Daily Archives: July 11, 2019

July 11 Set Free from Loneliness

Scripture Reading: John 14:15–21

Key Verse: John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Sin is oftentimes the spark that fans the flames of loneliness in our lives. We believe we are unworthy of God’s grace, so we stop seeking Him. God, however, is longing for us to run to Him, not from Him.

Whenever we feel loneliness beginning to settle on our lives, we can overcome its grip with these steps:

  • Reconcile with God through Jesus. God’s awesome plan of redemption for our lives restores our relationship with Him (Romans 5:10–11).
  • Remember God’s promises. No matter how lonely we feel, we are never alone—God is always there with us. Whatever we are experiencing in life, we cannot escape Him. Wherever we go, He goes there too (John 14:16–18).
  • Respond to circumstances based on truth, not our feelings. Reacting to situations on the basis of how we feel can lead us down roads that are treacherous and dangerous. We must rely on God and what we know about Him, not how we feel in the moment.
  • Refocus our attention off ourselves and on to someone we can serve. Instead of focusing on our needs, we should look to serve those around us. In the process, we will find great joy and blessing in showing them Christ. God does not desire for us to be lonely. He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. Loneliness will fade in the warmth of His love and friendship.

Lord, when my feelings turn my eyes on self, and I think I am alone, I rejoice that You are right there, waiting for me to recognize Your constant presence.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 202). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 11 Selfish Desires

Scripture Reading: Psalm 106

Key Verse: Psalm 106:15

He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.

One noted evangelist put it this way: “You may get what you want, but you may not want what you get.” It is sometimes easy to want something so much that we channel all of our efforts to attain it.

That is what the Israelites did in the wilderness. They grew so weary of their manna diet that they grumbled loudly for good, old-fashioned meat. God gave them their request, but it brought death along with it because of their rebellious hearts.

All of us can relate to that incident. After much toil, we finally receive our desire, only to discover that it brought a lot of heartache. How can you protect yourself from seeking the wrong object?

First, by delighting yourself in loving, worshiping, and serving God above all else: “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4 nasb). When you want to please and honor God more than you want anything or anyone else, your requests will be aligned with His will.

Second, by being willing to lay down your request before the Lord. Whatever you want, give it completely to the Lord for its fulfillment. Let Him judge whether He will grant your petitions. Leave it in His hands: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Ps. 37:5 nasb).

O Lord, free me from selfish desires. Let me delight in You and worship and serve You above all else. I am laying all my requests before You, yielding each desire and leaving it in Your hands.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 202). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Pelosi Rejects U.S. Sovereignty – U.S. Immigration Subject to Laws of “A Global Society”… — The Last Refuge

In a stunning press conference today U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explains why she she has taken no action to curb the illegal immigration influx into the U.S.

While explaining why she will not allow congress to debate, change or modify U.S. immigration laws, Pelosi outlines how the United States is part of a global society, without borders and without any sovereign right to impede the “human society” from entering our nation.  Therefore, according to her outlook and worldview, U.S. politicians have no right to stop any migration movement.


Keep this in mind as we approach the 2020 election.  The Speaker of the House is essentially saying, openly, publicly and without any reservation or concern, the United States of America is no longer a sovereign nation.

via Pelosi Rejects U.S. Sovereignty – U.S. Immigration Subject to Laws of “A Global Society”… — The Last Refuge

July 11 An Anxious Spirit

Scripture reading: Romans 6:1–8

Key verse: Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Fear is really the natural by-product of an anxious spirit. An anxious spirit is the by-product of living under the false assumption that you can manage life by yourself, and that with effort you can maneuver circumstances into a satisfying outcome. This lifestyle, one of performance-based acceptance, is a sure prescription for feelings of failure.

In her book The Confident Woman, Anabel Gillham explains how she discovered the spiritual mind-set necessary for healthy confidence for every believer:

I made a choice—with my mind, with my will—and it is your choice as well. I prayed, “Lord, I’ve done it my way for so long; I don’t understand Galatians 2:20 and all that it means for me, but I want to claim its truth for my life.

“You say that You now indwell me in the presence of the Holy Spirit; You say that I have been crucified, buried, and raised with You, and that the only One who ever lived the Christian life, You, promised to live that same life through me. By faith I receive what You have said in Your Word and I believe it … I thank You that You will do it all for me, through me.”

When I made that choice, my life didn’t change overnight. I simply began to be consciously aware of my actions and thoughts; I began choosing His Way, trusting Him to be my strength, my power, my wisdom—my very life.

Lord, by faith I receive all You have said in Your Word, and I believe that You will do it all for me and through me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 202). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE? Crooked Hillary Posts Instructions IN SPANISH For Illegal Aliens to Evade ICE Agents — The Gateway Pundit

Thank God this woman is not president.

Crooked Hillary sounded the alarm Thursday and tipped off illegal aliens to Sunday’s impending deportation raids.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the massive deportation operation President Trump delayed two weeks ago will be deployed this Sunday.

Trump’s deportation operation is targeting illegals who already have deportation orders, yet Hillary Clinton and other Democrat leaders are giving them advice on how to evade ICE agents!

“Por favor comparte (please share)” Hillary said posting instructions IN SPANISH giving illegals ‘legal advice’ on how to evade ICE agents.

The English version of what Hillary posted:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) actually told illegal aliens they don’t need to answer the door if ICE comes knocking because a deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant.

‘If that is the only document ICE brings to a home raid, agents do not have the legal right to enter a home. If ICE agents don’t have a warrant signed by judge, a person may refuse to open the door,’ Pelosi said on Thursday.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex also fired off a tweet Thursday giving illegal aliens ‘legal advice’ on how to evade ICE agents.

How is this not obstruction of justice? Are we a nation of laws or not?

via OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE? Crooked Hillary Posts Instructions IN SPANISH For Illegal Aliens to Evade ICE Agents — The Gateway Pundit

The Shaking Won’t Stop: More Than 10,000 Quakes Strike California, Nevada In Last 7 Days | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

The ground is constantly shaking in southern California right now, and this has many concerned that another large earthquake may be coming.  I have been keeping my eye on Cal Tech’s recent earthquake map, and as I write this article it says that there have been 10,053 earthquakes in California and Nevada over the past 7 days.  I have never seen that number so high, and southern California is being hit by yet another new earthquake every few moments

Most of the earthquakes are happening out in the Ridgecrest area where we witnessed the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that hit on July 4th and the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit on July 5th.  But as you can see from Cal Tech’s map, there has been a tremendous amount of seismic activity along the San Andreas fault as well.  As I discussed the other day, the San Andreas fault is “locked and loaded” and it is way overdue for “the Big One”.  Could it be possible that all of this earthquake activity is leading up to something really big?

And it isn’t just earthquakes that we need to be concerned about.  According to Fox News, “geologists are nervously eyeing eight nearby volcanoes”…

California’s uncanny “earthquake pause” is over. It should have already had several “big ones” by now. All that pressure has to go somewhere. Now geologists are nervously eyeing eight nearby volcanoes. And why has Yellowstone supervolcano been acting so weird?

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has warned Southern California to expect more big earthquakes to come. Some, they say, may even be more powerful than those experienced in the past few days.

“(These quakes do) not make (the Big One) less likely,” local seismologist Lucy Jones told The Los Angeles Times. “There is about a one in 20 chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake in the next few days, that we have not yet seen the biggest earthquake of the sequence.”

Could you imagine the chaos that would ensue if a volcano suddenly erupted in California?

For the record, I am personally far more concerned about Mt. Rainier and the other volcanoes in the Northwest.  But that is a topic for another article.

One angle that hasn’t really been talked about much is what would happen to California’s nuclear reactors if “the Big One” suddenly hit the San Andreas fault.

According to Natural News, there are currently five nuclear reactors right along the San Andreas fault and another one that is located directly along the coast…

A Natural News investigation into the geolocation of nuclear power facilities in California reveals that five nuclear facilities were built in close proximity to the San Andreas fault line, with some constructed right in the middle of earthquake zones that have up to a 50% chance of a severe earthquake every 30 years.

