Be Humble or Be Humbled

Posted: September 21, 2015 in Micah, Route 66

Route 66: Micah, “Be Humble or Be Humbled”

What happens when God’s people don’t act like His people?  God is going to act.  We’ve said it before, we can either BE humble, or we can be HUMBLED.  Grammatically, it’s the difference between the active & the passive voice…and it’s a big difference.  One is an action we take; the other is an action we receive, or is taken against us.  God calls us to act in humility of heart according to His word.  When we don’t, He will often take steps to humble us & shake us out of our pride.  The end result is often the same, but the process of getting there is a lot more difficult in one than the other.

In the case of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, God’s people chose the more difficult path.  They would have to be humbled by the God they had long abandoned.  They had chosen the path of pride, of wickedness, of oppression – so they themselves would be oppressed and experience great wickedness against them.  Just like God had promised to bring in the Babylonians to punish the Southern Kingdom, God promised to use the Assyrians against the Northern Kingdom.  In fact, it was the Assyrians who would come first, and this was supposed to serve as a stern example to the South.  Sadly, the Southern Jews would pay just as much attention to the warnings of God as did the Northern Samaritans – that is, none.

This is where the book of Micah comes in.  He himself is a man of humble background.  There’s nothing about him that would shout out to others, “Look at me as a man of God!” – but he was still used mightily by the Lord to proclaim God’s inspired word.  In fact, even when Israel did not listen, at least some of Judah did.  His words were remembered for generations to come.  (And of course, they are still remembered today.)

The warning was given to Israel, but the message is still clear to us: stay humble before the Mighty God.  He is exalted & will exalt us in due time.

BACKGROUND:
The 6th of the so-called “Minor” Prophets (Major Prophets = Isaiah-Daniel, Minor Prophets = Hosea-Malachi), the Book of Micah was most likely authored by Micah himself.  As always, some liberal theologians debate this, arguing for a much later author who lived in post-exilic times (after the Jewish return from Babylonian exile).  Yet there’s no compelling reason to doubt.  Although Micah writes of the restoration of Israel, this was a common theme among the prophets & certainly no problem for a man inspired by God the Holy Spirit to write.  In addition, Malachi is even quoted by the people of Jeremiah’s day – certainly long before the return from Babylon.  The best conclusion is the obvious one: that Micah wrote the book that bears his name.

Chronologically, Micah tells us that he received his words from God during the reigns of Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah, which puts it in the range of 750-686BC.  Considering that the Assyrians conquered Samaria in 722-721BC (which is the primary event in view for Micah), that means Micah was one of the last appeals from the Lord towards the Northern Kingdom.  This was their last chance, and they blew it.

SIGNIFICANCE
Considering the amount of ink that is spilled on the wickedness of the wealthy towards the poor & just oppression in general, it would be easy to read Micah as simply an indictment of selfishness & greed.  However, that seems to miss the bigger picture.  Yes, God does want us to be compassionate towards our neighbors & especially those less fortunate than us, but the reason Israel/Samaria engaged in such sins was because they forgot their God.   Between the idolatry, the false prophecy, and the ritualistic insincere worship among the people, that was the reason for all of their other sins of oppression.  They had forgotten that they were supposed to be the people of God, with God as their King, and (as the book of Judges so often writes about earlier generations) every man did what was right in his own eyes.

The truth was that God was supposed to be their King, and one day, He promised He would be.  At the present, they were a rebellious people, thus God declared His judgment.  In the future, they would be ruled over by the Messiah, mysteriously linked with God Himself, and God would reign as King in His kingdom.

That’s a message we still need to hear.  We have a King, and His name is Jesus.  The Messiah that was foretold by Micah has come, and His kingdom has already begun…we just wait to see it in all of its fullness.  So what do we do in the meantime?  Act as His people!  We’re supposed to behave as the people of God.  As we walk humbly with Jesus, we act as citizens of His kingdom, and our Lord is glorified through the actions of His people.

GENERAL OUTLINE
Most scholars divide the Book of Micah into three sections, each one delineated by the opening phrase “Hear now…”  According to that division, these are three separate messages, all compiled into one cohesive book: 1-2, 3-5, 6-7.  That may indeed be how God originally gave the messages to Micah, but we’re going to differ from that outline a bit & follow the book more thematically.  There’s a bit of overlap between those sections, and some are so distinct that they seem to be separate topics altogether.

