you met people before that are going through trials and they act like it's because they're Christians but you know very well it's because of decisions they've made that were not very wise. It has nothing to do with their Christianity. Peter talks about that. Peter 4:14, "if you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you." Didn't Jesus say, 'if you're persecuted for righteousness sake rejoice and be exceeding glad'? Right? "On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter." So he's saying, you know, 'if you're going to suffer, make sure it's for righteousness sake.' How much of your suffering can you say has come because of your faithfulness or is it because of unfaithfulness? That was in the lesson so don't get mad at me. Alright, now we're going to go to Micah 2 - wow, we've got a lot left. We're going to go to Micah 2:1 and 2. And someone look up for me Micah , verse 12 - Micah 3, verse 12 who has that? Did I see a hand? We gave out - yeah, yeah? Oh, it's way over here. Okay, you'll get that in just a minute.

And I'm going to read for you Micah 2, verses 1 and 2, "woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and they take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance." We read there in 2 Chronicles where it says during the time of jotham, even though he was a good king, the people did wickedly. the Lord had blessed the nation with prosperity but the people began to worship money as a God and they were devising new ways to get more and more and they'd lay awake on their beds at night and they'd say, 'you know, if I do this and this, ah, you know, I can trick them into selling it for a cheaper price and I can seize this or I can sue for it.' Or, you know, who knows what they were thinking, but they were using evil means to grasp and gain and there was greed. And Micah says, 'woe!' Does James also say, 'woe to you rich people who are striving and conniving to get' - and he's principally saying, 'those of you who are grinding down the poor to get it'? There was a lot of that that was going on then.

In Psalms - and, of course, there was a lot of idolatry too - in Psalms 115, verse 4 - we talked about this a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about the Ten Commandments - "their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them." Here the people had gotten into idolatry and it just tells you how vain and futile that is. Alright, are we ready? You're going to read for us, I think it's Micah 3, verse 12. Micah 3:12, "therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.

" Wow, can you imagine being a prophet? One of the seven wonders of the world - it's not listed among the typical wonders of antiquity - you've got the colossus of rhodes and the pyramids and there were the hanging gardens of Babylon, but in reality, one of the wonders of antiquity was the temple of Solomon. Have you read about the wealth that was in that? The gold and the bronze and the marble and it just shone in the sun and it was just so magnificent and for you to be a prophet and say, 'see where this temple is? This is going to be a field that will be plowed.' Now this is one of the first prophecies that was made - it is the first prophecy in the Bible that was made by a prophet that said Jerusalem would be destroyed. You remember when Jesus - they showed Jesus all of the buildings of the temple and Christ said, 'there won't be one stone left upon another here'? Micah is sort of like Jesus here in that Micah foretold the destruction of the temple - it was rebuilt - Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple - and both prophets were persecuted - and it was rebuilt - it was rebuilt in that you and I are the temple of God. That's why Jesus said, 'destroy this temple made with hands and in three days I'll make one without hands.' And he spoke of his body, right? The temple of God. Do we know that Micah was a prophet? You know, how do these guys pick these minor prophets and believe in them? Do you believe Jeremiah was a prophet? Well, because his prophecies came true.

Now what does Jeremiah say about Micah? You know, some of these prophets talk about each other. Jeremiah 26:18, "Micah the morasthite" - you don't have to guess which one it is, it's the same Micah, same name - first and last name, you might say, that you find in the book of Micah - "prophesied in the days of hezekiah king of judah, and spake to all the people of judah, saying, 'thus sayeth the lord of hosts: 'Zion will be plowed like a field and Jerusalem will become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.'" High place in a forest - sometime - you ever seen a mountain that's got forest around it but the very top of the mountain is bald because the wind hits it? And he's talking about like a forest where you've got the high place in a forest - the mountain is bald. And back in Bible times, a lot of the pagan nations, they'd find a high mountain, they'd cut down the trees and they'd put their shrines there. It was a bald spot on the mountain. There are a lot of mountains around that are called 'mount baldy' and you know how many mount baldies there are? Because there's no trees on it.

