The Lord’s indictment against Israel and Judah included a pointed rebuke of her most influential men. Some were rulers in matters of civil justice. Others were “priests” who stood between God and the people as guardians of worship. Still more were “prophets” who were ambassadors of the Almighty charged with bringing His Word to the nation. The kings and their administrations were to lead justly, the priests were to mediate between God and humanity with humility, and the prophets were to speak for the Lord truthfully. Instead they bore much of the blame for the sad condition of God’s covenant community.
When Israel and Judah faced imminent danger in the days of Micah, those who reigned in Samaria and Jerusalem were people who chose to “hate the good and love the evil.” Micah gave a horrifying description of their malice and violence. The top men who should have been serving God and His children instead were inclined to “chop them up like meat in a pot.”
Eventually the day would come when the abusers would themselves be confronted by enemies who would be too strong for them. They would then call out to God for help, but He would “not answer them.” All of the chiefs among them would desire direction from Jehovah, but there would be “no answer from God.”
Micah was faithfully declaring to everyone their “transgression” and “sin,” but they were unwilling to turn away from evil. The best positioned among them were ready to take bribes and to “teach for a price,” but they were far from leading by example. Nevertheless they imagined that they were safe from any divine judgment. “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.” Yet Zion would soon “be plowed as a field,” and Jerusalem would “become a heap of ruin.”
God appointed prophets, priests, and kings for the good of Israel and Judah. Instead of serving sacrificially they enriched themselves at the expense of those who needed their help. We now have a better Ruler over the house of God, Jesus, who reigns in love. He is a Mediator who is able to sympathize with us in our grief, and who speaks and lives out the truth of God as our Redeemer and Lord.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, You have granted leaders in Your church to be pastors who would love the families that they guide. What shall we do if those servants only serve themselves and destroy Your beloved children that they should be helping? Father, receive our thanks for the provision of the greatest and best Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. His heart is always fully seeking our good, and His strength will accomplish His purposes. Even now He is ascended on high providing many blessings to Your people. Restrain the wickedness of men, O God. We praise You for the provision of godly elders who will lead us by Your Word in a day of great confusion.