Who Is a God like You?

by LA UBF   03/15/2009     0 reads


Who is a God like you��

 Who Is a God like You?

Micah 1:1-7:20

Key Verse 7:18

In studying the so-called 12 minor prophets, one question that comes to mind is, "Why did the Lord find it necessary to establish the prophet who is responsible for the book of the prophecy in addition to the prophet’s contemporaries?" In other words, "What is the message which the Lord God intends to convey through that particular prophet?" These questions are in order for we know that as God is the God of economy he does not do anything that is not needed. 

One of the ways to find the answer to these questions is to consider the prophet himself. If a prophet is a “true” prophet, he not only declares the words of the Lord but also "lives" the message he is called to convey, for a true prophet serves the Lord’s message not just with his lips but with his life. A prophet’s whole life itself testifies to the words of the Lord. So you read the messenger and you understand his message.   

The book of Micah shows us that Micah adopted a lifestyle that was different than the lifestyles of the majority of the people of his day. With his unique lifestyle, the Prophet Micah conveyed to the people of his generation the Lord's message loud and clear. 

The question then becomes, "What (or who) enabled him to live the way he did?” We can find the answer to this question in the meaning of the name “Micah,” for in Hebrew the word “Micah” means, "Who is like Yahweh?" Reflecting on the meaning of his name, towards the end of the prophecy Micah asks, "Who is a God like you?" This observation gives out a strong indication that it was his fellowship with Yahweh who empowered him to live the way he lived.  

Practically then how did Micah live? What are the marks of distinction? 

I. I will weep and wail (1:1-16)

The first mark of distinction has to do with the perception of the future. The way in which the general public perceived their future was very different from that of Micah, for Micah saw the future of the Israelites in a way that others did not about their own future.   

Micah served three kings of Judah (Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah). A study of the history on Judah during the reign of these kings indicates that in the days of these three kings, especially King Hezekiah, people in Judah entertained an optimistic view of life. For one thing, Judah as a nation amassed lots of military arsenal (2 Chronicles 32:1-8; Isaiah 36:1-37:8), for another the national economy seemed booming, so people were busy to secure opportunities to get rich and then super-rich. 

In the year of 2006 and 2007 the U.S. economy seemed booming. The real estate market in Downey, California remained robust so that a three bedroom, one and a half bath house with a small backyard would sell for over $700,000. Homeowners saw their home values going up two or three times more than the amount of their mortgage, so they cashed out of their home several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Using this money they acquired titles to other assets, such as a second home, brand new cars or a small business like a liquor store. The national economy of Judah in the day of Micah was more or less the same. This trend is reflected in Micah 2:2, which reads, "They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance." 

Operating with the widespread optimism on the future of the nation a lot of people in Samaria and Jerusalem indulged themselves in pleasure seeking lifestyles. In the royal palace, Ahaz and Jezebel lived as party animals using people's tax money. People on the streets were more or less the same. Micah 1:7 reads, "All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used." Here the words, "idol," "images," and "prostitution" point to various forms of pleasure-seeking lifestyles.  In Micah's day people abandoned the worship of the God of Abraham and instead worshiped idols (1:7). Idol worship caused their minds to be filled up with adulterous images, which in turn prompted them to adopt promiscuous lifestyles, so that the spirit of prostitution took over the society. 

The life that is mixed with spices, such as idols, images, or prostitution, tends to make man "feel" good. So they say, "Money is good. Life is good. So what is the problem?" 

But Micah had a different view. While people in general went about gaily, Micah said, “I will weep and wail.” Look at v. 8. "Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl." Why is he going to weep and wail? Why does he say, “I will go about ‘barefoot and naked’”? Why does he say, "I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl?" Have you heard a howling jackal? Have you encountered an owl moaning at night? When all others were going “honky dory,” why did Micah choose to weep and wail? Why did he choose such a somber lifestyle? Is it because he became insane? Who went crazy, Micah or the "honky-dorians"? 

More fundamentally than these questions is this: "What made the difference?” The answer is this: Micah saw that the people of his day had absolute reasons to weep and wail than to laugh and dance. But in their blindness the people did not see the disasters that were going to hit them down the road. 

Unlike the general public, Micah walked closely with the Lord. As he walked humbly with the Lord, he came to realize what the Lord thought of the people of his day and what he would do to them. 

In a number of places the Lord God introduces himself as a holy God. God is a holy God. As the holy God he cannot compromise with any hint of sin. Being the holy God he has to punish every hint of sin. The only reason why it does not seem that God's judgment is not immediate is because God patiently waits for his people to repent (Romans 2:4). But when people persist in their rebellious ways of life despite the Lord’s continued warnings, the Lord comes up with a whip. 

Micah foresaw the day of disaster looming large on the adulterous people. In apprehension of the disasters that were going to hit his people, and in hope to ward them away from the impending judgment, Micah says, “I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl.” 

II. I am filled with power (2:1-3:12)

The second point of distinction is found in Micah 3:8, "But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin." It is interesting to note that Micah refers to both "power" and "might". Why did he need to be filled with both "power" and "might"? We can understand the necessity of the power and might when we think about the meaning of power (or might). According to Miriam Webster’s Dictionary, “power” means (among other meanings): the ability to act or to produce an effect; legal or official authority or capacity; physical, mental or moral efficacy. This definition indicates that in order for one to fight against the power of sin, one needs the ability to act against the power of sin, and thereby produce a result, that is, defeating the power of sin working in men. In order to fight against the power of sin he needs spiritual authority to work with. He also needs physical, mental, moral and spiritual power to fight against the power of sin and win victories. 