Well, what he was saying is that Jerusalem is going to have bushes going around the edges and where the temple is is going to be flat. Did that happen? Did that prophecy come true? Partially when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple they did knock it all down, but there were - there was rubble and stone still left, but what did Jesus say was going to happen? 'There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down. Now listen to what Josephus the historian says about when Titus, the roman general, destroyed Jerusalem. Did that prophecy come true? "After Titus had taken Jerusalem he ordered his soldiers to demolish it except three of the largest and most beautiful towers and the western wall of the city" - which is still there today. We call it the wailing wall.

By the way, the valleys around Jerusalem used to be much deeper. Jerusalem was a fortress because it had a city built surrounded by deep valleys, making attack very difficult. When you go to Jerusalem today, much of those valleys are built up. You know why? Because when the city was destroyed, both in the days of Nehemiah - I'm sorry, in the days of Jeremiah and during the time, again, of the Romans. What do you think they did with all the stones from all the houses and all the temples and fortresses in the city? They just pushed them off into the lowest point.

They all rolled into the valleys and these deep valleys that made it a fortress city filled in. They used to be much, much deeper than they are now. Oh, I'm not done here telling you what Josephus said. The only thing that was left were those towers and the western wall of the city. "The rest was leveled so that they who had never seen it before could scarcely persuade themselves that it had been inhabited.

" That busy city - they looked at it and couldn't even believe that it had been inhabited. The Jewish writer also informs us that turnus rufus, who Titus had left in command, "he plowed up the very foundations of the temple." Isn't that what Micah said would happen? It'd be like a field that was plowed. And when dr. Richardson visited the sacred spot in 1818 - that's not that long ago - "he found one part of Mount Zion supporting a crop of barley and another undergoing the labor of the plow. Even as recently as 1818 - you know Jerusalem was the - the city was not what you see today, even if you go back 150 years or years - it was pretty much still demolished.

It had stayed that way for years. After all the fighting from the crusades and after the fighting from the Romans and the fighting from the Babylonians, it had fallen into great disrepair and they were planting crops on the place where the temple was. Isn't that something? Just what he foretold would happen. Then, Micah also prophesied that there would be a time when they would chant peace. Now if you chant something, what does that mean? Say it more than once, right? If I were to tell you to chant the word 'holy', you'd say, 'holy, holy, holy.

' If I were to tell you to chant 'peace', you'd say 'peace, peace', right? Do you find that phrase other places in the Bible? Jeremiah chapter - oh wait, somebody look up for me Thessalonians 5:3 - who got that slip? Over here? Thessalonians 5:3 - we'll do that in just a moment. If you read in Jeremiah chapter :14, "they've healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly saying, 'peace, peace' when there is no peace." And that's very famous for many of the false prophets to prophecy peace. Now, if you were the devil, and if some judgment was coming and you didn't want people to repent and prepare, wouldn't you have those false prophets saying, 'don't worry, it's going to be okay. Peace, peace - preaching smooth things. It says the church, in the last days, will gather unto themselves teachers, they'll have itching ears, preaching smooth things unto them.

Everything's going to be all right. 'We've got a millennium of peace that's going to come. You'll get raptured away before there's any trials. Don't worry about anything.' Isn't that kind of what's happening today? Alright, go ahead and read for us Thessalonians 5:3. Over here.

"For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." Now that happened before the destruction of Jerusalem. There was a period when the Romans first surrounded Jerusalem and it looked like the city was going to be destroyed and there was a change in government back in rome and the forces withdrew and the prophets - the false prophets around Jerusalem began to say, 'peace, peace. Everything's going to be alright. We don't need to worry. Just as we said, God's going to fight for us.

' And the Christians knew that was their signal to flee. Later, Titus came back with the army and you can read 'Great Controversy'. It was terrible what happened. Sudden destruction came upon them because they had been listening to the warnings of 'peace, peace'. Instead of repenting, they thought everything was okay.

