Friday, August 28, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 30, 2015

Over 85,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

RETURN TO A JUST GOD
(Give to the LORD what is HIS)
(Malachi 3:1-14)

It must not be forgotten that JESUS HIMSELF was raised on scripture. In fact, HE based HIS entire ministry on what it says, and HE also approached HIS death with its words on HIS lips. Peter C. Craige once wrote, “When people cease to care, then, religion, morality, social customs, and values, all cease to function as mortar that holds together a society, and maintain ancient faith”.
In the book of Malachi, the prophet challenges the people of Israel about their lack of seriousness toward their relationship and obedience to GOD. It is never an easy task to deal with indifference, or its consequences, or, a gradual slide towards an unstructured existence, much like we live in today.
Malachi is the last of the twelve so-called “minor prophets” and the final book of the Old Testament in its present order. It brings to an appropriate end, our reflections on the messages of the prophets of ancient Israel. In fact, one can hardly read Malachi 3:1 without being reminded of the ministry of John the Baptist. It prompts us to recall his immortal words of him being “a voice crying in the wilderness”, seeking to make straight the way of the LORD.
In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “messenger” is “aggelos” (ang-el-os), and it describes one who brings news, or tidings, by divine order from GOD. JESUS came to usher in a new covenant from GOD. It is a covenant that is far superior to any before, or since, that time. In Malachi 3, the word messenger takes on a three-fold emphasis, because there we see the messenger, Malachi, announcing the coming of the messenger, John the Baptist, who announced the coming of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, the ultimate messenger.
Taking up at verse 6 we find the fifth of six oracles that are found in the book of Malachi, and it is “a call for repentance”. It begins with perhaps the most immortal of all statements from GOD that are found in all the annals of Scripture. There GOD announces that “I AM THE LORD, AND I DO NOT CHANGE…”. It is a profound utterance that seeks to drive home the point that the coming New Testament would by no means contradict the Testament of old, and even JESUS confirmed this statement when HE declared in HIS, now famous, “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:17-20 - NLT), “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until Heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of GOD’s Law will remain until its purpose is achieved. So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys GOD’s laws, and teaches them, will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven”.
Since the beginning of the fall of man (Adam and Eve), away from the laws of GOD, GOD has extended a perpetual open invitation to us, through HIS prophets, pleading with us to return to HIM. Sadly, and surprisingly, each generation since then, seems to fail to understand, or see where we have ever even strayed away from HIM in the first place (v.7). We have abandoned GOD, for instance, in our refusal to share with each other, and, we have totally misunderstood the purpose of tithes and offering for many generations now. When we fail to give at least “a tenth” of what we have, into the storehouse for those who are in need, we fail to take the curse off of “one hundred percent” of what we have, and are trying desperately to keep for ourselves. And so GOD says that, in reality, we are cheating HIM (v.9).
The “storehouse” or church pantries and coffers should be the largest room in any place of worship, not the sanctuary. Christians should desire more so that they may have more to give away, not more to keep. GOD’s mercy is rendered to those who give, not to those who receive, and then strive to keep. HE opens up the windows of Heaven, and pours out HIS blessings on those who desire to share and give a portion of that which they receive, to others who are in “temporary need”.
However, we should always keep in mind that, GOD does not advocate enabling a person to stay in a position of neediness, and making them totally dependent upon us, but rather, HE wants us all to eventually move into a position so that we can help someone else who is struggling, or going astray, and always only see our total dependence on HIM, as being necessary and real (Vs.8-14).
It is the duty of the Christian to build his or her foundation on “the Most High Faith”. We must learn to pray in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT, and remember the conditions of the New Covenant under which the love of GOD has called us, and then finally, we must wait on mercy from JESUS CHRIST unto eternal life.
The, contents of the book of Malachi suggests that it was probably written, during the interval, between Nehemiah’s two terms as governor of Judah. The prophet’s charges against the sins of Judah in those days were met by sarcasm and denial by most of the people of Israel. They, as a nation, had once again failed to put GOD first, despite having so recently experienced HIS benevolent grace, by HIM releasing them from their captivity in Babylon.
Malachi seems to remind us through his messages, that, until CHRIST comes again, we can’t expect to see a just society established here on earth. And while it is true that perfection won’t even come to the Church, until GOD’s program for it is consummated with the second coming of our LORD and SAVIOR, until then, the Church will only be perfect when no human being is in it.
It now seems that the very minute we enter into the Church, perfection leaves out the door,
however, we as Christians can still, all reach a high level of maturity by learning and becoming accustomed to practicing the immortal acts of love that has already been exhibited to us by JESUS HIMSELF, during HIS lifetime here on earth. And those of us who love the LORD will continue to converse together about HIM, and, by the way we live our lives, we can continue to display the distinctions that exist between good and evil in the world.
The “Christian Hope” still consists of a promise to the faithful, and the differences between believers and non-believers will always ring eternal. And through it all, we can rely on our “Faith”, “Hope”, and “Love”, the three great enduring things, GOD personified, to sustain us. And “Love” will always remain as the greatest of those three eternal qualities, because it is, quite literally, the very foundation of the Christian life itself. Understanding that, we can see, quite vividly, why “our love of CHRIST is the true measure of a person’s spiritually”, and, why that same love of CHRIST, also exemplifies the closeness of our relationship with GOD.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