  • Introduction & Indictment (1-3)
  • The King & Kingdom (4-5)
  • God’s Contention with Israel (6)
  • Confessions and Conclusions (7)

 

Introduction & Indictment
Biography (1:1)
The superscript to the book is fairly straightforward.  We don’t read of Micah’s family background, though we do read of his hometown. [MAP] Moresheth is thought to have been a small town southwest of Jerusalem.  What makes this interesting is that he was a southern prophet writing to a northern people.  The kings he lists were Jewish kings, and his hometown was a Jewish town.  He wasn’t a priest, nor a royal counselor, nor anyone of reputation.  Just a small town guy (living in a lonely world, so to speak J), with nothing significant about him.  Of course there was ONE thing about him: he had been given “the word of the LORD.”  If Micah’s reputation was insignificant, the message he carried was anything but!  Micah was given a word from God, and that changed his entire life.

  • Something similar could be said of any of us.  We may not have the grandest of reputations, pedigrees, or education – but we have the word of God.  We’ve been entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ: the most important message in history.  We might feel insignificant, but our message is not!  Be bold with it.  It’s worth being bold about.

Proclamation of Judgment (1:2-7)
Although 1:1 specifies Samaria and Jerusalem as the subject of his prophecies (and Samaria will really bear the brunt more than anything else), the prophecies begin with a call to all the world.  All peoples everywhere are called upon to hear the Lord’s witness against them (1:2).  God had a judgment planned for the world, and the world was supposed to pay attention as God called us to the carpet.  (IOW, it wasn’t just Israel’s sins that God saw & condemned.  One day, all peoples everywhere will face His righteous judgment!)

What Micah pictured in that judgment was the incredible personal move of God Himself.  The prophet looks forward to the end of the age, as God visibly comes in judgment (as will be seen on the day of Jesus’ glorious 2nd coming).  Micah writes of mountains melting & valleys splitting (1:4) in a terrible display of the power of Almighty God.  (Who will be able to stand in that day?)  He also writes the reason for the move of God: “all this is for the transgression of Jacob.” (1:5)  The sins of His people (both in the northern AND southern kingdom) were so great, that God rose up in judgment against them, and all the world would take notice.

  • Objection: “But I thought God loved His people!”  He does!  Immeasurably so!  Yet His love for Israel does not mean that God won’t judge Israel.  He certainly did in regards to the Assyrians and Babylonians, and He will certainly let Israel endure the days of the Great Tribulation.  In fact, it’ll be the horrendousness of those future days which will be the very thing that humbles Israel enough for them to finally put their faith in Christ.  IOW, God loves His people enough to discipline them.  And He will discipline them just harshly enough for them to get the message.
  • God will do something similar with us as well, when we engage in habitual sin.  When God allows terrible consequences to come into our lives, it doesn’t mean He has stopped loving us.  On the contrary – He’s allowing us to experience whatever is necessary for us to humble ourselves in repentance.  That’s an act of love.  Tough love perhaps, but love, nonetheless.

In vss. 6-7, God specifically turns His attention to Samaria (as opposed to both Northern & Southern kingdoms), and the near judgment of the Assyrians seems to be in view.  The land would be overrun and overturned, and the spiritual harlotry of her idolatry would finally lay desolate (1:7).

Micah’s Mourning (1:8-16)
As a result of all of this judgment, Micah mourns for his northern brethren.  He wails & howls, and witnesses against them by walking around naked.  A bit extreme, perhaps, but a very effective picture of the humiliation that awaited the Samaritans.  God would be likewise stripping the people of their dignity as they were conquered by the Assyrians.

This same fate would come near to Judah, and the news of it to the gate of Jerusalem (1:9), and the call of mourning would be passed around from town to town all over the south (1:10-16).  All of the Jews would mourn for their countrymen – and if they knew what God would allow to come to them, they would mourn for themselves as well.  Indeed, the Assyrians DID conquer Lachish (1:13), and that was the last city they besieged prior to camping out in front of the gate of Jerusalem.  It was only by a miracle of God that the Jews survived, as God killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in a single night (2 Kings 19:35).

