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Daily Devotional | Woe to Oppressors!


The writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once observed, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” A righteous society doesn’t just happen. It requires planning and effort by those in charge. Oddly enough, an unrighteous society happens the same way. The powerful fail to love their neighbors because they never intended to do so. Instead, as Micah observed, they planned their sinful actions, even while lying in their beds (v. 1).

In Micah’s time and place, the powerful were taking advantage of others for their own gain. Rather than protect the powerless—typically identified in the Old Testament as the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed—the powerful in Micah’s day trampled them even further underfoot. What’s worse, these wicked people didn’t simply stumble upon taking advantage of others, they stayed up late figuring out ways to enrich themselves at the expense of others.

Micah has strong words for these people—the Lord is “planning disaster...from which you cannot save yourselves” (v. 3), which ends with the once-powerful, once-wealthy elite being homeless. The Lord’s punishment will match the crime when He enacts justice on behalf of His people.

In the West, Micah’s mini-sermon serves a dual purpose. First, God’s fierce judgment warns us to steward well the power and wealth He has given us. Second, this mini-sermon encourages the oppressed. Like God assured Moses long before Micah, He hears, He sees, He knows, and He remembers (see Ex. 2:23–25). God does not turn away from oppression in this world. His eyes are open, and one day He will make all things right. Even though it seems like the powerful have free reign over the powerless, they do not. Take hope in this assurance!

>> It is important to consider where we stand on these issues. Do we love our neighbors well? If we put ourselves first and worry only about our own needs, we are not following Christ’s example.

Pray with Us

Lord God, we may not consider ourselves wealthy or powerful, but show us the areas where we hold sway. We submit all our resources to Your purposes; teach us to use them in defense of the weak, for Your honor and glory.

BY Russell L. Meek

Russell Meek teaches Old Testament and hermeneutics at Moody Theological Seminary. He is a columnist for Fathom magazine and writes widely for lay and academic audiences about all things Old Testament and its relationship to the Christian life. Russell, his wife, and their three sons live in north Idaho, where you’ll find them gardening, cooking, and exploring the wild.

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