  

Friday, August 21, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 23, 2015

Over 84,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

REPENT AND RETURN TO THE LORD
(GOD demands justice)
(Zechariah 7)

The book of the post-exilic prophet, Zechariah, begins with a series of eight visions (chapters 1-6) that depict in very graphic language, the full power that GOD has over all human events. These visions also speak to the importance of spiritual strength, the judgment of GOD on sin, and the promise of better times ahead for those who believe and trust in GOD. Those eight visions are followed by a series of updated messages that embody both, encouragement, and, further admonishments from the LORD.  
There are two themes that are emphasized in the book of Zechariah that should be of special interest to all Christians today. First, it is a book that is filled with detailed references to the first advent of JESUS CHRIST, our LORD and SAVIOR. They include references of JESUS’ lowliness and 100 % humanity (Zechariah 6:20), and, HIS kingship (Zechariah 6:13, 9:9, 14:9 & 14:16).
The second theme that should be of interest to Christians is the motif of “eschatology” (the systematic study of the “End Times”) that is contained in the final section of the book in chapters 12-14. These chapters focus on the coming of the “Messianic Age” where Jerusalem and GOD’s people will, at last, become truly holy (obedient to GOD).
Here in Zechariah 7, however, we see a call for justice and mercy among GOD’s people, and a change in the treatment of the Jews toward one another, and toward GOD. GOD did not wish HIS people to be as their ancestors were, concerning their unGODly conduct against HIM, and, by plugging their “spiritual ears” so that they could not hear the words of HIS prophets, who, were ushered along by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT (v.12).
During the fourth year of the Persian King Darius’ reign, another message came to the prophet Zechariah from the LORD. At that time the people of Bethel had sent a contingent of men, led by Sharezer and Regemmelech, to seek the LORD’s favor on them. Their charge from the people of Bethel was to ask the prophets and the priests at the Temple, whether or not they should continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple destruction by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, as they had done since the time the exile began (Vs.1-3).
The LORD instructed Zechariah to tell the men from Bethel, and their priests these words;
 “During those seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and at the festival in early autumn, was it really for ME that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, you don’t think about ME but only of pleasing yourselves” (Vs.4-6 - NLT).

It was the same message that the LORD had proclaimed through the prophets years ago, all while Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and even the Negev and the foothills of Judah were heavily populated areas. In verses 9-10 of this passage we see yet another message to Israel from the LORD, through HIS beloved prophet, where HE says;

“Judge fairly and honestly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and poor people. And do not make evil plans to harm each other” (NLT).

Zechariah 7, verses 4-10 is undoubtedly one of the clearest expressions in the bible, concerning the heart of GOD. There HE tells us quite simply that man should honor HIM through our daily behavior, and our positive relationships with each other, and not through the various rituals (i.e. playing church) that satisfy only ourselves.
When our forefathers refused to listen to GOD, HE judged them accordingly. Hopefully, we in this generation will begin to learn from history, and then humble ourselves and repent, lest history repeats itself, and we ourselves be judged in like manner.
Prior generations in Israel had not heeded this same message that GOD had given to the pre-exilic prophets. They had steadfastly turned a deaf ear to all of GOD’s warnings, and they had hardened their hearts to a point that it simply prevented them from hearing HIS laws, or the messages that were sent by HIS SPIRIT, through those prophets of yore. And since the people would not listen to HIM, GOD, in return, would not listen to the desperate cries of HIS wayward people when they were in distress. Instead, HE scattered them into distant lands where they were forced to live as strangers, and their own land became like a desert, and went virtually uninhabited for a total of 70 years.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website