Ultimately, both nations would be taken into captivity – exactly as Micah wrote in 1:16.  No one would escape the judgment of God…and no one ever will.

  • Even Christians don’t technically escape God’s judgment.  The grace of the gospel is seen in the fact that Jesus stepped in and took OUR judgment upon Himself.  God’s judgment was still poured out – it was just poured out upon Jesus; not us.

Woe to the Wicked (2:1-5)
Micah proceeds to detail the various sins of the nation, and he begins by looking at those “who devise iniquity” (2:1), with his primary focus upon the wealthy.  These were people who coveted & seized lands, and oppressed other people (2:2).  God declared Himself to be against them (2:3), and proclaimed a time that the tables would be turned and that the oppressor’s own “heritage” & “boundaries” would be taken from him (2:4-5).

Woe to the False Prophets (2:6-11)
Next up are the prophets.  Although God had sent true prophets to His people (Micah was contemporaries with Isaiah, Amos, & Hosea, among other unnamed prophets), the people didn’t want to hear the true word of God.  They derided it as mere “prattle.” (2:6)  Instead of taking God’s words as a comfort & things that “do good to him who walks uprightly” (2:7), they wanted nothing to do with it.  In its place, they desired men who walked “in a false spirit” (2:11), prophesying lies to them.  As long as they believed the word of God affirmed their prosperity (“wine and drink”), then they could go on doing whatever evil they desired, acting as the “enemy” of God (2:8).

  • Things haven’t changed much, have they?  In Paul’s final letter to Timothy, he wrote of the time that people who were supposedly in the church would act as complete pagans, and love pleasure rather than loving God (2 Tim 2:4).  And likewise, they would also look for false prophets and teachers: 2 Timothy 4:3–4, "(3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; (4) and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."  How many Christians get caught up in the false teaching of the day?  They love to hear promises of prosperity, but not sober doctrine.  They want to speculate on the sensational, but not be grounded in the truth.  So many times, they throw their money at false prophets, and deride sound teaching as mere prattle.
  • How we need to value the true word of God!  We don’t have to guess at what it is – we don’t have to have some mystical teacher unlock any secret keys for us – all we need to do is read it for ourselves.  (So read it!)

Crimes of the Rulers (3:1-3)
Finally, Micah turns to the leaders of the people – some of which were perhaps included in the earlier two groups.  These were men who had the power and responsibility to do what was right, and they willfully ignored it.  They hated the good & loved evil (3:2).  Micah describes their sin as completely destructive to the people, as though they chopped up the weak for food. (3:3)

Judgment of the Rulers (3:4-12)
The rulers would face their own judgment and destruction, and although they would cry out to God, God would not hear them (3:4).  Those who had been evil to others would have evil come back upon them.  Even the false prophets would be judged.  Though they gave a false message of “peace” (3:5), God would ensure that they would be “ashamed.” (3:7)  God holds as responsible those who claim to speak for Him.  It ought to be a sobering thing to speak in the name of the Lord!

As for Micah, he spoke the truth…and he knew it. Micah 3:8, "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." He knew his message & the source of it.  It wasn’t something he made up for himself, but it was given to him by the Holy Spirit of God, and he as the prophet would be faithful to declare it in all of its fullness. 

  • Before we leave that, notice what that teaches us about Scripture itself.  Men may have picked up the pens to write down the words of the Bible, but those words were not given by the power of men.  They were given by the power of God.  Paul writes that the words of the Scripture were breathed-out by God (2 Tim 3:16), and Peter writes that holy men of God wrote as they were carried along by the Spirit (2 Pet 1:21).  We have been given an inspired book (literally!), and the words we have are the very words of God.
  • That’s exactly what makes the Bible so powerful!  That’s why God uses it in our lives to equip us for every good work (2 Tim 3:17), and to pierce us to the division of soul and spirit (Heb 4:12).  Thinking again of the false prophets and teachers that are among us today, this is why we ought to be so careful.  We’ve been given the truth…we dare not exchange it for a lie.

