- Sin saddens (9): An old song goes like this: ‘Lord crucified give me a heart like thine, teach me to love the dying souls of men…’ When we watch the news and see just something of what sin does (and let’s face it we only see a fraction of the damage and suffering) how can we remain unmoved and dry-eyed. Micah wept like a man at a funeral. He could see that the Assyrians would invade Judah too (which they did in 701 BC, and they destroyed nearly 50 villages.) Does the certainty of coming judgment cause us to feel deep concern for lost people and seek to win them to Christ?
- Sin spreads (9): Samaria, the capital city of the northern tribes, had a wound that was incurable. The wrongdoing up north had passed the point of no return. Punishment was inevitable. But now Micah pronounced that the evil he saw there, with its attendant consequences, had travelled as far as the gate of Jerusalem itself. The influence of badness will spread like …yeast…through the whole batch of dough (1 Cor.5:6).
- Sin starts (13): You were the beginning of sin to the Daughter of Zion… For each one of us there is a beginning of sin and that is the point at which we must nip it in the bud. At the faintest hint of temptation show it your heels; be Joseph like and flee as fast as you can, even if you have to leave behind your cloak. You can’t even begin to consider the possibility of yielding. That is to surrender too much territory to the devil. It is to expose your ‘goal mouth’ to trouble. You’ll be down one – nil before you know it. I heard a well-known Christian leader speaking, and I was impressed by his honesty. He said, ‘One day I was walking in a wood, and just ahead of me I saw a pile of pornography laying on the ground. Someone had just dumped it. You know what I did? he asked. I went as fast as I could in the opposite direction, because I know I can’t handle material like that!! ‘That’s honest. It’s also radical. He wasn’t going to let that ‘litter’ be the beginning of sin to him. It is illustrative of the kind of evasive action you may have to take when feeling under moral pressure. I think it is one example of the kind of approach Jesus was advocating when He said If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away…And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away… (Matthew 5:29,30)
All you who live in Chariotville, get in your chariots for flight. You led the daughter of Zion into trusting Not God but chariots. Similar sins in Israel also got their start in you. The Message. Sin ‘starts’ somewhere. We must try to head it off at the pass; cut it off at its source.
(By the way, in these verses there are a lot of word plays in the names of towns listed. You may see this reflected in the footnotes in some Bibles. But it also comes across brilliantly in the text of the ‘the Message.’.
Prayer: Lord God help me to go into this day wearing the breastplate of righteousness. Enable me to take my stand against everything you hate.