Friday, August 14, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 16, 2015

Over 84,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

A CALL FOR REPENTANCE
(The justice of a righteous GOD)
(Ezekiel 18)

In Ezekiel 18 the prophet Ezekiel receives yet another message from GOD, this time regarding HIS sovereignty and righteousness in judgment, and how we are all, as individuals, responsible for our own actions and behavior. In chapters 15-17 Ezekiel had already delivered three other messages, or parables that were designed to convict the nation of Judah of her sins against GOD. Here in this chapter, the prophet’s message returns to the bluntness necessary to drive home to Judah, their personal, individual responsibility for their own iniquities.
He begins this chapter with a proverb that must have been very familiar to Israel, because it had also been quoted by the prophet Jeremiah, just a few years earlier (Jeremiah 31:29). Here GOD asks Ezekiel about this proverb since it had been circulating among the Israelites for some time now. The proverb states that, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste” (Ezekiel 18:2 - NLT).
The point of this proverb was that, the children of Israel believed that they were suffering because of the sins of their parents. In other words, the Israelites felt that GOD was punishing them because of the sins of their ancestors, and not because of any fault of their own, and this of course, was ridiculous. In fact, the very thought of this proverb depicts GOD as being “unjust”. GOD saw a great need to refute this false doctrine, and so HE called it to the attention of HIS prophet Ezekiel. Like most false doctrine, a trace of truth is used in order to make it sound plausible, and this particular proverb was no exception.
In the “Decalogue” (Ten Commandments) of GOD’s Word (Exodus 20:5, 34:6-7, & Deuteronomy 5:9), we see a few examples of where GOD talks about punishing the children of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate HIM. However, the whole point of these passages is that “the effects of sin are serious and long-lasting”, not that GOD punishes the innocent for their ancestors evils literally. There is always a chance that our iniquities and mistakes will affect others at some future date, but that backlash lies with us as responsible human beings, not with GOD. GOD gives us wills that are free (freedom of choice), and our choices always, invariably, will affect someone else, be they family members or not, in the future.
Here in this passage, GOD presents us three hypothetical case examples to show how we as individuals are responsible for our own choices in life:

·         In case number one HE presents to us, the example of a righteous man who does what is lawful and right under GOD. He does not worships idols, or engage in forbidden sexual activities such as adultery, homosexuality, etc. He is merciful to his creditors, does not rob the poor, he gives food to the hungry and provides clothing to those in need. He gives loans without interest, stays away from injustice, and faithfully considers at all times, what is right by GOD. This particular person is just, and will be honored, and be allowed to live with GOD in eternity.
·         In case number two GOD presents us with another supposition. Suppose the son of that same righteous man grew up to be a robber, or a murderer and just refuses to do right, in fact, he does exactly the opposite of the father. Should such a sinful person go unpunished because of the reputation of his father? No! GOD says, that person must be punished according to his own iniquities, and not spared because of his father’s righteous behavior.
·         In the third case scenario GOD says, “Suppose that sinful son, in turn, has a son, who sees his father’s wickedness and decides against that kind of lifestyle for himself”. He, instead, chooses to live the righteous lifestyle of his grandfather. That son will not be punished because of his father’s sins, but rather will be blessed as his grandfather was. And bear in mind, it is not because of his grandfather’s righteous choices and decisions that he is blessed, but rather, it will be because he himself personally made the right choices under GOD.

When we blame others for our faults and misfortunes, we inevitably deny our own guilt, and, through “human ingenuity”, claim innocence and perfection, that, in our own minds, justify our sinful behavior against GOD. In this passage of scripture, GOD is clearly saying in no uncertain terms, that, “the person who sins is the person who pays the consequences”, not our children, and, not anyone else.
Every human being has to make an account for the deeds done in his or her lifetime. GOD will judge each of us according to our own actions, good or bad, and so we must turn away from our sins and be drawn instead to the more GODly things in life, lest we allow our sins to destroy us. We have to put our rebellious ways behind us, in order that we may grasp and obtain “a new heart” (new GODly way of thinking), and “a new SPIRIT” (new GODly influence), walking in “the newness of life”, that is, CHRIST JESUS. When we make the right and GODly decisions, GOD’s mercy towards us will “win out” over HIS judgment against us (James 2:13b).
GOD does not wish to see any of us perish by permanently separating ourselves from HIM through our sins. Instead, HE wishes for us live eternally with HIM through our new found relationship with CHRIST JESUS. GOD does not enjoy punishing us for sins, but rather HE relishes in the thought that we will choose to be blessed by HIM for our obedience.
GOD’s wish has always been that all men will be saved by their freedom to choose CHRIST JESUS over the lure of satan, who wishes for us to lose our hearts to the temporal pleasures of this world, and thereby, follow him into the pits of Hell.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



