Micah starts in a place of dark depression over the godless state of Israel, but is led back into the light by a revelation of Israel's end-time exodus when God will restore his people as in ancient times.
After a fresh revelation in chapter 6 of God's coming judgment upon the sinful nation of Israel in his own day, Micah starts chapter 7 feeling depressed. God has just promised that Israel will become an appalling sight, and that Jerusalem's inhabitants will be taunted and mocked by enemy nations (6:16). In verse 1, he looks at the land of Israel, and the fields are bare, as though they have just been harvested, and yet there is no harvest to eat. There are no godly men left in the land, and people ambush each other like hunters (v2). Government officials and judges have become corrupt (v3) and the nation is about to be punished by enemy conquest (v4). Society had become so corrupt you couldn't even trust your friends or your spouse (v5). Family life had broken down, with children disrespecting their parents, and a man's enemies were his own family members (v6). Micah's response was to keep watching for the Lord, waiting for his deliverance, and hoping that God would hear his lament (v7).

Jesus quotes verses 5 and 6 in a surprising manner in Matthew 10:35-36, placing them in context to the opposition we will face as Christians trying to be faithful witnesses for him in the present age. Matthew 10:32-39 says, "Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven. 34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword! 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. 37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it". This means that societal and family breakdown, and opposition to the Gospel, are signs of God's coming judgment that will occur at the second coming. As Christians, we may have moments when such opposition depresses us as it depressed Micah in 7:1. At such times, we need to look forward in confidence and hope that God will deliver us, just as Micah expresses such hope in verses 8 to 11.

In verse 8, Micah pictures himself as having fallen into a time or place of darkness, but he charges his enemies not to gloat, for the Lord will be his light and will one day restore him (v8). He confesses his sinfulness, and understands that for a time he must endure God's anger. But then God will rise to his defence and accomplish justice on his behalf. This is what Jesus did for all of us when he died on the cross. And one day God will lead him out into the light and he will experience God's deliverance firsthand (v9), just as all God's people will witness Christ's deliverance at the second coming. Then it will be our enemies who are covered in shame and be trampled down like mud in the streets (v10). In verse 11, Micah addresses Jerusalem, and announces that her walls will be rebuilt in that day, and her boundary extended.

In verse 12, Micah jumps forward in time to the Millennium, when people will come to Jerusalem from all over the world (as in Micah 4:1-2). Specifically named are Assyria and Egypt. These may simply refer to north and south. However, Isaiah repeatedly prophesied that a highway will be built between Assyria and Egypt, enabling these nations to worship together along with Israel (Isaiah 11:15-16, 19:23, 27:12-13, 35:8-10, and 62:10). From 'sea to sea and from mountain to mountain' expands the view, implying that the whole world will join in the worship of Israel's God.

Verse 13 is a surprise statement about the earth becoming desolate because of what its inhabitants have done. Micah has little concern for chronology, but my understanding, based on Revelation 21:1, is that the present earth and present heaven will be destroyed at the end of the Millennium, and replaced by the New Heaven and the New Earth for the rest of eternity. Micah's contemporary, the Prophet Isaiah, viewed Millennial Earth as the New Earth (Isaiah 66) and seemingly had no vision of the Eternal age beyond that. So when Micah had a vision of the present earth being destroyed, it is perhaps understandable that he associated it more with the beginning of the Millennium.

In verse 14, Micah prays that God will shepherd his people and restore them to the lush pasturelands of Bashan and Gilead, as in days of old. These were located on the east side of the Jordan, in what is now modern-day Jordan. They had been the territories of the Israelite tribes of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh, and were especially fertile, but the Ammonites had taken these territories by Micah's day (Amos 1:13). In 4:8, Micah received revelation that Israel's former dominion will be restored, so he prays for its fulfilment here in verse 14. Also, in a metaphorical sense, sheep grazing in Bashan and Gilead is a picture of Millennial peace and prosperity.

In verses 15 to 17, Micah prophesies a new end-time exodus, when God will miraculously restore the people of Israel to their land, and their enemies will bite the dust. Their enemies will cover their mouths and ears in shock at the miracles God does for his people, and they will come trembling from their strongholds to the Lord our God (to Jesus). This is similar to the picture of every knee bowing before Jesus and confessing him as Lord (Isaiah 45:23-24 and Philippians 2:9-11).

In light of this amazing deliverance, Micah declares in verse 18, "There is no other God like you!" God does not remain angry with his people forever, but forgives them and delights to show loyal love. God will once again have mercy on his people. He will conquer our evil deeds and throw our sins into the depths of the sea (v19). He will show his loyalty and love to Jacob and Abraham, as in ancient times (v20). This is a dramatic ending to the chapter, compared to its beginning when Micah was depressed and sitting in a place of darkness. There is amazing light at the end of the tunnel.
Places: Israel, Bashan, Gilead, Jordan
Tags: How to walk through darkness, The light of hope, Light at the end of the tunnel, End-time corruption and godlessness, Opposition to the Gospel, Family breakdown, Jesus delivers his people, The wicked bite the dust, Rebuilding of Jerusalem, Millennium, Millennial prosperity, Jesus as the Good Shepherd, End-time exodus, End-time miracles, Abrahamic covenant, Highway of Holiness
Micah Laments Judah’s Sin
1 Woe is me! For I am like those gathering fruit, and those harvesting grapes, when there is no grape cluster to eat, and no fresh figs that my stomach craves.
2 Faithful men have disappeared from the land; there are no godly men left. They all wait in ambush to shed blood; they hunt their own brother with a net.
3 They are experts at doing evil; government officials and judges take bribes, prominent men announce what they wish and then they plan it out.
4 The best of them is like a thorn; their godly are like a thorn bush. Woe to your watchmen; your appointed punishment is on the way. The time of their confusion is now.
5 Do not rely on a friend; do not trust a companion! Even with the one who lies in your arms, do not share secrets!
6 For a son thinks his father is a fool, a daughter challenges her mother, and a daughter-in-law her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are his own family.
7 But I will keep watching for the Lord; I will wait for the God who delivers me. My God will listen to me.

Jerusalem Will Be Vindicated

8 My enemies, do not gloat over me! Though I have fallen, I will get up. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
9 I must endure the Lord’s fury, for I have sinned against him. But then he will defend my cause, and accomplish justice on my behalf. He will lead me out into the light; I will witness his deliverance.
10 When my enemies see this, they will be covered with shame. They say to me, “Where is the Lord your God?” I will gloat over them. Then they will be trampled down like mud in the streets.
11 It will be a day for rebuilding your walls; in that day your boundary will be extended.

A Closing Prayer

12 In that day people will come to you from Assyria as far as Egypt, from Egypt as far as the Euphrates River, from the seacoasts and the mountains.
13 The earth will become desolate because of what its inhabitants have done.
14 Shepherd your people with your rod, the flock that belongs to you, the one that lives alone in a thicket, in the midst of a pastureland. Allow them to graze in Bashan and Gilead, as they did in the old days.
15 “As in the days when you departed from the land of Egypt, I will show you miraculous deeds.”
16 Nations will see this and be disappointed by all their strength, they will put their hands over their mouths, and act as if they were deaf.
17 They will lick the dust like a snake, like serpents crawling on the ground. They will come trembling from their strongholds to the Lord our God; they will be terrified of you.
18 Who is a God like you? Who forgives sin and pardons the rebellion of those who remain among his people? Who does not stay angry forever, but delights in showing loyal love?
19 Who will once again have mercy on us? Who will conquer our evil deeds? Who will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea?
20 You will be loyal to Jacob and extend your loyal love to Abraham, which you promised on oath to our ancestors in ancient times.