One nuclear power plant – the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which produces 2,160 megawatts — was constructed on the coast, making it extremely vulnerable to the very same kind of ocean water surge that destroyed the Fukushima-Daiichi facility which suffered a 2011 meltdown in Japan.

Who was the genius that decided to build those reactors near the San Andreas fault?

The potential for an unprecedented nightmare is definitely there.  If a magnitude 9.0 earthquake were to hit the San Andreas fault, it would be 707 times more powerful than the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that we just witnessed.

And we live at a time when our planet just continues to become even more unstable.  According to NBC News, the number of “great” earthquakes between 2004 and 2014 was 265 percent higher than during the preceding ten year period…

The annual number of “great” earthquakes nearly tripled over the last decade, providing a reminder to Americans that unruptured faults like those in the northwest United States might be due for a Big One.

Between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. That’s an increase of 265 percent over the average rate of the previous century, which saw 71 great quakes, according to a report to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America this week in Vancouver, British Columbia.

But despite all of the unusual shaking that we have witnessed so far this century, the state of California hasn’t seen anything remotely close to the shaking that we have witnessed over the last 7 days.

Of course seismic activity is just one element of “the perfect storm” that is starting to unfold.  According to the NOAA, the 12 month period ending in June was the wettest 12 month period in all of U.S. history.  In fact, for three months in a row “the past 12-month precipitation record has hit an all-time high”.  We just keep setting record after record, and the flooding in the middle of the country seems like it will never end.  Millions of acres of prime farmland will not be used at all this year, and tens of millions of acres of crops are in extremely poor condition right now.

Meanwhile, a monster storm is heading directly for New Orleans, and on Wednesday it dumped “7 inches of rain within a three-hour period” on the city…

Lines of thunderstorms associated with a weather system that is predicted to develop into a hurricane by Friday struck New Orleans with as much as 7 inches of rain within a three-hour period Wednesday morning, forecasters said.

The city was engulfed with water, leaving residents to contend with swampy streets, overturned garbage cans and flooded vehicles. Some even paddled their way down the street in kayaks.

But the worst is still yet to come.  The storm may become a hurricane before it makes landfall, and it is going to push the Mississippi River to one of the highest levels ever

The deluge may have just been a preview of more serious flooding situation from Tropical Storm or Hurricane Barry, which could affect the area into the weekend.

On Saturday, the Mississippi River is projected to see one of its highest crests on record in New Orleans, or the highest in seven decades.

A state of emergency has already been declared in Louisiana, and this could turn out to be the biggest disaster for the state since Hurricane Katrina.

Why is disaster after disaster suddenly pummeling the United States?

And could it be possible that this is just the beginning of our problems?

A time of great change is now upon us, and I have a feeling that what we have experienced so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

Source: The Shaking Won’t Stop: More Than 10,000 Quakes Strike California, Nevada In Last 7 Days

Why are we tolerating Megan Rapinoe’s endless spew of self-righteous drivel? | RT

Powered by nothing more than wokeness and self-regard Megan Rapinoe threatens to go on an intergalactic ego trip – but we are forced to earnestly listen to every pronouncement of this “shero.”

One could forgive a soccer player for losing their head after leading their team to a World Cup, but Rapinoe had evidently decided to turn the past month into her personal political pulpit from which to issue her reference-free assertions before a ball had been kicked in France.

From the intellectually dishonest and self-serving demands for “equal” pay, to the claim that “you can’t win without gays” (“that’s science, right there” she assured, vaguely) to boasts that she wouldn’t “f**king go to the White House” if invited after winning.

Now that she has backed up her talk, being named the best player at the tournament, Rapinoe has taken it up a notch, telling Rachel Maddow who she will and won’t deign to talk to in Washington (those prepared to have “a real substantive conversation, and that believes in the same things that we believe in” which is Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez). On Wednesday, she used the victory parade speech in New York to tell Donald Trump what he “needs” to do.

Where does she get off?

I don’t mind Rapinoe’s purple hair, sexuality, prolific public dancing, swearing in front of children, exuberant goal celebrations against minnows, or posing with champagne while shouting “I deserve this!” Even pushing away the American flag during a victory routine, or kneeling during the national anthem are personal choices. She has her right to an opinion and to her persona.

Yet Rapinoe is beginning to sound not only like a mirror Trump or Diego Maradona at his coke messiah peak … she seems a couple of interviews away from going full-on Charlie Sheen talking about “WINNING!” and “tiger blood.”

All while the media hails her as a “national treasure” and dismisses her critics as sexists who cannot handle self-proclaimed “badass” women. The brasher you are, the more like an alpha male caricature, the more empowered, apparently.

Perhaps she really is “iconic” if your political and personal views align perfectly with Rapinoe’s. Surely, though even her allies must cringe occasionally at her antics, and pretending she is some unifying figure of diversity, rather than a polarizing loudmouth, particularly grates.

Also on rt.com ‘You need to do better’: U.S. soccer captain Megan Rapinoe sends message to Donald Trump (VIDEO)

Without wanting to sound pompous – is it appropriate for someone who uses their cachet as leader of the national team for publicity to alienate half the nation’s voters while standing in front of the Stars and Stripes? Would her assurances that none of her teammates would go to meet the president be considered overbearing if it was Hillary Clinton she did not want to meet? Why does she always deliver her opinions with such finality, despite having no real qualifications beyond being a football player?

Where is the line between cocky right-on activist and obnoxious bully?

Somehow, one suspects that self-obsessed militancy plays less well with the majority of the public outside the media bubble, if only for reasons of basic manners. Or put it this way, if she really did run against the incumbent in 2020, as a hypothetical poll asked last week, would it be the Democrats or the Republicans who would be celebrating? In fact, as long as she remains in the headlines Trump will already treat her like a campaign adversary, knowing that every time her face appears, his base is more likely to turn out and vote.

By Igor Ogorodnev

Igor Ogorodnev is a Russian-British journalist, who has worked at RT since 2007 as a correspondent, editor and writer.

Source: Why are we tolerating Megan Rapinoe’s endless spew of self-righteous drivel?

At Celebration For US Women’s Soccer Championship Win In NYC, Radical Lesbian Star Megan Rapinoe Drops F-Bomb In Front Of Children, Tweets ‘Gays Better Than Straight’ — Now The End Begins

On Wednesday, Megan Rapinoe smirked and refused to put her hand over her heart when the national anthem played during the World Cup victory parade in New York.

According to Megan Rapinoe, the championship victory afforded to the US Women’s Soccer team was only made possible because their star players are lesbian. Yes, she actually said that. Not only that, standing in front of thousands of fans, many of them children, she unleashed a blistering F-Bomb not caring who heard it or who it offended. When our National Anthem played during the celebration, all she could do was smirk and refuse to place her hand over her heart. Megan Rapinoe hates America, and she is the poster girl for the radical pro-LGBTQ+P for Pedophile Democratic Socialists who are attempting to wrest political control of this country.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20,21 (KJV)

America in 2019 is indeed engaged in civil war, every bit as much as we were in the 1860’s. The only difference now is that words have replaced bullets, but the damage being done is tearing our country in two. The seeds of this conflict were planted during the 8 long years of the Barack Obama presidency. It was Obama who first refused to place his hand over his heart during the National Anthem. It was Obama who declared June to be LGBT Pride Month. It was Obama who went on a speaking tour in foreign countries to apologize for America. And it was Obama stood in the shadow of one of Adolf Hitler’s greatest triumphs and declared that he was a ‘citizen of the world‘.

What we are seeing now in the foul-mouthed and aggressively-gay Megan Rapinoe is nothing less than a full-frontal assault on America, on our children, and on our way of life. This has nothing to do with sports, not at all, sports have now become a platform to push political and social agendas. Obama’s civil war is finally coming to fruition, he must be so pleased.

