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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Preaching about Stolen Wealth (Micah 2:1-11)

Micah pronounces divine judgements on those in his country who spent their time planning how to increase their wealth at the expense of those to whom the Lord had given land as an inheritance. Their personal gain was basically an act of theft and they were taking that to which they had no right. They were behaving like Ahab when he tried to get the inheritance of Naboth (1 Kings 21). Their despising the property rights of others showed that they had no regard for the Lord who had given instructions about how the land was to be divided (vv. 1-2).

The Lord determined to punish them for this sin and they would lose all their ill-gotten gains. Such would be the reversal that people would sing about them with contempt. More seriously, they would have no descendants left in the land who would represent them in the national assembly, which is another way of saying that their descendants would be in exile. They had tried to accumulate land but would lose all they had (vv. 3-5).

Of course, attempts were made to silence the prophet’s message and one way to do so was by providing false prophets who would preach another message, in this case a message which said that God would not punish them (vv. 6-7a).

In response, the Lord speaks again. He reminds the people that his words ‘do good to him who walks uprightly’. Yet they had refused to listen to his servants and shown so by how they lived. They had robbed travellers as they passed through the land, they had removed mothers from their homes, and they had deprived children of the heritage God had given them (vv. 8-9).

Therefore they would not find any rest in Canaan, even although God had given the land to their ancestors for that purpose. They would be exiled because of their sins that had made the land unclean (v. 10).

Part of the problem was that, while the people would not listen to a true message from God, they would listen to any nonsense that was preached by a false prophet. But they could not remove the warning merely by changing the words they heard (v. 11).

Micah preached against the sins that corrupted his society.  Such sins, as well as others, corrupt our society. We need preachers who will preach about and against the sins practiced by some and tolerated by others in our society, sins that include the misuse of riches and the oppression of those who are in need. 

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