Here are three things about ‘the remnant’ of Israel which are also applicable to the church and to Christians:
- They will be a blessing in the world (7): This has happened as God said it would. Some years ago I heard a sermon by a well-known preacher in which he said, ‘It is time for the Gentiles to repay their debt to the Jews.’ He highlighted, in the course of his message, just how the Jewish people have been such a blessing to the world in business, the arts and so on. Of course they are not perfect. They have not blessed the world in every single thing they have done. But as a generality it is true. However, the world has not been a blessing to them; often hounding and harassing and persecuting them. Anti- Semitism has been, and remains, a terrible blight on mankind. It is also the calling of the Christian and the church, to dispense blessing wherever we go. We are to be ‘channels’ of His blessing. Our ‘dew’ is ‘from the LORD’. I think about Paul’s words regarding Philemon that he had ‘refreshed the hearts of the saints’ (Philemon 7). We are to be ‘refreshers’ in this world. We are not to be monastics, living aloof from the rest of society. We live our lives and perform our service ‘in the midst of many peoples’ (7, 8) and ‘among the nations’ (8). We are ‘the salt of the earth‘ and ‘the light of the world’. (Underlining mine.)
‘They’ll be like dew from GOD, like summer showers Not mentioned in the weather forecast, not subject to calculation or control.’ The Message.
- They will be victorious in the world (8, 9). They will be strong and dominant and conquering, having authority over their foes. However, before being made conquerors…
- They will be conquered by God (10-15). Here is a vital principle: we, the church, cannot be conquerors in the world until we are ourselves first conquered by the Lord. There were things that needed to be ‘destroyed’ for ‘the remnant’ to be purified. First of all their reliance on their own strength and military might had to be broken (10, 11). Secondly, their reliance on false religion had to be dealt with (12-14). They had to get to the place where they relied on God alone. ‘In these verses, Micah also speaks to us today; we too are the ”remnant”. And we too must not rely on power, wealth, education, technology, family name, or any other worldly ”idol”; we must rely on God alone if we are to inherit His eternal blessing.’ Tom Hale: The Applied Old Testament Commentary, p.1268
The fifteenth verse is a stern and sobering warning, and is, I believe, still relevant today. When I hear political leaders talk about laws passed which violate the law of God, and hear them say that such things will be for the strengthening of society, my heart trembles. I feel ashamed and dismayed. To celebrate sin as though it were a good thing is a huge mistake and to persist in doing so is surely to invite the judgment of God.
‘Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves…Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.’ (Isaiah 3:8, 9; 5:20.)