Micah 7:18-20Amplified Bible
Who is a God like You, who forgives wickedness
And passes over the rebellious acts of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He [constantly] delights in mercy and lovingkindness.
He shall again have compassion on us;
He will subdue and tread underfoot our wickedness [destroying sin’s power].
Yes, You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
You shall give truth to Jacob
And lovingkindness and mercy to Abraham,
As You have sworn to our forefathers
From the days of old.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Sometimes words are just not enough. God’s creation – it leaves you speechless.
Your spouse’s strength of character – it bears no comparison.
Your child’s imagination, laughter, growth, maturity – it tests your vocabulary.
Sometimes words can’t ever say enough.
The prophet Micah understood that concept as well.
His prophecy alternates between visions of doom and hope.
In chapter 7 he starts with a very bleak picture: “What misery is mine! … The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains” (vv. 1, 2).
The prophet sees both Israel and Judah in need of reformation.
Both kingdoms were living in affluence, which produced selfish materialism.
Morals floundered, and corruption abounded.
Exile was awaiting.
Yet Micah does not despair but can end his prophecy with such great hope.
He sees that God will graciously forgive his people and restore her fortunes, and this puts Micah over the moon – All he can really say is, “Who is a God like you?”
What a beautiful question!
This exclamation is a play on the meaning of Micah’s own name: “Who is like Yahweh?”
Micah’s question is one that other nations – Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians –also asked as a way of praising their gods.
Yet Micah by no means implies that there are other gods.
The one and only God is 100% incomparable because of his forgiving character!
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin?”
Another way of reading this is, “Who is a God like you, who carries away sin?”
We come across that phrase in Leviticus 16, concerning the Day of Atonement.
Aaron the high priest was to lay his hands on the head of the live goat, confess all the iniquities of Israel over it, thereby transfer those iniquities to the goat.
Leviticus 16:22 says, “The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place.”
Through the high priest the Lord transferred the burden of Israel’s guilt to another, and that substitute carried away all Israel’s sin and guilt.
And that’s what Micah is getting at.
God “pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance.”
In mercy Yahweh preserved for himself a remnant, and he forgives that remnant!
This applies to us today as the church of Christ.
When you consider forgiving the people who have hurt you, you must always consider how much Jesus has forgiven you!
You don’t deserve His love and can never earn it.
He forgave you because He is a merciful, gracious God.
Because you have already been forgiven of ALL your sins and set free, you must forgive others by becoming so transparent that His mercy and grace will radiate through every aspect of your life.
You are never to be a giver of condemnation but always a giver of mercy.
Mercy is distinctly different from forgiveness because God is merciful to us even when you don’t sin, just as you can be merciful to those who have never done anything against you.
God’s mercy doesn’t just forgive your failures and faults but reaches deep into all your weakness and need.
His attitude toward you is merciful.
We are his possession by grace.
We don’t deserve forgiveness and salvation.
But it has been promised to God’s family, God’s inheritance, in Christ!
And it is given only to those who, like Micah, are deeply sorrowful over their sins, and cry out for forgiveness.
Micah’s song of praise continues: “You do not stay angry forever.”
The remnant would experience the judgment and punishment of the Lord.
But marvel upon marvel, the Lord does not hold onto his anger.
So, the people of God could look away from their time of judgment and toward the Lord.
They could rejoice that this was just temporary. “You do not stay angry forever, but you delight to show mercy.”
This is all very remarkable.
Micah is saying that the Lord acts this way
– God carries away our sins,
– God forgives our rebellion, shows his mercy
– because that’s just who he is.
It kind of leaves us scratching our heads and asking, “Why is he that way?”
The only answer we get is, “It is my delight to do it this way!”
Our God, by his very nature, is so very ready to forgive sinners.
That leaves us dumbstruck at the forgiving character of our God.
We see God’s forgiving character especially in his Son.
The words Micah uses in verse 18 are also used for the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. Verses 10-12,
Yet it was the Lord’s will (pleasure!) to crush him and cause him to suffer … Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore (carried away) the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The LORD God does not wink at sin.
He offered the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ.
He came to take our sin outside the city, to the cross of Golgotha.
He shared in our sins.
That is just who Christ is.
It moves us to bow our heads, bend our spirits to say, “Who is a God like you?”
Do you see his incredible mercy for sinners?
Mercy is also related to grace.
Grace is what saves you – mercy is what sustains you.
Mercy eliminates the pain; grace cures the disease.
Mercy offers relief from punishment; grace offers pardon from the crime.
Mercy is a word you will hear used in the legal system.
After the conviction has been made, the jury has unanimously declared the persons guilt, the sentence is about to be handed down, MERCY is begged for.
The Hebrew word for mercy is “chesed”
which means to get inside someone’s skin,
to look at where they view life and feel what they are experiencing; to move in and act on behalf of the one whose hurting.
That is exactly what Jesus did when He chose to leave the indescribable comfort and glory of Heaven to become one of us.
Mercy has also been defined as the giving of compassionate treatment, having the disposition to be kind and forgiving when kindness and forgiveness are not your first thoughts, would not define or characterize any of your first actions.
As God gives you a fresh start each new day, so should you reach beyond the pain and give to those who have hurt you a fresh start through your forgiveness.
Mercy is forgiveness soaked in the life blood of Jesus, soaked in the love of God.
Every day, when you forgive, the anger, bitterness, resentment and pain that you feel from the wrong suffered at the hands of another is weakened.
It’s only through the giving of mercy that our emotional wounds will be healed.
If you do not show mercy and forgive the unforgivable you may never find total and complete healing for your spirit, mind and body.
Right in this exact moment, do you see your God is ever ready to give mercy?
Right in this exact moment, do you see that your God is ever ready to forgive?
Only when you fully see all these can you genuinely embrace a holy fear of our awesome God, only then can you worship him truly, in utter speechlessness.
This is the God whom we adore.
Cherish and embrace his mercy for repentant sinners!
Cherish and embrace his forgiveness for repentant sinners!
Cherish God as God cherishes you!
Embrace God as God embraces you!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Loving Heavenly Father, Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy forgiveness and mercy which you have shown. You have loved me with immeasurable love. You are love. I pray that I will be strengthened in my inner being – in my soul – with the love that is wider than I can understand, deeper than I am able to imagine, and greater than I could ever know. As You encourage and embolden my life, may I more fully know the mystery of the Gospel as revealed through my life. In the love of Christ, I pray. Amen.