Do you ever feel desperate, drowning in deep sorrow? The “woe is me” declaration found so often in the Old Testament means “an impassioned expression of grief and despair” (https://biblehub.com/hebrew/188.htm). When “woe” was used by a prophet, it signaled destruction on the horizon.
The current state of the world is worthy of our impassioned expression of grief. With everything going on today, it feels like the world is in the worst shape it’s ever been. Yet, when it comes to human nature, not much has changed since the beginning of time. Let me show you why I think so from the book of Micah.
Micah was a prophet during the period of time when the Jewish people had separated into two nations: Israel and Judah. A people divided. Sound familiar?
Further destruction was coming to both nations because the people had turned away from God and worshipped other gods. Feel familiar? The downward spiral away from God, Jesus, and the Bible feels faster each year.
Yet, see how Micah described the Jewish people around the time of 750-686 B.C.:
The godly person has perished from the land,
And there is no upright person among mankind.
All of them lie in wait for bloodshed;
Each of them hunts the other with a net.
3 As for evil, both hands do it well.
The leader asks for a bribe, also the judge,
And the great one speaks the capricious desire of his soul;
So they plot it together.
4 The best of them is like a thorn bush,
The most upright like a thorn hedge (Micah 7:2-4).
In Micah’s time, there was no upright person to be found among all of humanity. Even the best ones were worthless and harmful, like a thorn bush. This is true today. We all sin and fall short of the holiness of God. There are many who lie in wait, hunt, plot, and do evil.
What struck me most harshly, however, was the destruction of families. Check this out:
Guard your lips
From her who lies in your arms.
6 For son disavows father,
Daughter rises up against her mother,
Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
A person’s enemies are the people of his own household (Micah 7:5-6).
Lack of trust between husband and wife. Children shunning their parents. In-laws bringing conflict into the family. Enemies in your own household. These are all true today, too. The destruction of the family unit has been around for a long time. Turning our backs on God has dire consequences for everyone we love, especially in our families.
Among this doom and gloom, the prophet Micah next issued his own declaration of faith that I intend to borrow:
But as for me, I will be on the watch for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
8 Do not rejoice over me, enemy of mine.
Though I fall I will rise;
Though I live in darkness, the Lord is a light for me (Micah 7:7-8).
Notice how Micah didn’t worry about the culture around him: but as for me. Notice that he declared his victory: though I fall, I will rise. Because he walked with God, though he lived in this world full of darkness, the Lord was a light for him.
For more Scriptures to give you hope and strength if you are grieving, go to the Resources tab and grab the “Safe Scriptures.”
Not only can we borrow Micah’s hope, we can trust his prophecy regarding Jesus because it’s already come true:
I will endure the rage of the Lord
Because I have sinned against Him,
Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me.
He will bring me out to the light,
And I will look at His righteousness (Micah 7:9).
Do you see how Micah again acknowledged his sin? Micah was waiting for the One who would intercede for him, the One who would plead his case and ensure that justice was executed. The One who would bring light and righteousness – Jesus!
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, there was Micah hoping for Him, waiting for Him, relying on Him to provide the atonement for sins.
Micah turned his “woe is me” sinful state into a beautiful declaration of faith in the only thing that could save him: God Himself.
Who is a God like You, who pardons wrongdoing
And passes over a rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again take pity on us;
He will trample on our wrongdoings.
Yes, You will cast all their sins
Into the depths of the sea.
20 You will give truth to Jacob
And favor to Abraham,
Which You swore to our forefathers
From the days of old (Micah 7:18-20).
I am currently studying from an older version of the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and in verse 18, it said “because He delights in unchanging love.” The latest version of the NASB says God delights “in mercy” instead, and so do other translations. But, I can’t resist the thought that God’s mercy is steeped and running over with His unchanging love!
Also, we need to make sure we don’t gloss over the statement that God would cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. He would give truth to His people. Just as He promised, God would save His people from the destruction of sin.
If you are a Christ-follower, your “woe is me” sins have been “trampled” by the One who pleads your case and executed judgment for you. Jesus has taken your sins – all of them – and replaced them with mercy, light, righteousness, and truth.
Let’s not stand by while sin destroys our families, our neighborhoods, our world. Let’s stand together against the tide of darkness by remembering our unchanging God. I pray each of us will take our stand and declare: but as for me, I will follow the Lord; there is no other God like Him!
How else could we declare our hope in God? How could we use the hope of God’s unchanging mercy to spread light in this world?