Megan Rapinoe Says Gays Better Than Straight People; Curses In Front Of Kids

FROM STAR POLITICAL: “As far back as last May, Rapinoe made it clear that she would never put her hand over her heart and sing during the national anthem again because of President Donald Trump,” Breitbart reports.

“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart. I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again,” Rapinoe said. She views herself as “a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration,” because of “everything I stand for.”

Wednesday was much the same when she cursed during the New York City parade for the team forcing MSNBC to apologize, and she said the team could not win if it did not have gay players.

“New York City, you’re the motherf***ing best!” she said, classy as ever, as the crowd cheered for her and her vulgarity. Of course, Rapinoe couldn’t care less that kids were in the crowd. “Well, we certainly want to apologize for the language at the end there,” MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin said to the audience.

Following their victory over the Netherlands, she shared a photo on Twitter of her and two other gay teammates with a caption.

“We already discussed this,” she said in the tweet. “Science is science. Gays rule,” she said, as if heterosexuals could not win. It was a continuation of what she told The Guardian about somehow in her mind, science has proven gay people are better. READ MORE

Megan Rapinoe Uses Occasion To Push Political Agenda

Gone are the days when sports heros were a positive role model, as you will see here. This is one of the many reasons why I no longer watch any organized sporting events. 

via At Celebration For US Women’s Soccer Championship Win In NYC, Radical Lesbian Star Megan Rapinoe Drops F-Bomb In Front Of Children, Tweets ‘Gays Better Than Straight’ — Now The End Begins

July 11, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Our Incomparable God

Micah 7:18–20

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? (Mic. 7:18)

What’s in a name? As the prophet Micah sees things, much in every way. At numerous points in this book we see the prophet deriving significant meaning from names. During Sennacherib’s invasion, Micah took the names of towns and cities as harbingers of their fate (cf. Mic. 1:10–15). He seems to see his prophecy of Christ’s birth as a fulfillment of the names of Bethlehem (house of bread) and Ephrathah (bountiful). How appropriate, then, that Micah would conclude his book with a reference to his own name. The name Micah means “Who is like the Lord?” As the prophet completes his record he identifies himself with this testimony, writing: “Who is a God like you …?” (Mic. 7:1).

It is fitting that Micah should conclude his book with this question, which is really an assertion of God’s incomparable glory. The prophet really means, “There is no one like the Lord, for the God of Israel is greater than all gods!” Micah not only asserts this claim, but he also goes on in these final verses to say, “Let me count the ways!” James Montgomery Boice comments: “Micah rehearses the ways in which the true God is unlike all others. Deliverance by mighty acts is among those ways. Yet his emphasis is on God’s willingness to forgive sin and show mercy, which he concludes is the supreme measure of God’s surpassing excellence.”

Our Incomparable God

Before we focus on Micah’s specific reasons for declaring God’s incomparable excellence, it will be profitable to consider the picture of God given throughout the book. When reading the Bible, we should always be concerned to gain a clearer knowledge of God. So as we conclude our studies in Micah, we should ask, “What does Micah reveal to us about God?”

Since so much of Micah describes God’s judgment on Israel’s sin, our first thoughts should turn to God’s holiness. The God presented by Micah is a holy God, that is, one who will not abide with sin.

Strictly speaking, God’s holiness means that God is set apart from all others. God is in a unique category. He says through Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8–9). It was because of God’s holiness, so integral to his deity, that Moses was required to take off his shoes before the burning bush. J. Gresham Machen writes, “From beginning to end the Bible is concerned to set forth the awful gulf that separates the creature from the Creator.” Yet when the Bible speaks of God’s holiness, it invariably relates this to his absolute separation from all evil and sin. To quote Geerhardus Vos: “Jehovah’s holiness … involves not merely that his nature is stainless, empirically free from sin, but means that he is exalted above the possibility of sin—in him, as the absolutely good, evil cannot enter.”3

We are confronted with this reality all through Micah. The book opens with a scene of frightening cataclysm, with the high places trodden down and the mountains melting in fire (Mic. 1:3–4). Micah explains why: “All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel” (Mic. 1:5). Most humans think of sin as a slight matter, except perhaps for the sins committed against us. But God, who is the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, is grievously offended by all sin. Why? Because he is transcendentally holy. Sin is a gross offense to his person and a stench in his holy nostrils. Even when it is God’s own beloved people who give themselves over to sin, God declares his intention to judge it with great severity. “Woe to those who devise wickedness,” Micah cries, “and work evil on their beds!” (Mic. 2:1). “Lately my people have risen up as an enemy,” God declares (Mic. 2:8). Why? Because they have given themselves over to sin. Our holy God is a just God, so sin will be judged. Our holy God is bitterly, personally opposed to all evil, so his wrath burns against the wicked.

A second attribute of God that Micah highlights is his almighty power. We see this, too, in the book’s opening verses, which speak not only of God’s anger at sin but also of his power in judging it: “I will make Samaria a heap in the open country … and I will pour down her stones into the valley and uncover her foundations” (Mic. 1:6). Man’s strongest fortress is no match for God’s power. No locked door can keep God out and no foundation is solid enough to withstand his stroke. When the Assyrian conqueror Sennacherib besieged God’s city and mocked God’s name, the Lord struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand soldiers of the Assyrian army in a single night.

A third attribute of God laid bare in the book of Micah is his sovereignty. It is not the king on his throne, the power broker in his mansion, or the general on his stallion who determines the fate of peoples, but only the Lord in his sovereign majesty. This is, in part, a function of his infinite might: God’s will reigns supreme in that no other force can hope to thwart him in the least. God is omniscient, knowing even the secret thoughts of the wicked in their bedrooms (Mic. 2:1). While many nations assemble against God’s people, Micah points out their folly: “They do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan” (Mic. 4:12). God employs even the wicked acts of men for his own sovereign purpose: the pagan armies gathered against Jerusalem only because God purposed judgment for his people, and because God summoned them for their own destruction: “He has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor,” Micah says (Mic. 4:12).

God’s absolute sovereignty over all history, including the minutest details of the affairs of men and nations, is best seen in the many and specific prophecies Micah makes regarding the future. Early in his ministry, he foretold that the judgment recently visited upon wicked Samaria was soon coming to wicked Jerusalem (Mic. 1:9). He predicted details of the Assyrian advance prior to the event (Mic. 1:10–16). As the threatened invasion draws near, he prophesies God’s deliverance of his people when the enemy comes to the very gate of the city (Mic. 2:12–13). Looking farther into the future, Micah sees the Christian age of the gospel, when people from all over the world will come to God to worship and learn: “Many nations shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up … to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths’ ” (Mic. 4:2). Most dramatically, Micah provides one of the most detailed and accurate predictions of the Messiah’s birth, nearly 700 years in the future: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days” (Mic. 5:2). How can a prophet dare to speak with such boldness about specific events that have not yet happened, some of which lie many centuries in the future? Because he speaks for a sovereign God, who exercises perfect control over all things, past, present, and into eternity.

Incomparable Grace

We might continue this survey of the doctrine of God in the book of Micah, but the prophet himself should be given the last word. We ask, Is there one thing about God that causes Micah to celebrate his incomparable glory? If there is, what is it? The answer, according to these final verses, is that the majesty of the holy, almighty, and sovereign God is seen most wonderfully in his grace. “Who is a God like you,” Micah marvels, “pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?” (Mic. 7:18). Following Micah’s hymn of praise for God’s forgiving grace, we observe, first, what God forgives; second, how God forgives; third, God’s attitude in forgiving; and, finally, the finality of God’s forgiveness. In all of these aspects, Micah would have us join with him in wondrous praise for the incomparable grace of God.

