Micah 8:7-18 - Micah's Profound Example Towards His Enemies
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. 10 Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the Lord your God?” My eyes will look upon her; now she will be trampled down like the mire of the streets.
11 A day for the building of your walls! In that day the boundary shall be far extended. 12 In that day they will come to you, from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the River, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. 13 But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their deeds.
14 Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, who dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. 15 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them marvelous things. 16 The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their mouths; their ears shall be deaf; 17 they shall lick the dust like a serpent, like the crawling things of the earth; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds; they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God, and they shall be in fear of you. (Micah 7:8-17)
When we preached on Micah 6:8 we saw that there is a godly tension between doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God. There is a tension that we all experience between seeing justice upheld and loving compassion in a world full of sin. We are often debating whether or not any particular occasion is one where justice is given out or compassion and mercy is expressed. (Example: judge giving a convicted killer a bible after judgment and the uproar that follows)
In some ways, the remainder of our text in Micah is putting this same tension before us. We will see an example of a godly man, in very difficult circumstances, respond justly, mercifully and humbly before the LORD.
Last week we pointed out a great contrast between Micah 7:1 and Micah 7:8. In Micah 7:1 the prophet Micah said, “Woe is me!”, but in Micah 7:8 he says, “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy”.
Micah is in misery; his enemies rejoiced
Micah is hopeless; his enemy celebrated at his suffering.
Micah is in despair; his enemy exulted in that moment.
Micah is empty on the inside; his enemies hearts spill over with joy.
Micah weeps; the enemy chuckles and laughs.
If you have watched the news this week you would think that our culture takes the sin of “taunting” very seriously. It was in the news that a Green Bay Packer running back was fined $10,500 for taunting a Dallas Cowboys defensive player as he ran into the end zone for his third touchdown. He taunted him by waving good-bye to the player as he crossed the goal line. He rejoiced over the opponent and will pay dearly for it.
Because of this, we might conclude that we take things such as ‘taunting’ very seriously. However, there are other areas in life in which we do not display such a high view of taunting, deriding, mocking and ridiculing others. Nor are there always consequences for doing such things.
For example, on January 22nd of this year a law was passed by the New York State Assembly which legalized abortion all the way up to the point of birth. One of the things that was so shocking about that vote was the response of those who were present when it became law. When it passed they cheered and celebrated the legalization of babies being aborted right up to the moment of birth. If those babies could talk they would say, like Micah, “Rejoice not over me, Oh my enemy!”
Needless to say, there is some confusion as to the appropriateness of when and what we are celebrate in our culture. There is great confusion these days over what is right, wrong, acceptable and improper.
There are many places in scripture where we are admonished not to rejoice over the fall of our enemy. For example, consider Proverbs 24:17-18, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.”
But then there are verses like Proverbs 11:10 which states, “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.” In this world there is such oppression, brutality, cruelty, domination, injustice, persecution and suffering that when the wicked perish there will be shouts of great joy. When Nehemiah completed the walls which protected the city and kept the evildoers out we find these words, “And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.” (Nehemiah 12:43)