Because Micah possessed the truth, he was faithful to declare it (as should we, in regards to the gospel!).  He went on to list the sins and crimes of Israel’s rulers.  They abhorred justice & perverted equity (3:9), they engaged in bloodshed (3:10), bribed judges, teachers, and prophets (3:11).  Speaking to the whole house of Jacob (Israel & Judah), Micah declared that even Jerusalem would become a heap of ruins (3:12).

  • Did it happen?  Yes.  When Babylon came into Jerusalem, the entire city was destroyed.  By the time the Jews returned, things were so bad they had to relay the foundation for the temple, and the city’s protective wall still lay burning & in rubble.  What God declared through His prophets came true to the letter…it always does.

The good news is that the coming destruction wasn’t the only thing on the prophetic radar for the house of Jacob.  There was also the promise of a kingdom…something which Micah writes of in Ch. 4…

The King & Kingdom
The LORD as Zion’s King (4:1-8)
An incredibly clear picture of the future kingdom is painted in Ch. 4.  “Many nations” (4:2) are described as coming to the temple of God (“the LORD’s house” – 4:1), to learn directly from Him as He sits there as King.  There, the Lord teaches, judges, and rebukes the nations. (4:2-3).  In that time, Israel is described as walking in the “name of the LORD our God forever and ever.” (4:5).  In that day, God will bring together all who were despised (the lame & outcast), and He would make a “strong nation” out of them as He personally “will reign over them in Mount Zion.” (4:6-7)

That’s an amazing day!  That’s an amazing time!  Several items are worthy of note here: (1) Jerusalem is not described as being in ruins any longer, but is a vibrant city.  Thus the people of Israel are restored…something that is described in more detail later in the chapter. (2) The people of Israel are not only restored in their land, but restored in their faith as they openly walk in the name of the Lord their God.  (3) Most importantly, God Himself personally dwells among His people as King.  He is approachable, He is available…thus, He is personal.  The Scripture overwhelmingly affirms that God is Spirit, thus for God to be personal & approachable, He must somehow be physical & visible.  This directly supports both the ideas of the deity of Messiah, as well as His physical incarnation. 

  • First of all, that this is a reference to Messiah is clear in that He reigns over Israel – something that was repeatedly and clearly promised David.  But because this so plainly speaks of God Almighty (even using His covenant name: YWHH), there is a clear connection here between the Son of David and God.  Secondly, the fact that God can be physically approached supports the idea that God here must have physical form…something which is only possible for a God that is incarnate.  The point? Micah’s teaching of the King directly supports all of the NT doctrine that we know of Jesus! He is indeed God and He did indeed come in the flesh.  That’s something that has never changed, and will never change into the eternal ages.

One thing that cannot be done from this section of Scripture is to spiritualize the kingdom away.  What Micah writes is too plain, too clear to be mere analogy.  In what way could 4:1-8 picture the church?  The church can certainly be included in these future plans, but this in no way describes the current age in which we live.  This is plainly a future day, thus this is a future kingdom.  God has a literal kingdom in mind for His people, one in which His Son will personally reign as King.

God’s Plans for Zion (4:9-13)
Micah’s attention turn back to the present time, looking ahead to Zion’s more immediate captivity that awaited them in Babylon (4:10).  There would soon come a time there was no king in their midst (4:9), and that the nations would gather against them & see how Zion was defiled (4:11).  This would be the LORD’s doing, and He would gather His people for judgment.  The nations wouldn’t understand the Lord’s will & thoughts in all of this (4:12), but it would be the Lord’s doing, nonetheless (4:12-13).

  • We don’t always understand the will & thoughts of the Lord either, but we can trust that He is good.  God is good, all the time!

The King’s Humility & Greatness (5:1-5)
Micah had earlier spoken of the Lord God reigning from Zion in all glory, but now the tone changes to one of humility.  The Ruler that the people awaited would come from humble beginnings.  It is affirmed that He is the Son of David, in that He would arise from David’s hometown: Bethlehem.  Micah 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though 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."  This is the prophecy that spoke of Jesus’ birthplace, and is specifically referenced by Matthew as being fulfilled in Jesus (Mt 2:6).  This is the very Scripture that was given to the magi (wise men) for them to know where to look for the child who had been born as Messiah.  The Jews knew this spoke of their coming King…God gave them the very town where to look for Him.  (Sadly, it was Gentiles who went looking for Him; not Jews!)