Will that happen again just before the second coming? Will the false prophets of this beast power be proclaiming 'follow what we're saying and we'll have peace. There'll be peace'? And it's not going to happen. Sudden destruction will come and it goes on and says, 'like a woman in labor.' You know, sometimes a woman, when she finally goes into labor she has second thoughts about whether or not she really does want to have a baby, but at that point, you don't really have a choice, do you? And so that's what he's saying is, you know, there'll be no repentance at that point. They've waited too long. And again, if you read in Micah 3:11, "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? No harm can come upon us.'" Again, did Jesus deal with that in his time where he said that 'you'll pray long prayers and then you devour widow's houses'? And they developed all these ways to extort the people for money - declare corbin over their estate. 'Give it to the church, we'll keep it.' Now here's one of the great verses in Micah we're going to read next. This is in Micah 5, verse 2. A new ruler from Bethlehem - this is a prophecy that's hard to miss. Somebody look up for me Matthew 2 - who got Matthew , verse 5? Right up here.

Let's get the microphone. Hold your hand up mike. And you're going to be doing Matthew chapter 2, verses 5 and 6. I'm going to read a similar passage. Matthew - I'm sorry, Micah 2, verse - no, no, Micah 5, verse 2.

That's what happens when you're lysdexic. "But you, Bethlehem ephrathah, thought you are little among the thousands of judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the one to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting." His goings forth are from everlasting. Now, does the new testament believe that Micah was a prophet? Go ahead, read that for us. It's appropriate that mike is reading this. Matthew 2, verses 5 and 6, "so they said to him in Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 'but you, Bethlehem, in the land of judah, are not the least among the rulers of judah; for out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.

'" Alright, so can we believe that Micah is a prophet? Does Jeremiah in the old testament endorse Micah as a prophet? Does Matthew in the new testament endorse Micah as a prophet? Does Micah the prophet - did his prophecies come true? Oh yeah they did, very clearly. Does Micah say the Lord is coming? Will he come? So that always kind of is encouraging to me that, boy, here you've got this minor prophet but he's got a major message and you can see that the old testament endorsed him as a prophet. The new testament endorsed him as a prophet. Everything that Micah said happened. We can trust the things that he prophesied that haven't happened yet - the Lord coming and mountains melting before him, and that there's going to be a judgment.

Is that going to happen too? Huh? Amen? You know something else about that verse where it said, in Micah, 5:2, speaking of Jesus coming, that he'd come from Bethlehem, "whose goings forth are from old, even from everlasting." By the way, when the wise men went to herod and herod inquired of the scribes 'where is the Messiah coming from?' Where did the scribes tell? They said, 'go looking in Bethlehem.' They knew the Messiah was coming from Bethlehem. They had problems with Jesus because they weren't too sure where he came from. They thought, 'well didn't he come from nazareth? Isn't he up in Galilee? It wasn't until later they found out that actually he was born in Bethlehem. Son of David and the family substantiated that. His goings forth are from everlasting.

Does Jesus have a beginning? Did Jesus' beginning happen in Bethlehem? Or did he exist before that? So Micah is telling about the Messiah who would come into Bethlehem, who existed before his birth. This is very clear, talking about the divinity of Christ. Jesus said, 'before Abraham was, I am.' He used the same title for God that you find in the - in books of Moses there. Micah 5, verses 4 to 5, and he said, "and he shall stand and feed his flock" - another messianic prophecy - "in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and this one shall be peace." He's talking about one. Now in my Bible - I've got the new king James version - that word 'one' is capitalized because it's a name.

He is the one. Shall be peace. He'll be a shepherd for his people. So these are - he'll stand and feed his flock - did Jesus feed the flock with the Word of God? And again, you go to verse 7 - just showing you some of the prophecies here - "then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples," - this is another great prophecy of Micah that came true. The nation of Israel always thought 'God planted us in the promised land and here we are and here we will stay.