Friday, August 7, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 9, 2015

Over 83,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

OUR EVIL ACTIONS WILL BRING CONSEQUENCES
(GOD has before, and will again destroy the Church for its sinful behavior)
(Jeremiah 7:1-15)

The passage of scripture contained in Jeremiah 7, verses 1-15 is known as “The Temple Address”. The LORD gave this message to Jeremiah only about twenty years before the first invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. The Temple at that time had become a place of superstitious religion, where false prophets tried to assure the people of Judah that they were safe there, and, that the LORD would never destroy the place of HIS residence here on earth.
These false prophets steadfastly preached against Jeremiah’s warnings from GOD regarding the coming exile of the nation into Babylon. They believed that, not only was the Temple safe, but the entire land of Judah was safe from GOD’s judgment as well. Here, Jeremiah’s sermon served to do away with this popular, but superstitious belief that had been held by most of Judah’s faithful in those days.
This sermon, which is said to be Jeremiah’s first, roused much hostility within the Church community, however, GOD sought to warn the people of Judah, through HIS prophet, that, their safety did not lie within the confines of a defiled temple, but rather, it depended on their, putting into place, moral, social, and religious reforms, and turning from their evil ways (Vs.6-10). 
In verses 11-17 GOD refers to the Temple as “a den of robbers”, a place where thieves came to hide out in search of their next victim (v.11). It is a disturbing analogy, but it most accurately described the activity in and around this, once sacred edifice at Jerusalem.
In verse 12 GOD invites Judah to take a look back at Shiloh, the former worship center which HE had destroyed during the latter days of the Judges, who ruled over Israel. Its demise is chronicled in the pages of 1 Samuel 4 with the death of Eli and his family, and the capture of the “Ark of the Covenant” by the Philistines. It symbolized that GOD’s glory had left the place of HIS worship, and it served as a reminder to Judah that their confidence in the safety of the Temple was sadly misplaced, and that GOD can and will destroy the Temple at Jerusalem if they didn’t get their act together soon.
All during the time that the Israelites were committing all kinds of atrocious and evil deeds against the LORD in the Church, HE had repeatedly spoken to them through various prophets, however, those warnings had largely gone unheeded. Now, the LORD was promising to send the other half of HIS once-beloved nation (northern Israel had already been conquered by Assyria in 722 B.C.) into exile, where they would remain for 70 years, which was one year for every “Sabbath year rest” (70 in a 490 year period) that they had violated (see “Sabbath year rest” – Leviticus 25:1-7). As all of biblical history proves, GOD always gives us numerous warnings before HE exacts punishment on us, and now, here in this first sermon of the great prophet Jeremiah, we see that it will be no different. GOD does not change, but rather, we must change.
Most of the events that are chronicled here in the life of the prophet Jeremiah take place during the reign of Israel’s last king, Jehoiachin (aka. “Eliakim”), who was one of the sons of King Josiah. He ascended to the throne of Judah after Pharaoh Neco of Egypt had imprisoned his brother, Jehoahaz, who had reigned only three months (2 Kings 23:36-37). He, like his brother before him, did much evil in the sight of the LORD, despite the fact that he had ample opportunities to hear the LORD, and had the wonderful example that had been set by his father, Josiah (the last GODly king of Judah), to influence him. And being the last king of Judah also afforded him with a long history of failures and successes that he could draw upon and use for guidance.  
Sadly, Jehoiachin chose to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Manasseh, who was, arguably, the most wicked of all the Davidic kings in Judah’s history. He went on to reverse every religious reform that his father, Josiah, had ever put into place, and he was eventually captured and led away into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, being pulled by a ring in his nose, according to Jewish tradition.
And so we eventually see GOD’s messages being fulfilled, as they always are, whenever HE tries to speak to us through HIS various prophets, channels, and methods. GOD said then, and HE still says now, that our evil actions will always bring consequences. Disobedience to GOD always results in separation from GOD. And just as it has been said through all of the Old Testament prophets, and New Testament writers and thinkers who remind us of GOD’s undeniable truths, while we can always be saved from hell’s damnation, we cannot ever be saved from the consequences of our sins. And so the “right time” to come to GOD remains to be, “right now”. And the “right way” to come to GOD will always be “just as we are”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website