First, what is it that God forgives? Micah employs three terms to describe the offense that sinners have given to God. First, Micah says that God pardons “iniquity” (Mic. 7:18). This word (Hebrew, ‘avon) refers to our guilt. Our sins have incurred a debt to God’s holy justice that must be paid. The second word is “transgression” (Hebrew, pesha), which denotes rebellion against God’s authority. Whenever we sin we are flouting God’s right to govern our lives, and as traitors we deserve to be punished with death. Jesus speaks of this in his parable of the ten minas, in which the rebels insist, “We do not want this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). The king rightly responds, “As for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me” (Luke 19:27). Third, Micah speaks of “sin” (Hebrew, chatta’ah), referring to wickedness or evil. As ruler of creation, God cannot tolerate evil, but must destroy it. All three of these terms—guilt, rebellion, and wickedness—have been ascribed to Micah’s Jerusalem, just as they can all be ascribed to us. Judging by the standard of God’s perfect law, Paul concludes: “None is righteous, no, not one.… no one does good, not even one” (Rom. 3:10, 12).

This was the great problem of Micah’s generation: not only enemy armies or inept leadership, but the just wrath of the holy God against their iniquity, transgression, and sin. It was because of their offense against God that Micah’s generation suffered such misery and that their immediate future was so dark. It is our great problem, too; just like the Jews of old, we need to be forgiven.

So how can a holy God ever forgive his people’s sin? Micah’s language is vivid and instructive, containing the very heart of the Bible’s gospel. First, speaking of our guilt, the prophet says that God displays incomparable grace by “pardoning.” The Hebrew word (nasa’) literally speaks of God lifting our guilt, taking it away. The Israelite would naturally think of the Day of Atonement ritual, when the high priest would lay his hands on the head of the scapegoat, who was then taken outside the camp and sent far off into the wilderness. Along with the scapegoat, another spotless animal was slain in sacrifice. The meaning was that by the substitutionary death of a God-appointed sacrifice, our guilt is lifted and taken away. Bruce Waltke explains, “God does not wink at sin, but provided the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the only one who kept his covenant obligations (Rom. 3:21–26) both to bear and to take away sin.”

The New Testament applies this teaching directly to the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul writes that God forgave our trespasses: “by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14). The theological term for the transfer of our sins to Christ is imputation. Paul explains this by saying, “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

With what joy Micah would have witnessed the scene when John the Baptist first identified Jesus as the Messiah, saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). This was the same hope of forgiveness foretold by Isaiah in his prophecy of the coming Messiah as the Suffering Servant of the Lord: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). By looking to the cross of Jesus, we who believe can all rejoice to see our sins imputed to Christ and taken away from us forever.

Micah uses a second verb to describe God’s gracious response to our rebellion: “passing over” transgression (Mic. 7:18). Because of his compassionate love, God does not demand retribution on his rebellious people, but overlooks their offenses instead. The language here also points to the cross, this time through the events of the Passover. God had determined to punish Egypt for its rebellion, sending his angel of death to strike down all the firstborn of the land. But the Israelites were instructed to place the blood of a Passover lamb on their doorposts; when the angel of death saw the blood, God’s wrath passed over the sins of God’s people. Paul applies the significance of this event directly to Christians, whose rebellion against God is passed over, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). So it is today for those who seek refuge in the blood of Jesus. Micah praises God for “passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance” (Mic. 7:18), ultimately, for those who have confessed their sins and believed in the gospel of Christ.

We see why Micah glorifies the incomparable grace of our God. What other god ever spoke of sending his own Son to die on the cross for the sins of his people? What kind of deity responds to our wickedness against him by placing our guilt onto himself? Yet this is exactly what God has done for us. “Who is a God like you?” we marvel. Michael Bentley points out that this is the main difference between Christianity and all other faiths:

Unlike all other, so-called, deities, our God pardons sin and forgives transgression. This is one of the things that any serious reader of the Gospels noticesabout Jesus Christ: he often forgave people their sins (e.g., Mark 2:5). He is the same today. He still shows his wonderful mercy to sinners by forgiving them when they confess their sin, repent of it and turn in faith to him.

Just as marvelous is God’s attitude in forgiving our sins. Does God forgive begrudgingly, resentfully, or halfheartedly? Micah responds, “He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love” (Mic. 7:18). This is Micah’s great hope for his people. Yes, God intended to chastise them for their great sin. But judgment would not last forever, and it would lead to forgiveness and the restoration of blessings. Why? Because of the God that he is! Because of the mercy and compassion in his heart for his people. Micah’s hope is in the incomparable God, whose heart is moved by grace.

Micah describes God’s heart with the Hebrew word chesed, the great Old Testament word for the covenant mercy and love of God. This word is so rich that it can hardly be given a single English translation. It is rendered as “steadfast love” by the English Standard Version; “faithful love” by the Holman Christian Standard Bible; “unchanging love” by the New American Standard Bible; and, perhaps most familiarly, as “mercy” by the King James and New International versions. What is the attitude of God’s heart in forgiving our sins? Walter Kaiser writes, “He does not delight in holding a grudge, or in bottling up His anger over our sins.” Instead, he delights in tender, loving, mercy for his people.

The Scottish minister Alexander Whyte told of an evening when an older minister came to discuss some pastoral matters. When their business was completed, the old man seemed to linger, not wanting the conversation to end. Finally he asked, seemingly in jest, “Now, sir, have you any word of comfort for an old sinner like me?” Whyte realized that behind the half-smile was a real seriousness and even a deep agony. He wrote later, “It took my breath away. He was an old saint. But he did not know the peace of forgiveness.” Whyte walked over and sat beside the older minister, opened his Bible to Micah 7:18 (nkjv) and read, “He delights in showing mercy.”

It was on this mercy that Micah relied as well. We can imagine the power of this statement in the prophet’s heart as he grasped for hope of Israel’s forgiveness. In themselves, God’s people had nothing to offer to gain their forgiveness. Jerusalem had partaken in the same idolatry that had doomed Samaria. But Micah would have answered, “He delights in showing mercy.” Yes, but Jerusalem’s leaders were lying awake at night devising new and more wicked schemes of robbing the poor. Nevertheless, “He delights in showing mercy.” Corruption had so permeated society that Micah believed no godly people were left. He wrote, “They all lie in wait for blood.… Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well” (Mic. 7:2–3). Such wickedness had spread that a man could not even trust his wife or children. How could such depraved people be spared by a holy God? Because “he delights in showing mercy.” Micah’s hope lay in God’s delight in mercy, and there he rested his burdened heart.

This was also Dr. Whyte’s answer to the suffering old minister: “He delights in showing mercy.” The next morning he received a letter in reply. It read: “Dear friend, I will never doubt Him again. Guilt had hold of me. I was near the gates of Hell, but that word of God comforted me, and I will never doubt Him again. I will never despair again. If the devil casts my sin in my teeth, I will say, ‘Yes, it is all true, and you cannot tell the half of it, but I have to deal with the One who delights in showing mercy.’ ”

Finally, Micah notes the finality of God’s forgiveness: “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19). The word for compassion (Hebrew, racham) speaks of tender affection, the way a mother loves a child. God responds to our sins the way a protective parent destroys a snake in the children’s playground: “he will tread our iniquities under foot.” Kenneth Barker writes, “Sin is pictured as an enemy that God conquers and liberates us from.” A. R. Fausset adds, “When God takes away the guilt of sin, that it may not condemn us, He takes away also the power of sin, that it may not rule us.”9 Here is God’s answer to the third of our offenses: our guilt he takes away to the cross; our rebellion he covers with Christ’s blood; and the corrupting power of evil in our hearts he treads under foot.

Not only does God tread on our sins, but he “will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19). Here, the allusion is to the destruction of Pharaoh’s chariots in the Red Sea. Just as the Egyptians were prevented by God from catching up to the Israelites so as to destroy them, God will not allow our sins to catch up to us. John Mackay comments, “Just as not one of the entire army of Pharaoh that followed the Israelites into the Red Sea survived (Exod. 14:28), so too the consequences of ‘all’ their iniquities will be swept away by God.” With this in mind, no wonder that Micah echoes the praise the Israelites sang while looking back over the Red Sea:

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. (Exod. 15:11–13)

How important it is to our relationship with God, and to our peace and joy in salvation, that we realize the finality of our forgiveness in Jesus Christ. David Prior points out that in passages like this from Micah, God not only cast our sins into the sea, but he placed a sign on its banks ordering, “No fishing.” Another place where we read of the complete removal of our sins is the great new covenant promise made by Jeremiah and echoed in the book of Hebrews. God declares to us: “I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12). How can an all-knowing God forget that we have sinned against him? Because, in Micah’s language, he has lifted our sins and taken them to the cross; he has covered them with the blood of Christ; he has trodden them under his own foot; and he has cast them into the sea of his incomparable grace. Truly, Micah wonders, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression?” Or as Samuel Davies put it: “Who is a pard’ning God like Thee? / Or who has grace so rich and free?”

