Reading: Micah 4; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
God had not chosen Israel as His people because of their own goodness. In Deuteronomy 7, Moses reminds the people that God had chosen them out of His love. Not because they were such a great people: The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you. Throughout the Old Testament, we see time and again that the people of Israel are nothing better than the surrounding nations. They are just as sinful. Look at Israel in the time of Micah. They turned away from God, and the way they treated the poor was just as bad or even worse than the heathen peoples. God, therefore, punished them. This history of Israel in the Old Testament makes it clear that indeed if it depended on the people themselves, there was no hope.
In the New Testament, we even see that Israel is mentioned to us as a warning example. Not as an example to be followed, but on the contrary, as an example of how we should not act. See for instance 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 and Hebrews 4:1-10. There we read about the disobedience of Israel, just after their exodus out of Egypt. So soon after God delivered them with mighty wonders and powerful deeds, they denied the LORD.
They are chosen by God to be His people, to prepare the coming of Christ. That is what it is all about in the Old Testament: God chose for Himself a people, Israel, so that through them, the Messiah could come.
We see two lines in the Old Testament:
- first that God is faithful to His promise and continues to work toward the coming of the Saviour, despite the unfaithfulness of His people.
- second that Israel’s constant disobedience shows the need for the coming of the Saviour. Israel is not able to remain faithful to the LORD, because of their sinfulness. There is a much greater salvation needed than the exodus out of Egypt. The exodus out of Egypt is only a foreshadowing of the great and wonderful Exodus which our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished. Our whole human nature must be renewed. We must receive a new life.
That is what God is working. A salvation that does not depend on the goodness of the people, but only on God’s faithfulness. A salvation that is certain, because God’s promises are certain.
That salvation was what God already mentioned to Abraham at the very beginning, in Genesis 12: 2-3: I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
I will: God is the One Who acts. Not mankind, not Abraham’s descendants will make a name for themselves or bring salvation.
In later time Israel turned it into something completely different as if they had a special position and it was because of their faithfulness that they were God’s people. But the Bible teaches us clearly that there is nothing in the people that makes them worthy to be God’s people. A wicked and rebellious generation. It is all God’s decision. It is all His good pleasure that He chose Israel as His people and that He decided to work through them to fulfill His promises and to work out His plan.
This prophecy of Micah comes in a time in which many prophets prophesied against the sinfulness of God’s people and about God’s punishment. But then Micah prophesied that there is hope, not because of the people, but because out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem. That is the only reason that Micah can prophesy about hope for God’s people and hope for the world.
Jesus Christ, the Messiah was born and came in the darkest time of the whole history of mankind. The line of the covenant became narrower and narrower. Only a few of the Israelites remained faithful, only a remnant of the remnant expected Him.
And then we see that God comes in power to save the world! He works in such a wonderful way as no one expected, not even Satan.
Only to God be all glory! In our weakness, God’s power is made perfect. Soli Deo Gloria!
Key Text: 1 Corinthians 10: 11: Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Meditation: Israel is given to us as a warning example: by nature, we are like Israel. This must make us humble. We must depend on God, the Holy Spirit to be renewed so that we are not going in the ways of Israel. We know so well what Israel did wrong. But consider where we go wrong and where we go in the same ways of Israel. Where should we change and repent from sin?