To be aware of man's sin problems is one thing, to be able to stand up against it another. Not all who desire to live righteously can do the latter; only those who garner enough strength can rise to fight the battle against the power of sin. 

It has been said that God’s children are faced with three enemies: Satan, self, and the world. 

According to 1 John 3:8, it is the devil who promotes sin.  And no human being is a match for the devil. In order to help people not to fall victim to the devil’s ability to tempt man to sin, one needs God's help. 

Another formidable enemy of God’s children is entrenched in each person, and that enemy within is his or her own “self”! So in order for one to fight against the power of sin working inside, one must gain the power and strength to stand up against the power of sin working inside. 

The battle that goes on inside is more dreadful and harder to fight and win than on the outside. Speaking of the same truth, Martin Luther said, "I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self." Similarly, he said, "I more fear what is within me than what comes without." Further, he said, "I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope [inside and outside of me] is the Antichrist." For this reason Jesus said that we need to deny ourselves. But we cannot deny on our own. It comes only through God's might. 

And the world has always been evil. The Bible says that the devil is the ruler of this dark world. So in order to stand up against the sinful world, one needs God's power. 

Obviously, Micah understood these truths. So he chose not to rely on his own might. Rather he relied on God's power, that is, the power that comes from the Spirit of God, so that he says, "But as for me I am filled with power, with the Spirit of God..." Then he bravely stood up against the power of evil. He boldly declared the transgressions of proud people (2:1-5); he spoke against the leaders of Jacob, the rulers of the house of Israel (both political and religious leaders such as false prophets or the corrupt priesthood; 2:6-12). In so doing he declared God's judgment (exile to Babylon) coming down on the wicked. The Lord fulfilled his prophecy by destroying the Jerusalem temple in 586 B.C. and exporting his people to Babylon. 

III. I watch in hope for the Lord (4:1-7:20)

Thirdly, Micah stood out from others because he had the hope of the Lord coming. In Micah 7:7 the Prophet confesses: "But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." What are the contents of the hope he had? For what or whom did he wait?

Let us open the Bible and read three passages: Micah 4:1-8; 5:1-7; and 7:18-20. These passages describe the visions of the Lord’s redemption. The Lord will turn the vision into reality by personally coming to his people in Bethlehem (5:2), shepherding over his flock (5:4), forgiving his people of their sins (7:18-20), and establishing his kingdom from among all peoples on earth in and through the remnants of Jacob (4:1-8; 5:7-8).  

Through the Spirit of prophecy the Lord revealed these visions to Micah. In the meantime the Lord planned to discipline the Israelites by exporting them into a foreign land. Indeed, about one century after the Micah’s prophecy the Lord sent the Israelites to Babylon. After seventy years of captivity in Babylon the Lord brought the remnants back to the Promised Land. Then, as Micah prophesied, the Savior was born in Bethlehem. The Savior shepherded over his flock in the strength of the Lord. As the good shepherd, the Savior named Jesus gave his life on a tree as a ransom for many and thereby fulfilled the prophecy to "tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:18-20).


Jesus' sacrifice gave rise to the hope of the redemption for all nations. Speaking of this hope that is still bearing fruit, Micah shared the vision of the mountain of the Lord's temple standing (or established) as chief among the mountains, raised above the hills. He saw the vision of the people streaming to the mountain of the Lord's temple for life. (Micah 4:1-5) 

The people of Micah's day lived with one hope or another. But their hopes were not based on the Lord’s promise to send the Savior. Rather their hopes were based on what is of temporary endurance (such as buying a retirement home or saving more money into retirement accounts at one financial institution or another.) Some however despaired, so they resigned themselves to a hedonistic lifestyle saying, "Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die." But Micah lived in the hope of the Savior coming. This hope empowered him to go against the stream of the wicked generation.  

In conclusion, let us read Micah 7:18, "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy." The question, "Who is a God like you," stimulates us to wholesome thinking. His question prompts us to examine and revise the ways of our life in view of the kind of God we have. Martin Luther once said, “The God of this world is riches, pleasure, and pride.” But Micah introduces to us a different God. While others devoted themselves to the God of riches, pleasure, and pride, Micah devoted himself to the God whose name is Yahweh. Then the Lord revealed himself to Micah. This revelation in turn helped Micah to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord (6:8). When he walked with the Lord, the Lord empowered him to overcome this sinful world and live as the lamp light shining God's light of salvation on this dying world. 

One word: Who is a God like you? 


Class Exercise:

1. In Hebrew Micah means, "Who is like Yahweh?" In view of the book of Micah, "Who is like Yahweh?"

2. Micah 6:5b reads, "Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord." What "righteous acts" did the Lord do for his people during their "journey from Shittim to Gilgal"?

3. According to Micah, which mountain is "chief" among [all] the mountains?

4. Again according to Micah, what is "good" for man? 

5. Fill the blanks:

Both hands are ________ in doing _____; 

The ruler demands ______;

The judge accepts _______; 

The powerful _________ what they desire;

The best of them [are] like a _______; and

The most upright [are] worse than a _________;

6. Which of the following is (or are) not the words of Micah?

1) I will weep and wail;

2) I will go about barefoot and naked;

3) I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl;

4) I am filled with the Spirit of the Lord; 

5) What misery is mine? 

6) Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord's wrath.

7) I watch in hope for the Lord.

The end


      His contemporaries include Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea.

      Cf. 1:12; 2:3; and 3:11

      1 John 3:8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.