Incomparable Faithfulness

Can we count on God extending this same grace to us? Will God continue to delight in showing mercy to sinners today? Micah provides the answer in the concluding verse to his book of prophecy, a verse that convinced Micah of God’s continuing mercy: “You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old” (Mic. 7:20). In other words, God shows mercy to his sinful people because of his incomparable faithfulness to his covenant promises of old in the Bible.

Micah praises God because he will “show faithfulness to Jacob.” The word for “faithfulness” is emet, which also means “truth.” God will be true to Jacob. In Genesis 28:14 God promised Jacob, Israel’s namesake patriarch, that his offspring would be “like the dust of the earth,” spreading abroad “to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south.” How could God fulfill this promise if he annihilated Jacob’s descendants because of their sin? Moreover, he promised that “in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” How could Jacob’s children bring salvation to all the world if Israel itself fell victim to sin? The answer is that God could not be true to Jacob unless he worked salvation for Jacob’s descendants, physical and spiritual, and in faithfulness to the promise God was delighted to show mercy to his people, ultimately by sending his own Son to die for their sins.

God will also show “steadfast love to Abraham.” Here is the Hebrew word chesed again, which here might be translated best as “merciful, covenant fidelity.” Abraham received promises that were even greater than those given to his grandson Jacob. On one occasion, God brought Abraham out under the bright panoply of the sky and said: “ ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be’ ” (Gen. 15:5). In all the vast starry host Abraham beheld in that ancient desert sky, one star shone for every sinner who trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, Abraham looked upon a star that represented you. How could God be faithful to Abraham unless you entered into the fullness of the promised salvation?

Micah thus concludes, “as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old” (Mic. 7:20). All through the Bible, believers read promises of forgiveness and salvation given by God. Those promises now belong to us, who take possession of them by trusting in God’s Word. Prominent among them all is the promise of Micah 7:19: “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

The writer of Hebrews said of God’s promises, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:19). What other hope do we have but that God will be faithful to his promises of grace? Can we hope that we will win the battle with sin by our own strength? Can we imagine that we can reform our lives so as to make ourselves presentable to the holy God? Neither of these is a realistic hope. God’s promises of faithful, covenant, forgiving grace not only assure us of his love for us in Christ, but they also give us the strongest of all incentives to live holy lives to the praise of his incomparable name.

Donald Grey Barnhouse explains how grace motivates us to holiness by telling of a man who was paralyzed by the fear of his sin. During the First World War the man had fallen into bad company, and while living in Paris he became engrossed in sexual sin. After the war, he became a Christian and fell in love with a wonderful Christian girl. But he was afraid to propose marriage to her out of the fear that his past sin would rise up and cause him to betray his marital vows. He came to Barnhouse and asked for advice. Barnhouse told him that if he wanted to marry the girl, he should start trusting her with his heart and tell her the truth about his past.

Barnhouse also told the man of another couple with a similar issue. After they had married, the husband told his wife of his sinful sexual past, and his fears about a future recurrence of those sins. She responded by kissing him and gently saying this:

John, I want you to understand something. I know my Bible well, and therefore I know the subtlety of sin and the devices of sin working in the human heart. I know you are a thoroughly converted man, John, but I know that you still have an old nature and that you are not yet as fully instructed in the ways of God as you soon will be. The Devil will do all he can to wreck your Christian life, and he will see to it that temptations of every kind will be put in your way. The day might come—please God that it never shall—but the day might come when you will succumb to temptation and fall into sin. Immediately the Devil will tell you that it is no use trying, that you might as well continue on in sin and that above all you are not to tell me because it will hurt me. But, John, I want you to know that here in my arms is your home. When I married you I married your old nature as well as your new nature. And I want you to know there is full pardon and forgiveness in advance for any evil that may ever come into your life.

Barnhouse finished telling the story, during which the former soldier held his face in his hands. But after the final words, he lifted his eyes and said wonderingly, “My God! If anything could ever keep a man straight, that would be it.”

That is it. God delivers us from the power of sin by first assuring us of our complete forgiveness through the blood of Christ. Why would he do this? Because “he delights in steadfast love” (Mic. 7:18). Because of his faithfulness to the promises of the Bible. Because in our salvation by grace alone, the holy, almighty, sovereign God proves the glorious truth of Micah’s words of praise: “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?” (Mic. 7:18).[1]

18. The Prophet here exclaims that God ought to be glorified especially for this—that he is merciful to his people. When he says, Who is God as thou art? he does not mean that there are other gods; for this, strictly speaking, is an improper comparison. But he shows that the true and only God may be distinguished from all idols by this circumstance—that he graciously forgives the sins of his people and bears with their infirmities. It is indeed certain, that all nations entertained the opinion, that their gods were ready to pardon; hence their sacrifices, and hence also their various kinds of expiations. Nor has there been any nation so barbarous as not to own themselves guilty in some measure before God; hence all the Gentiles were wont to apply to the mercy of their gods; while yet they had no firm conviction: for though they laid hold on this first principle,—that the gods would be propitious to sinners, if they humbly sought pardon; yet they prayed, we know, with no sure confidence, for they had no certain promise. We hence see that what the Prophet means is this,—that the God of Israel could be proved to be the true God from this circumstance—that having once received into favour the children of Abraham, he continued to show the same favour, and kept his covenant inviolably, though their sins had been a thousand times a hinderance in the way. That God then in his goodness surmounted all the wickedness of the people, and stood firm in his covenant, which had been so often violated by vices of the people—this fact may be brought as an evidence, that he is the true God: for what can be found of this kind among idols? Let us suppose that there is in them something divine, that they were gods, and endued with some power; yet with regard to the gods of the Gentiles, it could not be known that any one of them was propitious to his own people. Since then this can apply only to the God of Israel, it follows that in this instance his divinity shines conspicuously, and that his sovereignty is hence sufficiently proved. We also learn, that all the gods of heathens are vain; yea, that in the religion of heathens there is nothing but delusions: for no nation can with confidence flee to its god to obtain pardon, when it has sinned. This is the sum of the whole. I shall now come to the words of the Prophet.

Who is a God like thee, taking away iniquity, and passing by wickedness? By these two forms of expression, he sets forth the singular favour of God in freely reconciling himself to sinners. To take away sins is to blot them out; though the verb נשא, nusha, often means to raise on high; yet it means also to take, or, to take away. To pass by wickedness, is to connive at it, as though he said, “God overlooks the wickedness of his people, as if it escaped his view:” for when God requires an account of our life, our sins immediately appear, and appear before his eyes; but when God does not call our sins before his judgment, but overlooks them, he is then said to pass by them.

This passage teaches us, as I have already reminded you, that the glory of God principally shines in this,—that he is reconcileable, and that he forgives our sins. God indeed manifests his glory both by his power and his wisdom, and by all the judgments which he daily executes; his glory, at the same time, shines forth chiefly in this,—that he is propitious to sinners, and suffers himself to be pacified; yea, that he not only allows miserable sinners to be reconciled to him, but that he also of his own will invites and anticipates them. Hence then it is evident, that he is the true God. That religion then may have firm roots in our hearts, this must be the first thing in our faith,—that God will ever be reconciled to us; for except we be fully persuaded as to his mercy, no true religion will ever flourish in us, whatever pretensions we may make; for what is said in Ps. 130 is ever true, ‘With thee is propitiation, that thou mayest be feared.’ Hence the fear of God, and the true worship of him, depend on a perception of his goodness and favour; for we cannot from the heart worship God, and there will be, as I have already said, no genuine religion in us, except this persuasion be really and deeply seated in our hearts,—that he is ever ready to forgive, whenever we flee to him.