What makes Bethlehem interesting is its humility.  Yes, it was the hometown of David, but it wasn’t the city he was best known for.  The Messiah would one day reign from Jerusalem, but that wouldn’t be His birthplace.  His hometown would be far less grand: just little Bethlehem.  But God would use those humble beginnings for His glorious purpose!  (Just like He does with us!)

Micah quickly moves to that glorious purpose when he jumps ahead through time to look at Jesus’ 2nd Coming.  At Bethlehem, Jesus came 1st, but it will not be until His 2nd coming that He stands in the midst of Israel, feeding His flock (5:4).  It is at that time the Jews will finally understand His strength and majesty, and Jesus will be known as great “to the ends of the earth” (5:4).

That is the glory yet to come, but there was still judgment to endure now…

Enemies Judged & Faith Revived (5:6-15)
The judgment of Israel/Samaria would come by the hands of the Assyrians, and it would be fierce.  But it would not be final.  Eventually, Assyria itself would be laid “waste with the sword” (5:6), and God would deliver His people from the Assyrian armies.  How would it take place?  God would use the Babylonians to lay waste upon the Assyrians, just like God would later use the Medes & Persians to lay waste upon the Babylonians.  Each of these empires would be judged in turn, all subject to the sovereign will of Almighty God.

In the meantime, God would preserve a “remnant” of His people “in the midst of many peoples” (5:7).  As the Jews were scattered throughout the nations, they would never lose their identity as Jews.  Even the northern kingdom of Israel would have a remnant, as evidenced by the fact that long after the Assyrian invasion, some came to worship God during the Passover feast led by Josiah.  God knew who among His people had true faith, and He preserved them in the midst of all their troubles – just as He always has.

Eventually there would come a day when all the enemies of Israel would be “cut off” (5:9).  God will one day destroy all the false religions of the world (5:12-13), and every knee will bow & every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!

God’s Contention with Israel
God Invites Israel to Plead Her Case (6:1-5)
As if God was sitting in a courtroom with Israel, He invites them to plead their case & hear Him plead His own (6:1-2).  God had done nothing to incite rebellion among His people.  He had always acted on their behalf.  He freed them from Egyptian slavery (6:4), gave them prophets & priests (6:4), and demonstrated His own righteousness (6:5).  What had God ever done to them that was evil?

What God Desires from His People (6:6-8)
Israel answers (prophetically through Micah) with the excuse that they don’t know how to please God.  They couldn’t bring enough offerings to satisfy His wrath.  Even if people gave up their firstborn children, it wouldn’t be enough. (6:7)

  • It may be an excuse, but there’s a grain of truth to it.  There’s only one sacrifice that can truly satisfy God’s wrath against sin: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t matter how “religious” we think we’re being, acts of religion never make us right in God’s sight.  The ancient Hebrews sacrificed bulls & goats; we pray repeated prayers and give money, etc.  All of it is ritual designed to save, and all of it fails to do so.  The only act that saves is the act that Jesus took on our behalf, when He became our sacrifice at the cross & then later rose from the grave.  We have to participate in what HE has done, or we cannot participate with God at all.

That said, the people still offered excuses to God.  They were looking to justify themselves through ritual, rather than heart-change.  God wanted something more sincere from them.  He tells them as much in vs. 8: Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" The fact of the matter that God HAD shown the people what He desired of them…they just didn’t listen.  God desired sincere worship – heart change – true obedience.  If the people worshipped Him as they ought to have done, everything listed here would have been the natural outcome.  All of the sins that had previously been listed was proof of the fact that their worship was insincere.  They had no humility of heart with God, and it was demonstrated by their wickedness.

  • Keep in mind that what Micah lists out here is NOT legalism.  It’s fruit.  When asked to summarize the entirety of the Old Testament, Jesus answered very simply: Mark 12:30–31, "(30) And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (31) And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”"  Everything hangs upon these two things: (1) love God, (2) love others.  If you do the 1st, the 2nd will come naturally.  If you’re not doing the 2nd, it’s certain you’re not doing the 1st.  One is fruit borne out of the other.
  • How are YOU doing on this?  It’s one thing to look at Israel’s sins that are listed out & see how they failed, but what about us?  Are we walking humbly with our God, loving Him with all we are…or are we wicked towards others, demonstrating no fruit of love in our lives?  Israel needed a heart-check…so do we.

