Tuesday 20 July 2010

Bible Book:

"Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of your possession?" (v.18)

Micah 7:14-20 Tuesday 20 July 2010


Micah was a prophet in the 8th century BC, partly contemporarywith Hosea and Isaiah of Jerusalem (Isaiah chapters 1-39). Againsta backdrop of political upheaval he spoke out against socialinjustice and religious hypocrisy. He challenged the people to liveup to the ideals of the covenant made at Sinai. The consequences ofnot doing so were severe: God would destroy them.

This passage concludes the book and it dates from a later period,following the defeat of the kingdom of Judah by the Babylonianempire. This was a catastrophic event, second only to the exodusfrom Egypt in terms of its impact on the people and their faith.They had assumed that the Covenant safeguarded them from harm. Nowthey had a crisis of confidence. They were faced with manyquestions. If they were God's people, why had this happened tothem? Was God unfaithful or were they? Were the gods of the othersnations greater than their god? Had God deserted them or might Godcome to their rescue?

In response to this situation, God is asked to vindicate the peopleand to vanquish their enemies. The people are reassured that Godisn't only mighty, but forgiving and faithful too. Therefore aremnant will survive this calamity. The idea of the 'remnant'became prominent with the prophet Isaiah, though it had itsprecedents in the stories of Noah and Joseph. It's a very importantconcept and a way of working out how God could be both righteousand loving. According to this view, God could judge the majority ofthe people and destroy them, but spare the minority who wererepentant. These would become the nucleus of a renewed community,through whom God's purposes could be achieved.

To Ponder

Have you ever experienced social injustice andreligious hypocrisy of the sort Micah spoke out against? How didyou respond?

In your view, do bad things happen to goodpeople? Why?

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