It hence also appears what sort of religion is that of the Papacy: for under the Papacy, being perplexed and doubtful, they ever hesitate, and never dare to believe that God will be propitious to them. Though they have some ideas, I know not what, of his grace; yet it is a vain presumption and rashness, as they think, when any one is fully persuaded of God’s mercy. They therefore keep consciences in suspense; nay, they leave them doubtful and trembling, when there is no certainty respecting God’s favour. It hence follows, that their whole worship is fictitious; in a word, the whole of religion is entirely subverted, when a firm and unhesitating confidence, as to his goodness, is taken away, yea, that confidence by which men are enabled to come to him without doubting, and to receive, whenever they sin and confess their guilt and transgressions, the mercy that is offered to them.

But this confidence is not what rises spontaneously in us; nay, even when we entertain a notion that God is merciful, it is only a mere delusion: for we cannot be fully convinced respecting God’s favour, except he anticipates us by his word, and testifies that he will be propitious to us whenever we flee to him. Hence I said at the beginning, that the Prophet here exhibits the difference between the God of Israel and all the idols of the Gentiles, and that is, because he had promised to be propitious to his people. It was not in vain that sacrifices were offered by the chosen people, for there was a promise added, which could not disappoint them: but the Gentiles ever remained doubtful with regard to their sacrifices; though they performed all their expiations, there was yet no certainty; but the case was different with the chosen people. What then the Prophet says here respecting the remission of sins, depends on the testimony which God himself has given.

We must now notice the clause which immediately follows, as to the remnant of his heritage. Here again he drives away the hypocrites from their vain confidence: for he says that God will be merciful only to a remnant of his people; and, at the same time, he takes away an offence, which might have grievously disquieted the weak, on seeing the wrath of God raging among the whole people,—that God would spare neither the common nor the chief men. When therefore the fire of God’s vengeance flamed terribly, above and below, this objection might have greatly disturbed weak minds,—“How is this? God does indeed declare that he is propitious to sinners, and yet his severity prevails among us.—How can this be?” The Prophet meets this objection and says, “God is propitious to the remnant of his heritage;” which means, that though God would execute terrible vengeance on the greater part, there would yet ever remain some seed, on whom his mercy would shine; and he calls them the remnant of his heritage, because there was no reason, as it was stated yesterday, why God forgave the few, except that he had chosen the posterity of Abraham.

He also adds, He will not retain his wrath perpetually. By this second consolation he wished to relieve the faithful: for though God chastises them for a time, he yet forgets not his mercy. We may say, that the Prophet mentions here two exceptions. He had spoken of God’s mercy; but as this mercy is not indiscriminate or common to all, he restricts what he teaches to the remnant. Now follows another exception,—that how much soever apparently the wrath of God would rage against his elect people themselves, there would yet be some moderation, so that they would remain safe, and that their calamities would not be to them fatal. Hence he says, God retains not wrath; for though, for a moment, he may be angry with his people, he will yet soon, as it were, repent, and show himself gracious to them, and testify that he is already reconciled to them;—not that God changes, but that the faithful are made for a short time to feel his wrath; afterwards a taste of his mercy exhilarates them, and thus they feel in their souls that God has in a manner changed. For when dread possesses their minds, they imagine God to be terrible, but when they embrace the promises of his grace, they call on him, and begin to entertain hope of pardon; then God appears to them kind, gentle, and reconcileable; yea, and altogether ready to show mercy. This is the reason why the Prophet says, that God retains not his wrath.

Then follows the cause, for he loveth mercy. Here the Prophet more clearly shows, that the remission of sins is gratuitous, and that it has no foundation but in the nature of God himself. There is then no reason, since Scripture declares God to be reconcileable, why any one should seek the cause in himself, or even the means by which God reconciles himself to us: for He himself is the cause. As God then by nature loves mercy, hence it is, that he is so ready to forgive sinners. Whosoever then imagines that God is to be propitiated by expiations or any satisfactions, subverts the doctrine of the Prophet; and it is the same thing as to build without a foundation: for the only prop or support that can raise us up to God, when we desire to be reconciled to him, is this,—that he loves mercy. And this is the reason why God so much commends his mercy, why he says, that he is merciful to thousand generations, slow to wrath, and ready to pardon. For though the unbelieving harden themselves against God, yet when they feel his wrath, there is nothing so difficult for them as to believe that God can be pacified. Hence this reason, which is not in vain added by the Prophet, ought to be especially noticed.

Let us now see to whom God is merciful. For as Satan could not have obliterated from the hearts of men a conviction of God’s mercy, he has yet confined mercy to the unbelieving, as though God should forgive sinners only once, when they are admitted into the Church. Thus the Pelagians formerly thought, that God grants reconciliation to none but to aliens; for whosoever has been once received into the Church cannot, as they imagined, stand otherwise before God than by being perfect. And this figment led Novatus and his disciples to create disturbances in the Church. And there are at this day not only deluded men, but devils, who, by the same figment, or rather delirious notions, fascinate themselves and others, and hold, that the highest perfection ought to exist in the faithful; and they also slander our doctrine, as though we were still continuing in the Alphabet or in the first rudiments, because we daily preach free remission of sins. But the Prophet declares expressly that God not only forgives the unbelieving when they sin, but also his heritage and his elect. Let us then know, that as long as we are in the world, pardon is prepared for us, as we could not otherwise but fall every moment from the hope of salvation, were not this remedy provided for us: for those men must be more than mad who arrogate to themselves perfection, or who think that they have arrived at that high degree of attainment, that they can satisfy God by their works. It now follows—[2]

18 The question “Who is a God like you?” points to the uniqueness of Yahweh. The name “Micah” means “who is like the Lord?” Whether we have here another characteristic play on words is hard to say. The words “sin” and “transgression” recall the affirmation of Exodus 34:6–7, wherein the Lord proclaimed an essential aspect of his nature to be his willingness to forgive sin.

19–20 Because God’s anger does not continue forever, the believing remnant can know that an end will come to their humiliation. God will not simply ignore his people’s sin and its punishment, but he will take the sin, destroy it, and get rid of it. Israel’s sin is like an enemy that God defeats and disposes of. The sea in the ancient Near East represented the forces of chaos; thus the sea is where Israel’s sins belonged.

After the great statement of forgiveness of v. 19, the prophet recalls the promise given to Abraham and reaffirmed to Jacob (v. 20). The remnant’s optimism is rooted in the promise sworn to Abraham and “our fathers” (“our ancestors,” NRSV, TNIV).[3]

18–20 The fourth and last movement of this liturgical symphony is a choral piece of devotion and doxology. It begins in the style of a hymn, extolling the compassionate nature of God. A theme from the opening movement is taken up and developed, the burden of God’s wrath resting upon the sin-conscious hearts of the community. They have come in repentance, but that is not enough to win back the blessing of God. He is no petulant princeling to be wooed away from a fit of capricious temper. Nothing they can do will avail of itself to secure God’s acceptance. The sole ground of their hope lies in the noble character of God as one who forgives, forgets, and offers a fresh beginning. Superficially this claim sounds like the one made in 2:7 and categorically denied by Micah. But the respective attitudes of heart are poles apart. The complacency that shrugged off prophetic warnings in the spirit of pardonner—c’est son métier had given way to a deep sense of the seriousness of sin. The heartfelt appreciation of divine grace that impassions this finale is an emotion that can be experienced only by those who have come to see sin through God’s eyes.

The community rise in spirit far above their doleful environment in joyful, lilting contemplation of the grace of God. Their rhetorical question concerning God’s matchlessness is usually reserved for a consideration of Yahweh’s mighty acts, as for instance in Exod. 15:11, There were many nations around who claimed power for their gods; Israel was always glad when their own God, whom they believed to be invested with universal omnipotence, was proved to be so in a manner convincing to those to whom seeing was believing. But with an insight born of richer experience, God’s people have come to see that his majesty is most evident in his grace.

