This post is part four in a six-part series based on Dr. David Dykes’ sermon series titled “The Major Message of the Minor Prophets.” Dr. Dykes is the pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, TX.
In our first three parts, we’ve uncovered a common thread, a recurring pattern: A nation is blessed, and this leads to affluence and apathy and they slide into immorality. God sends a prophet to warn that unless they repent He will send judgment. If the nation turns to God, they are spared His punishment. If they ignore the message, then the result is national disaster. In most cases, the warnings of the prophets were ignored.
Recently we celebrated the 29-year anniversary of the tragedy of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The explosion that claimed the lives of the seven crew members was linked to a 1/2 inch thick o-ring; a little rubber seal. It had been noted and documented that these o-rings could harden and fail if exposed to extreme cold. The morning of the launch it was 15 degrees colder than any previous shuttle launch. NASA had been warned. NASA had been given a prophet so to speak. NASA ignored the warning and tragedy ensued.
In all of our previous cases that we’ve studied, the nations had been given a prophet. Unlike the ancient nations of the Old Testament, the Challenger accident had evidence rooted in science that warned them of what lie ahead. But those Old Testament nations often viewed these prophets as crazy men. There was no way they knew what would happen to these mighty nations. Thousands of years later though, we know.
Like prophets before him, Micah was given a vision and delivered a message to the people of Israel. And while the prophecy that Micah has foretold points to the destruction of a nation, Micah also points to something else, something much more familiar to us:
The word of the Lord that came to Micah the Moreshite — what he saw regarding Samaria and Jerusalem in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Listen, all you peoples; pay attention, earth and everyone in it! The Lord God will be a witness against you, the Lord, from His holy temple. 3 Look, the Lord is leaving His place and coming down to trample the heights of the earth. 4 The mountains will melt beneath Him, and the valleys will split apart, like wax near a fire, like water cascading down a mountainside. 5 All this will happen because of Jacob’s rebellion and the sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion of Jacob? Isn’t it Samaria? And what is the high place of Judah? Isn’t it Jerusalem? 6 Therefore, I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the countryside, a planting area for a vineyard. I will roll her stones into the valley and expose her foundations. 7 All her carved images will be smashed to pieces; all her wages will be burned in the fire, and I will destroy all her idols. Since she collected the wages of a prostitute, they will be used again for a prostitute. 8 Because of this I will lament and wail; I will walk barefoot and naked. I will howl like the jackals and mourn like ostriches. 9 For her wound is incurable and has reached even Judah; it has approached the gate of my people, as far as Jerusalem.” (Micah 1:1-9, HCSB)
…from His holy temple…
…the Lord is leaving His place and coming down…
Micah is foretelling of the coming of Jesus Christ!
But the people of Israel needed to do something. They needed to be led back to God somehow. Micah served the role in pointing out the path but through complacency and apathy, the people failed. Destruction ensued. They needed to be led like sheep. They needed a shepherd.
America needs a shepherd. We’ve already discovered that the message the minor prophets had still rings true today. We need to be led. We do not need a person to rise to an occasion, we need a shepherd to lead us, care for us, look out for us, die for us. It’s not our greed for money, our lust for flesh, our desire for power or even our hatred for those who don’t agree with us. It’s our sin. It’s our vary nature, the one we can’t escape on our own. It is the root of all that is wrong with us, our nation, our world. It is who we are but it is not who we are meant to be.
America needs a shepherd. We need Jesus. Will you let him shepherd you?
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© Image Reza Vaziri. 2007. Creative Commons