Some people think they are above the law, can do anything they want, and get away with it. That was happening with Israel’s leaders, and God was setting the record straight. Earlier in chapter 3, Micah had leveled specific accusations against Israel’s political leaders (vv. 1–4) and religious leaders (vv. 5–8). Now he lumps both groups together because they “despise justice and distort all that is right” (v. 9). They were acting like they were above God’s law when they would “judge for a bribe” or “teach for a price” (v. 11). To make matters worse, they thought that God was with them, saying, “No disaster will come upon us” (v. 11).
Earlier, we learned how our relationships with others are a direct reflection of our relationship with God. Israel’s leaders had not quite learned that lesson, for they remain convinced that God was among them, even looking “for the LORD’s support” (v. 11) in their evil maneuverings. However, God did not support these leaders, and He told them clearly that their oppression of His people would actually lead to the destruction of the entire nation. Rather than God supporting and protecting them in their sin, He would judge them and cause Jerusalem—a reference to the whole nation—to be “like a plowed field” and a “heap of rubble” (v. 12).
Despite the discomfort we may have when reading of God’s judgment, this promised destruction is actually an important indicator of His love. First, it shows that God remains faithful to Israel’s leadership to love them as His children, which in this case means fierce discipline (see Heb. 12:4–11). Second, God’s judgment shows that He remains faithful to love the people whom these leaders are oppressing. Rather than leave them to fend for themselves, God promises that He will intervene on their behalf.
>> Sometimes we may act like we are above the law, that God is on our side no matter what we do or how we behave. While today’s passage is about Israel’s leaders, it is a good warning for us as well.
You administer grace as well as justice, forgiving but also disciplining. As Your children, we remember that we are also Your subjects. We repent of our casual wrongdoing, knowing that You do not take it lightly.