The prophet Micah called his people to consider how far their hearts had drifted from the pattern of Sinai. He gave them a warning to learn the lesson their Jewish neighbors had not learned that resulted in their exile. He gave his people a sorely needed wake up call, and yet he also gave them a threefold model to follow in calling the people to just actions, hearts desiring mercy, and living humble lives before an audience of One. This model was a 180 degree transformation from the popular pattern of stone cold ruthlessness and oppression that characterized the people of God at that time. Unfortunately the words of God’s prophets are listened to far too late, yet they are preserved in Scripture in part to acknowledge that the Lord was in fact speaking: that God was pleading with the people to repent and be restored to lives of love and justice.
In Micah 7 we see Micah call the people into a kind of reorientation to God. He does this first by lamenting his way through the unjust circumstances he sees at play around him… and he does this with an eye toward hope. In the middle of chapter seven Micah describes a people who will rise from the ashes of their exile–despite being trampled under the feet of their enemies. Lastly he closes his prophetic word with both prayer and praise to God, tempering his harsh message with a reminder of who God is and the compassionate heart of God that will one day bring about deep healing and restoration.
In short Micah points to a time beyond the present darkness, a time when the people of God once again live fully into their covenant as they did before. In the book of Judges God’s actions describe a cycle of God raising up a leader who will turn back the people toward God. Micah it seems struggled mightily to bring this about in his prophetic calling, but I see his closing picture of hope as one that points to Jesus as a Judges-style Redeemer who will come and renew the covenant between God and His people. It was Jesus who would come to “pardon sin and forgive the transgression of the remnant of [God’s] inheritance.”
- Read Micah 7 paying special attention to the themes of reorientation, hope, and praise to God.
- Friday Fool’s Challenge:
Prayerfully reflect on times in your life you have been hurt, abused or ignored. Ignatian spirituality often uses the language of “consolation and desolation” to describe the times through later reflection we notice we felt closest and farthest from God. Acknowledge a recent or significant time of desolation and the steps of the emotional journey of once again to finding your life re orientated to the character and nature of God, and His covenant that offers a path to restoration.
- Use colored pencils or other vibrantly colored art supplies to manually draw or sculpt whatever comes to mind as a touchstone on this journey. As an example from my life, one of my daughters was born with serious complications that resulted in me flying with her in a life-flight helicopter where we spent 8 days in the NICU. Later, I used colorful clay to make a model helicopter to commemorate the experience and the raw emotions and alienation I experienced. Whatever “monument” you create, and whatever your artistic level is, do not worry about perfection. Reflect on the consolation and desolation of your experience and on where–looking back–you can see how God was at work, and if you can, bring a sense of godly play to the task as you engage with this experience of re-orientation to God.