Countless acts of pardoning grace

beyond Thine other wonders shine.

Who is a pardoning God like Thee

or who has grace so rich and free? (Samuel Davies)

In the term remnant they glance briefly but poignantly back along the path they have trodden. It is a term that sounds a persistent echo through the hope sections of the book with deliberate emphasis on the harrowing losses suffered by Israel. Paradoxically it opens a door of hope, since they have the pledge that after judgment is to come salvation.

But if the people of God find themselves in a new and awesome situation, the language they use is hallowed by long tradition. It echoes the classic characterization of Yahweh in Exod. 34:6f. as the God “who forgives wrong, rebellion, and sin,” who is “slow to anger and full of constant love.” The God of ancient Israel has not changed; he has remained the same down to the present. A new generation take up the old formulation and make it their own by faith. They look away from their wrath-laden situation and affirm again, as they had at the outset in vv. 8f., that this must be a temporary phenomenon. Now they argue from the character of God: it is grace that better reveals his very heart:

For his anger lasts a moment,

but his favor a lifetime.

Weeping may stay the night,

but with the morning comes joy. (Ps. 30:5[6])

Believers know that the purpose of God’s dealings with them is to train them in the ways of righteousness and harmony with himself. To this end chastisement may play a part, but over and beyond it lies the mystery of grace.

It is this vital truth concerning the revealed nature of God that they apply to themselves, treasuring it as the guarantee of their future blessing. Standing on the promise inherent in God’s character, they make an attestation of faith concerning their prospects. They can glimpse the certainty of a renewed demonstration of divine goodwill toward them in the forgiveness of their sins. They know that their lives must remain unblessed as long as they are separated from God by the guilt of sin. They rejoice therefore in the assurance that the heritage of sin, which dogs their stepsand has cast over them its disastrous shadow, will be thrown off for good and all. Has the Song of Moses in Exod. 15, echoed at the beginning of the section, influenced the piece again? Just as once God’s incomparable power shook off the pursuing Egyptians and overcame them, so now God’s incomparable grace is to triumph over sin. Thus would the second Exodus prayed for in v. 15 be realized. No longer would his people be slaves to sin and its consequences. No longer would they be held captive to the frustration of its thraldom. Paul echoed this very theme in Rom. 5f.

The wonder of it whirls the worshippers from meditation to a renewed intimacy of prayer. They confront God with their heartfelt conviction that he would drown their sins forever, just as Pharaoh’s charioteers were “hurled” into the sea and sank “down into the depths like a stone” (Exod. 15:5). The black shadow of guilt for past sin that had dominated their experience would disappear from their lives, never to threaten them again. Another psalmist sang in similar vein:

As far as the east is from the west

he removes from us our guilt as rebels. (Ps. 103:12)

But as yet the cloud is still there for this congregation; they look forward to its future removal. Then the way would lie open for unbroken harmony with their covenant God. Their community would become strong and healthy both in spiritual relationships and in their social and political outworking. It is this corollary of divine forgiveness that is the closing melody of the passage. Further echoes of Exod. 34:6 may be heard in the joint reference to faith, i.e., faithfulness, and constant love. The traditional attributes of the God of the covenant, of which the phrase “grace and truth” in John 1:7 is the descendant, are borrowed for inclusion in a larger canvas than that of the covenant of Sinai. The community delve further back into their religious past to find an even deeper foundation for their confidence. They lay claim to patriarchal promises. At the moment they languish in a corner of the promised land, numerically a vestige of what the nation once had been and spiritually victims of divine indignation. Their situation is the very opposite of that envisaged in God’s sworn pledges to the patriarchs concerning the land of promise, posterity as numerous as stars, sand, and dust, and the fullness of divine blessing.93 In a sense the patriarchs lived on in their descendants: Jacob stands for the people of God to whom the ancient voice of blessing comes afresh, as at Bethel of old. Even Abraham is a bold individualization of the community in whom the patriarch survives to remind God of his solemn promises. The present congregation profess the ties of solidarity binding them to the great heroes of the past, around whom clustered even greater expectations. This oneness is fittingly portrayed in order to stress that these folk, weak and feeble as they are, yet are heirs to promised glory. Therefore tightly they cling to God’s ancient word of grace. The Christian Church is no stranger to this assurance, for the same theme of laying claim to the heritage of promised grace reappears in Acts 3:25; Gal. 3:6–29.

Martin Luther provided what amounts to a remarkable summary of the whole passage, vv. 8–20:

Though great our sins and sore our wounds

and deep and dark our fall,

his helping mercy hath no bounds,

his love surpasseth all.

Our trusty loving Shepherd he,

who shall at last set Israel free

from all their sin and sorrow. (E.T. by Catharine Winkworth)

The piece forms a worthy climax to the book of Micah. It builds upon the prophetic word with the assurance and tone of spiritual reality that marked Micah’s own ministry. It is a monument to the faith of men who transcended their earthly woes and climbed to a spiritual vantage point. From there they could survey the present in the reassuring light of God’s past and future dealings with his covenant people. As Micah’s prophesying was marked by a holy boldness that enabled him to confront a corrupt society as fearlessly as Peter, John, and Paul in a later age, so here is an earnest of boldness toward God in approaching “the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace in the form of timely help” (Heb. 4:16). It exudes a confidence akin to that of which Charles Wesley testified:

Bold I approach the eternal throne

and claim the crown, through Christ my own.[4]

The Incomparable God of Forgiveness (Micah 7:18–20)

The dialogue between God and the people of Israel, personified in the figure of Jerusalem, that began with 6:1, now comes to an end, with Israel “lost in wonder, love, and praise.” Who is a God like you? Jerusalem exclaims, verse 18a. The question is often expressed in wonder in the ot, but often too the answer is that Yahweh is incomparable because he does glorious and mighty deeds (Exod. 15:11; cf. Ps. 77:13), because he delivers from threatening death (Ps. 71:20), because he comes to the aid of the weak, poor, and needy (Ps. 35:10; 113:7), or because he is more powerful than all other gods (Ps. 89:6). Here, however, Israel exclaims that God is incomparable because God forgives sin. It is not might, nor wonders, nor succor that finally make God absolutely unique. Rather, Yahweh is qualitatively different from all other gods and human beings and things because, having great power, Yahweh also faithfully forgives humankind. With justification, Micah would say, the Christian faith has put the cross, the symbol of triumph over and forgiveness of all sin, at the center of its worship.

7:18–20 / The three most frequently used words for sin are employed in verses 18 and 19: ʿāwōn, which includes the thought of guilt and crime, and which the niv has translated with sin or iniquities, verses 18b and 19c; pešaʿ, which comes from political usage and means “rebellion,” but which the niv has weakly translated with transgression, verse 18b; and ḥēṭʾ, which can have the meaning of missing the mark or falling short, and which the niv also translates with sins, verse 19b. Thus, the passage intends to deal with every form of sinfulness.

God pardons ʿāwōn, verse 18b; and passes over (niv: forgives) pešaʿ, verse 18b; he treads ʿāwōn underfoot, verse 19b; and hurls ḥēṭʾ into the depths of the sea, verse 19c. By using the four verbs to describe God’s treatment of sin, the message is conveyed that sin is utterly removed from God’s sight—passed over of no longer any importance, or violently trampled into pieces in the dust, or sunk like a stone in the depths of the sea.

Why does God do such acts of forgiveness? Because of God’s delight to show ḥesed, covenant faithfulness (niv: mercy), verse 18e. In other words, above all else, God wants to remain faithful to his covenant with his people. The Lord loves his chosen folk, and though they have been reduced to a remnant, they are God’s inheritance (v. 18c), a special people, bound to God since the days of the fathers by his choice and love of them (cf. Exod. 19:5–6; Gen. 12:1–3; 17:7). Thus, God will not stay angry with them forever, verse 18d, a statement which reminds us of Psalm 103:9–13. God may visit the sins of the fathers upon the third and the fourth generation, but God’s steadfast, covenant love endures for thousands of generations (cf. Exod. 20:5–6). And so God will have compassion (rāḥam) upon Israel, a word used to denote the tender, unconditional love of a mother for the child of her womb (reḥem).