' And God said, 'no, Jerusalem is going to be conquered and you're going to be scattered and you will be in the midst of many peoples. Like the dew on the ground is evenly dispersed, I am going to disperse you all over the world.' Not only is this something that happened to the jews - were the jews scattered all over the roman empire? Have you read in acts chapter 2 on pentecost when the Holy Spirit's poured out? It says, 'now there were dwelling in Jerusalem jews, devout men from out of every nation under heaven.' They came from every nation under heaven. Even after they'd been brought back to Israel, they were still scattered everywhere. But it's more than that. I think it's also talking about spiritual Israel.

The seed of Christ - Jesus said, 'go into all the world' and he wants his people scattered like the dew. the Spiritual Israelites all over the world. Amen? In the midst of many peoples like the dew from the Lord. Dew is something that gives life. It's refreshing, right? We are to be scattered like salt, like light, like that refreshing dew all around the world to have that positive influence.

And then my favorite verse that we sang about a few minutes ago, Micah 6, verses 6 through 8. You know, I like bottom-line simple verses in the Bible. Some things in the Bible are, you know, they're college level, they're deep, profound truths in the Bible that make - might go over our heads. And some things you think, 'I'm glad that Micah was a farmer because I get this.' And this is one of those verses. It says in verse 6, "with what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?" - Do I bring something from the flock? - "Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams," - Solomon offered thousands when they dedicated the temple - "ten thousand rivers of oil?" - These were all things that they would bring.

They had offerings of bread and offerings of oil - "will the Lord be pleased" - oh, I'm sorry - "shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" - According to the Bible, all the firstborn were consecrated to the Lord. Christ was a type of that, he was the first of mary. And then he says, let me sum it up for you. What sacrifice are you going to give that will please God? Thousands of rams, and goats, rivers of oil, giving the firstborn from your children? Now they never did sacrifice their firstborn, but they would make an offering to cover for your firstborn. So what do you give? What's going to please the Lord? How do you get credit and merit with God? What does he want from you? He sums it all up and he says here, "he has shown you, o man," - and that there means humanity - man like in mankind - it's men and women - "he has shown you, o man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you" - what does God want? - "But to do justly," - be righteous, be just - "to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" You're never more like the devil than when you're proud and you're never more like Jesus than when you are truly humble.

the Lord blesses and he gives more grace to the humble. And what does the Lord say about the merciful? 'Blessed are the merciful, they will obtain mercy.' And he wants us to do what is just or what is righteous. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. When king Nebuchadnezzar was in trouble, and he had that dream of the tree and the tree was going to be cut down, Daniel said, 'you're the tree, king, but I've got some advice for you.' You know what he said to him? 'Therefore, o king, let my advice be acceptable to you. Break off your sins by being righteous and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.

' - Righteousness, justice, mercy - 'perhaps it might be a lengthening of your prosperity.' So do these things still matter with God? Does he want us to be just and does he want us to be holy? Amen? Finally, I'll give you one more verse and this is from Matthew 23:23, Jesus said, "woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin," - your herb gardens - "and have neglected" - you've omitted - "the weightier matters" - Micah's talking about the weightier matters ¬- "of the law:" - and what does Jesus say? - "Justice and mercy and" - he includes - "faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." - Don't stop paying your tithe, but make sure you get the priorities right. And that's having justice, mercy, and faith in your life. One more - I want to go to Micah , verse 18, Micah 7, verse 18, that's the last chapter. It says, "who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in mercy.

" - He wants us to be merciful. God delights in mercy - "he will again have compassion on us," - this is that famous verse - "and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins" - how many sins? - "All our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which you have sworn to our fathers from days of old." Is God going to fulfill his plan and his will for his people? He will. And so Micah takes us all the way from the sin to repentance to restoration, mercy - it's all covered in that book.

I want to remind our friends we have a free offer. If you missed it at the beginning of the broadcast it's called, 'is obedience legalism?' We'll send this to you just for asking. As for offer #706 when you call the number on your screen. God bless and our lord be with you until we study again together next week. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at 'amazingfacts.org'. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location. So many possibilities. Amazingfacts.org.

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