  

  





Friday, July 31, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 2, 2015

Over 83,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

OUR REDEEMER COMES
(GOD is the only one WHO is able to redeem us)
(Isaiah 59)

Unless a person receives “new life” through CHRIST JESUS, their sin will carry them over into eternal death (permanent separation from GOD). In Isaiah chapter 59, the prophet stresses the fact that our sins are what continue to interrupt our relationship with GOD. GOD’s general blessings (those that are bestowed upon all human beings, believers and unbelievers, i.e. the right to life, air, rain, sunshine, etc.), and, special favors (those that are bestowed upon us whenever we live in obedient to HIS Word) are ever-flowing. However, when we sin, we disconnect ourselves from that flow of special favor, and sometimes, even from general blessings.
Here in this passage, taking up at verses 1-3, Isaiah reminds us that GOD is not too weak to save us from ourselves. HE still has ears to hear us when we call (GOD is not deaf), but our lifestyles have placed us in a “spiritual disconnect” situation, where we are no longer able to communicate and speak with HIM successfully. In other words, we have allowed our “spiritual phone line service” to be cut off, because of sin, and we need to “reconnect” into a personal relationship of friendship with GOD, through earnest repent, and a return to obedience.
Sin corrupts human nature and turns our thoughts to evil acts against each other, and more importantly, against GOD, WHO created us in HIS OWN “spiritual image” (tselem) to be HIS “figurative representatives” here on earth. Sin arouses wrong desires, and so weakens us, that we choose wrong over right, even when we are sober and cognizant of the perverseness of our choices. It is not until a person falls in love with goodness, that “wrong things” will no longer fascinate, and have power over us.
In verses 4-8 Isaiah paints a grim, but accurate picture of an immoral society that has almost totally turned itself away from GOD. It is the depiction of a society where few care about being fair or honest. Even their lawsuits against each other were based on lies. People were beginning to spend a great deal of their time plotting evil deeds, and then, vigorously carrying out those schemes with the greatest of skill. They cheated and shortchanged people, and nothing they did was morally or spiritually productive during the course of any given day. Violence became a societal trademark, as many feet ran to do evil, and rushed to commit murder. Their every thought was sinful, and everywhere they went, misery and destruction followed closely behind them, and no one was able to experience even a moment of peace. Um! Sounds almost like today’s society!
Through all of our evil ways, we actually show how far GOD’s deliverance is from us. We walk around in spiritual darkness, groping and stumbling like blind people, and we don’t even realize that we have a light in this world, JESUS, WHO came to save us from ourselves. Yes, we look for justice, but there is none to be found, because we don’t require it of the people we choose and elect to rule over us. As a result, we now find ourselves looking to be redeemed by unjust men and women, who badly need GOD’s salvation themselves. Instead of praising and obeying GOD, we turn our backs on GOD, and rebel against HIM every chance we get. And now we’ve reached a point where our courts oppose GOD, and, the righteous people of GOD.
We live in a time where truth falls dead in our streets, and professed Christians are more concerned with defending their own race than they are about defending the truth of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. Even here in the United States we now verbally, and sometimes, physically attack and punish, those who choose to believe GOD, and not man. Yes, our sins are piled up high in this generation, and they testify boldly against us with their presence before GOD.
In verses 16-21 Isaiah delivers some good news to those who lived in the eighth century that were seeking GOD’s righteousness through their behavior. And that same message comes to like-minded individuals, from across the spans of time, who, in this, the twenty-first century, choose to follow CHRIST JESUS, our LORD. There he tells us that GOD will step in to save HIS oppressed people with a mighty power, and justice. And HE HIMSELF, will don “righteousness” as HIS body armor, and will have on HIS head, “a helmet of salvation”. HE will also clothe HIMSELF with the robe of vengeance and GODly fury (Vs.16-17).
It is a prophecy of the coming of CHRIST, and here Isaiah is saying that, GOD, through JESUS, HIS SON, will render righteousness and salvation to HIS people, while, at one and the same time, vigorously executing vengeance on those who oppressed and harmed HIS people, physically, morally, and spiritually. Then, at last, the whole world will respect and glorify the name of JESUS, as our REDEEMER and LORD (v.19).  
In verses 20-21 Isaiah foretells that the MESSIAH will go to Jerusalem to redeem those in Israel who have turned from their sins. HE will then enter into a “New Covenant” with them, and neither HIS HOLY SPIRIT, nor HIS words, will ever leave them, or their children in the generations to come. And Israel, through the light of CHRIST, will shine on many in all the other nations, and they too, will be attracted to the glory of our LORD, JESUS CHRIST, forever.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website