God’s Sentence Upon His People (6:9-16)
God had taken His people to court – now they were found guilty.  Their self-defense was woefully inadequate, and now they faced the judgment of God.  He knew well their sin, violence, and lies (6:11-12).  They had not been humble with the Lord, so God would now humble them.  God would strike them with hunger & with the sword (6:14).  All their crops would either fail or be taken from them (6:15).  They would bear the reproach of His people (6:16) – a terrible, but just punishment.

Confessions and Conclusions
Micah’s Misery & Hope (7:1-7)
Knowing what was coming, it’s no wonder Micah lifted up his voice in anguish.  Yet that wasn’t what bothered him the most.  What bothered him was the continuing sin in the land.  To his eyes, it seemed that “the faithful man has perished from the earth” (7:2).  Was there no one righteous?  Apparently not.  Even in the midst of God’s proclaimed judgment, the people still sinned through bribes, scheming, lies, and dishonoring their parents. (7:3-6).  Things were terrible in the land – so much so that sons and daughters worked against their own parents. (7:6)

  • Interestingly enough, this same condemnation of Israel was quoted by Jesus in a different context.  He too, would set children against their parents (Mt 10:34-36), but this would be division of a different sort.  For Israel, they were more willing to choose sin than God.  For Jesus, we have to be more willing to choose Him, rather than our family.  Again, we have to love our God with all that we have & all that we are – and if that means leaving behind old relationships (even family relationships), then so be it.  We need to count the cost of what it means to follow Jesus, and that cost is worth it!

Micah is not completely hopeless.  Yes, the land was full of sin & iniquity, but he could turn his attention to another place: God.  Micah 7:7, "Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me."  When all else fails, where can we turn?  The God of our salvation!  We might be abandoned by all the world, but God will always be our God of salvation – His love for us never fails!

Israel’s Confession of Sin (7:8-13)
Thankfully, Israel will not always remain blind to her sin.  Micah writes through a prophetic voice here of an Israel that openly admits her transgressions against God.  The nation understands that she has “sinned against Him” (7:9), and that her only hope is the Lord.  God will one day plead her case, and she will see His righteousness.  But for now, she understands that her punishment is just.

Israel’s Future Confession of Faith (7:14-20)
Unlike times of old when Israel refused to walk humbly with God, that humility will be demonstrated in the future.  Israel is shown seeking the Lord to guide them & shepherd them (7:14).  Israel trusts that just as God acted in times past with Egypt, so will He act in the future over all her enemies (7:15-16).  Most of all, Israel understands that God’s punishment did not mean they were forever cast away, because one day they would be forgiven.  They knew that God is the God who pardons iniquity & does not forever retain His anger (7:18).  God delights in mercy & would one day shower them with it.

What is it God would do?  Fully restore them – fully forgive them – freely love them: Micah 7:19–20, "(19) He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. (20) You will give truth to Jacob And mercy to Abraham, Which You have sworn to our fathers From days of old."

  • Those are the same promises we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ!  Our sins have been cast far away from us – we have been showered with the mercies of God – we’ve even been brought into the covenant promises of God through faith.  Glorious!

Conclusion:
Judgment was coming, but that wasn’t all.  So was revival.  The people would one day confess their sins and receive the forgiveness of God.  They would be restored as the people of God, and one day be ruled over by the physical person of God.  He would be their King, and He would be their people – glorious promise!  This is the same promise we enjoy as Christians, and we will be witnesses to all of it as it unfolds.

What was it that God required in the present?  The one thing they were unwilling to give: humility.  If they humbly walked with God, loving Him with their whole heart, then God would have freely bestowed His mercies upon them at the time.  Instead, they loved their sin more than their Savior, and they experienced His terrible discipline.

Christian: love God!  Humble yourself before Him & walk with Him!  Learn the easy way, rather than the hard way.  When God convicts you of sin, humble yourself, confess it, repent of it, be done with it.  Do it in sincerity through Jesus, and by no other means.  Otherwise, we might find ourselves being the ones facing the discipline of God.

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