Reading: Micah 2; Ezekiel 34
God will gather the remnant of His people together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in a pasture. Now that the rulers over the people abuse their power for their own profit and do not pastor the flock, God will destroy them and He will take care of the flock Himself.
We can also read about this in Ezekiel 34! This is a recurring theme in the prophets, how the leaders have abused God’s flock which was entrusted to their care and robbed them. Ezekiel 34 even speaks about eating up the flock instead of feeding them. God will punish them and destroy them. He will remove them from their position and they will go into exile. Later, when Judah went into exile, about 130 years after Micah, then it was especially the nobility, the rulers, the rich people who were taken into exile, and ten years later, after another rebellion of the people against Nebuchadnezzar, also some of the others. Even then the poorest could stay behind in the land. That shows that God’s punishment was mainly against the leaders. God will set the remnant free from its oppressors, its evil leaders.
God cares for His people. HE loves them. HE treats them with gentleness. And He will deal with them as a loving Shepherd does.
Micah speaks about a noisy multitude. They shall make a loud noise because of so many people. That indicates happiness. They will not be silent. They will be rejoicing. The encouragement which we may receive as God’s people time and again, is that God is faithful. We sin, we are unfaithful, we are weak. We so often turn away from God.
God is faithful, also in punishing the sins of those who rebel against God. But the Bible tells us that every time we return to Him, He will never forget His promises. He will forgive, seventy times seven times, and even more. Infinitely. He will be faithful in fulfilling His promises to each and every one of us.
However, we must not just look at our individual situation. When the Bible speaks about God’s faithfulness, then it is about His people. God will gather His people. We confess that Jesus Christ gathers His church from the beginning of the world to its end. The Bible shows us how the history of mankind is one continual repetition of sinfulness and unfaithfulness from our side. After the fall in sin, God does continue with mankind and gave the promise of deliverance in Genesis 3:15. But then we see again the sinfulness of the world, and God punished the world with the flood. But He was faithful, and He continued with Noah and his family. Again, the world was unfaithful, and God called Abraham. And we know about the constant unfaithfulness of Israel, while God does not give up His work. And in the time after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, we see the same repetition continue in the church. The church becomes corrupt and reformation is necessary. The Great Reformation was experienced by those who were reformed, as the great liberation from the oppression of the clergy in the Roman Catholic Church. What a rejoicing did this Great Reformation bring among God’s people. God Himself gathered the remnant together and cared for them.
And that continues throughout the history of the church thereafter. Falling away, followed by reformation. God’s covenant stands from age to age unbroken. God has given His Son Jesus Christ, Who in our place fulfilled our part of the covenant. And now He is our Good Shepherd. He rules over us, with gentleness and with love. He was faithful even unto death. Now He is our righteousness.
We know that we are righteous before God. We know, by faith, that we are and forever will remain living members of God’s people, of Christ’s Church. He is the One Who brings us the victory. We don’t fear what human beings can do to us. We are being led out and are placed in the glorious freedom of God’s people.
Micah describes this deliverance in vs. 13. The one who breaks open will come up before them. The Saviour will lead them. He will break open the siege of the enemy, as in the days of Hezekiah the armies of Sennacherib. They will be broken and God’s people will escape. So also now, we know that the power of Satan is broken and death has no power over us. Christ came to break the power of death, and He Who broke open now also goes before us. He is as the first fruits, we will follow.
We may break out, break free from the power of sin and death, pass through the gate and go out by it. The LORD goes at our head. Christ will lead His Church to the eternal victory. There’s never a time that the church isn’t there. She will always exist. From the beginning of the world to its end. Sometimes it may be almost invisible: see 7000 under Ahab. But Church will be victorious because Christ obtained the victory!
Be faithful in your task while trusting in Him. God will always be faithful to us. No doubt. God gives us His promises, He will be faithful. He forgives us our sins, and He gives us eternal life. We must believe it Him. We must trust in God. We must be His people. Cleave to Him. Love Him. It is not a relationship of works but of love. That is what God wants. That is what He gives to us. To love Him with all our heart and soul and mind.We love Him, but that love, even faith is worked in us by the Spirit, Who works in us both to will and to work for God’s good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
Those who truly are God’s people, God Himself will assemble and shepherd them like His own flock.
Key Text: Ezekiel 34:27: … and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.
Meditation: 11 November is the day we remembered the end of the Great War in 1918. And we remembered all those who since then also gave their lives for the freedom of others. Fighting for freedom, that is an ongoing thing. There are always people on this earth who enslave others, oppress others. As long as sin rules on this earth, there will be oppression. Also many Christians are being persecuted. How can we, Christians, despite persecution, still live in the glorious freedom of God’s children?