This passage does not concern Israel alone, however. The niv and most commentators emend the possessive pronoun in verse 19c to read, “you will cast our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” That is not what the mt text says. It reads, “their iniquities,” and what the verse is saying is that not only will Israel be forgiven, but also the foreign nations who will turn to Yahweh (v. 17), will have their sins sunk like a stone in the sea. Just as Israel cannot approach its God, unless God forgives its sins, so too other peoples cannot approach and worship the Lord unless they are forgiven also. Micah looks forward to the time when Yahweh will reign as Lord over all the earth (4:2, 7; 5:4), and that reign will be made possible by Yahweh’s universal forgiveness of the nations as well as of Israel. The message of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ encompasses that universality.

The final word of Micah, therefore, is that God will be true to the promise to Jacob and show covenant faithfulness (ḥesed; niv: mercy) to the descendants of Abraham, as was promised in the days of those patriarchs. God promised Abraham that his descendants would be the means through which God would bring blessing on all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4), and that promise was renewed for both Isaac (Gen. 26:3) and Jacob (Gen. 28:14). Micah therefore foresees the time when the undeserved forgiveness and salvation of Israel will result in all peoples turning to Yahweh as their sole Lord in worship and obedience. When the nations see what God does in Israel, they too will give their allegiance to Israel’s Lord. Two centuries later, Second Isaiah sang the same song (Isa. 52:13–53:12). But Micah begins the song of wonder and praise in this final word of his prophecy.[5]

18. Grateful at such unlooked-for grace being promised to Israel, Micah breaks forth into praises of Jehovah.

passeth by the transgression—not conniving at it, but forgiving it; leaving it unpunished, as a traveller passes by what he chooses not to look into (Pr 19:11). Contrast Am 7:8, and “mark iniquities,” Ps 130:3.

the remnant—who shall be permitted to survive the previous judgment: the elect remnant of grace (Mic 4:7).

retaineth not … anger—(Ps 103:9).

delighteth in mercy—God’s forgiving is founded on His nature, which delights in loving-kindness, and is averse from wrath.

  1. turn again—to us, from having been turned away from us.

subdue our iniquities—literally, “tread under foot,” as being hostile and deadly to us. Without subjugation of our bad propensities, even pardon could not give us peace. When God takes away the guilt of sin that it may not condemn us, He takes away also the power of sin that it may not rule us.

cast … into … depths of the sea—never to rise again to view, buried out of sight in eternal oblivion: not merely at the shore side, where they may rise again.

our … their—change of person. Micah in the first case identifying himself and his sins with his people and their sins; in the second, speaking of them and their sins.

  1. perform the truth—the faithful promise.

to Jacob … Abraham—Thou shalt make good to their posterity the promise made to the patriarchs. God’s promises are called “mercy,” because they flow slowly from grace; “truth,” because they will be surely performed (Lu 1:72, 73; 1 Th 5:24).

sworn unto our fathers—(Ps 105:9, 10). The promise to Abraham is in Ge 12:2; to Isaac, in Ge 26:24; to Jacob, in Ge 28:13. This unchangeable promise implied an engagement that the seed of the patriarchs should never perish, and should be restored to their inheritance as often as they turned wholly to God (De 30:1, 2).[6]

Ver. 18.—In view of the many provocations and backslidings of the people, Micah is filled with wonder at the goodness and long-suffering of God. Who is a God like unto thee? The question seems to recall the prophet’s own name, which means, “Who is like Jehovah?” and the clause in Moses’ song (Exod. 15:11), “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?” Such comparisons are made from the standpoint of the nations who believe in the real existence of their false gods. That pardoneth iniquity (comp. Exod. 34:7; Numb. 14:18). Passeth by the transgression; Septuagint, ὑπερβαίνων ἀσεβείας, “passing over iniquities;” Vulgate, transis peccatum. To pass by, or pass over, is to forgive, as Amos 7:8. There is probably an allusion, as Jerome says, to the night of the Exodus. As the destroying angel passed over the Israelites and destroyed them not, so God spares his people, imputing not their iniquities unto them. The remnant (ch. 2:12; 4:6, 7). The true Israel, which is only a remnant (Isa. 10:21; Rom. 9:27). He retaineth not his anger for ever (Ps. 103:9). The word rendered “for ever” is translated by Jerome ultra, and by the Septuagint εἰς μαρτύριον, i.e. to testify the justice of his punishment. He delighteth in mercy. As the Collect says, “O God, whose nature and property is always to have mercy and to forgive” (comp. Wisd. 11:24).

Ver. 19.—He will turn again, and have compassion upon us. The verb “turn again,” joined with another verb, often denotes the repetition of an action, as in Job 7:7; Hos. 14:8, etc.; so here we may translate simply, “He will again have compassion.” He will subdue; literally, tread underfoot. Sin is regarded as a personal enemy, which by God’s sovereign grace will be entirely subdued. So, according to one interpretation, sin is personified (Gen. 4:7; comp. Ps. 65:3). Cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt blot out and bury completely and for ever, as once thou didst overwhelm the Egyptians in the Red Sea (Exod. 15:1, 4, 10, 21). The miraculous deliverance of the Israelites at the Exodus is a type of the greater deliverance of the true Israelites in Christ (Ps. 103:12; 1 John 1:7; comp. Isa. 43:25).

Ver. 20.—Thou wilt perform (literally, give) the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham. Jacob and Abraham are mentioned as the chiefs and representatives of the chosen family; and “the truth” (i.e. God’s faithfulness to his promises) and “mercy” are equally given to both, separately assigned only for the sake of the parallelism. Knabenbauer compares such passages as Ps. 114:1, “When Israel went forth out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language” (Ps. 105:6; Isa. 41:8; 63:16, etc.). The general meaning, therefore, is that God will perform the promises made to the forefathers, as Luke 1:72, etc. Hast sworn, as in Gen. 22:16, etc.; 28:13, etc.; Deut. 7:12. With the close of the ode Hengstenberg compares Rom. 11:33–36. Thus the checkered prophecy ends with the glow of faith and happy hope.[7]

7:18–20. Micah closes his book with praise to God for a number of His attributes that benefited the remnant, that is, the faithful among Israel. He acknowledged Him as unique (Ex 15:11), forgiving, relenting of anger, and immutable in His love for them. In addition, He was compassionate and protective. The beautiful metaphor of v. 19b pictures God casting their sins into a deep sea, far from His sight. The phrase you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea is the basis for the Jewish custom of Tashlich (which means “you will cast”), when Jewish people cast bread into a body of water on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize God’s removal of sin. His last words recall the unconditional covenant with Abraham (Gn 12:1–3; 15:12–21; 17:1–8). Although God would chasten them for their sins, He would never cast them away. A kingdom will one day come upon the earth in which all the promises to the patriarchs will be fulfilled (Is 2:1–4; 9:1–7; 11:1–10; 35:1–10). The nation of Israel has a bright physical and spiritual future to which she may look forward. God’s faithfulness to Israel is a reminder for contemporary believers that they should exult in the astoundingly faithful nature of God who watches over them with loving discipline and grants forgiveness freely and fully to those who seek it.[8]

[1] Phillips, R. D. (2010). Jonah & Micah. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & I. M. Duguid, Eds.) (pp. 344–355). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[2] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets (Vol. 3, pp. 399–404). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] McComiskey, T. E., & Longman, T. I. (2008). Micah. In D. E. Garland (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, p. 551). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Allen, L. C. (1976). The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah (pp. 401–404). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Achtemeier, E. (2012). Minor Prophets I. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 367–369). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 696). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Micah (p. 110). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Green, D. D. (2014). Micah. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1377). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.