Friday, July 24, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 26, 2015

Over 82,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

GOD SHOWS CLEMENCY
(Misery turned to hope)
(Micah 7)

While Israel was busy growing in sin, and living out her own worldly fantasies, GOD was busy shaping her enemy, Assyria, into a world power that HE would use to crush those sinful fantasies into the dust, once and for all. But first, GOD would send into their midst, several prophets with messages that would, hopefully, turn HIS beloved nation around, and propel them back to serving HIM.
Each of those prophets condemned the sinful choices of northern Israel and Judah, and each offered a much more grander vision from GOD, that was composed of, both, discipline, and, a “spiritual road map” of the best route to preserving the future welfare of HIS “chosen people”. Through their messages, each prophet showed us a GOD WHO is committed to both judgment of sin, and, to keeping HIS covenant promises.
In Micah chapter 7, the prophet Micah can sense the misery of Israel’s spiritual defeat, and here he expresses his disappointment due to the moral and spiritual decline of this eighth century Hebrew society, in which he himself lived. And while most of that generation sat in the darkness of their own hedonistic lifestyles, Micah, along with a small remnant, all shared hope in GOD that HE would redeem those who were committed to obedience to HIS laws.
In verses 1 and 2, Micah imagines himself, analogically, being in an orchard, or a vineyard, and feeling the misery of one who looks around and sees no harvest to satisfy his hunger, after working the crops all year long. Here he is saying that he can now look around GOD’s chosen community and see, or at least, readily find no one with whom he could fellowship. He feels almost totally isolated and alone, much in the way that Elijah felt (1 kings 19:14). In verse 2 he says that the GODly people have all disappeared, and not one fair-minded person remained, throughout all of Israel.
Then, in verses 3-4 he describes a scene of total evil gone amok in the community of GOD, as people had began to sin with all their might. Here he says people were sinning with both hands, and what’s worse, they had become very adept at their evil practices. The people with money were paying others to sin with, and for them, and together they twisted justice as far as they possibly could.     
The depiction of this sinful atmosphere is escalated in verses 5-6 where Micah sends a warning not to trust anyone, not a best friend, or even a spouse. Here he even says that the son despises the father, the daughter strongly defies her mother, and so certainly, the daughter-in-law openly defies her mother-in-law.
In verse 7 Micah gives us his solution, and we can see that it is one that is actually quite practical. Here he states, “As for me, I look to the LORD for HIS help. I wait confidently for GOD to save me, and my GOD will certainly hear me”. And so Micah is urging the few people left who have a heart for GOD (the remnant) to put their hope in HIM, and not in changing their own situations by trusting in their own “human ingenuity”. They should look to what GOD will do for those who trust in HIM, and don’t focus on what people were doing around them. The word “hope” implies a willingness to wait, and, a confidence that GOD has a future stored with great blessings, for those who believe on HIM when times are tough.
In verses 14-20 Micah begins to pray for the LORD’s compassion on Israel, which will certainly come after judgment, and, after giving the sins of HIS people a chance to run its course in Assyria. HE pleads that the LORD will, once again, come and rule over HIS people, leading them as “a great shepherd” leads his sheep into greener pastures, and then, protects them from the enemies of the wilds around them.
Then hopefully, GOD’s powerful intervention will humble, not only the Israelites, but also, all the other nations of the world who aspire to attack and conquer GOD’s chosen people. Micah says the enemy nations will one day be embarrassed that their power is so insignificant, and they will stand in awe, and realize how lowly they are compared to GOD. And then ultimately, they too will come out to meet the LORD in fear and trembling (Vs.16-17).
In verses 18-20 the prophet ends his book praising the Almighty GOD. What sets the FATHER of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST apart from all the “false gods” is HIS willingness, despite HIS sovereign power, to pardon the sins of HIS greatest creation, mankind. Even when we fail HIM, HE remains faithful to us. And in HIS faithfulness, HE cleanses us through HIS discipline, and uses that same discipline to transform us into individuals who are more pleasing to HIM. And all the while, at one and the same time, HE keeps every promise HE ever made to “the faithful people” (Noah, Abraham, David, etc.) who came before us.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website