The Gospel in Micah

In Micah’s day, both Israel and Judah, deserved God’s judgment for their oppression, idolatry, and corruption. 

They lived out this wickedness right alongside the motions of offering sacrifice, and they expected that they could cancel out the bad by doing more good.

“God deals with sinners in one of two ways: deserved justice, or undeserved grace.”

God is a righteous Judge who carries out deserved judgment, he is also a merciful Savior who gives undeserved grace and full forgiveness and restoration and a sure and steadfast hope for the future to those who believe Him and turn to him in repentance.

 The hope Micah presented was the promise of a Shepherd-King, a sacrificial Saviour who would gather his faithful remnant back in the land, tenderly care for them, and give His life for them to defeat their great enemy. 

The result would be that people from all nations and tribes and tongues would come to worship God. 

To God’s people who had suffered under a line of failed kings and oppressive foreign regimes, Micah announced coming restoration and peace.

Jesus Himself is the long-anticipated Shepherd-King who has made peace with God through “the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1.20). 

He did not come to destroy but to be destroyed, laying down his life for his sheep (John 10.15). 

He now rules over his people in perfect justice and abundant mercy, empowering his people, by his Spirit, to walk humbly in his just and merciful ways (1 John 2.6)— the very life Israel in Micah’s day had abandoned.

“God deals with sinners in one of two ways: deserved justice, or undeserved grace.”

All those who look to Christ in trusting faith experience the undeserved grace rather than deserved justice.

As believers in Jesus we can expect that God will “pass over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance” 

Micah 7:18-20    

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

19 He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

Our transgressions have been put upon God’s Son, His imprint in a human body, God in the flesh, Jesus Christ (Romans 3.21–26). Christ will “bear the indignation of the Lord” on our behalf (Micah 7.9). 

Though we may suffer and fall in our life’s battle with evil, we shall rise, as the prophet believed he himself would, due to the Lord’s vindication (Micah 7.8–9)—and, as indeed will all those who are united to Christ by faith (Romans 6.5). 

This is the wonder of the gospel in Micah.

 

Adapted from an excellent article written by Nancy Guthrie.

The Gospel in Jonah

Let’s contrast Jonah and Jesus;

Jonah knew that repentance brings compassion, and this displeased him greatly. What displeased Jonah pleased Jesus. Jesus knew that the repentance and sacrifice he made would result in compassion. Jesus says in John 3 that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up, be killed…that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. Jesus knew the sacrifice He would make would result in compassion.

Jonah looked at Nineveh and was angry and wanted destruction. Jesus looked at the city of Jerusalem and wept in Luke 19 because He loved the people so much He wanted to spare them…“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

Both were sent to hostile people. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, a terrible, evil place. Jesus came to save sinners, healthy people don’t need a doctor,do they, and in Ephesians 2 we see that Jesus came for us, who by nature are children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 

Jonah ran from God because he knew God would be kind and compassionate. Jesus ran to the Father. He was about His Father’s business continually. He communed with the Father continually.

Contrary to most interpretations of the book of Jonah, we are not Jonah in this story in need of moral exhortation. We are Nineveh.

We need a Saviour who shows us what God is like, who knows what God is like.

Our response is to be the same as those in Nineveh who heard the words of Jonah; repent and receive God’s mercy and steadfast love.

Morally and principally speaking, if God calls us to go somewhere, unlike Jonah, we should obey and go. Common sense alone leads us to that conclusion. Contrary to what many preachers and interpreters say, that is not the primary point of Jonah. The primary point of Jonah is not about how Jonah should have obeyed, it’s about how God continued his redemptive plan despite Jonah’s disobedience.

Think about this – God’s plan was one man.

God’s plan for Nineveh was one man, that was sufficient.

God’s plan for mankind was one man, that was sufficient.

God’s plan for your life is one man, He is sufficient. 

In Acts 4 we read 

11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jonah gave his life to appease the wrath of God coming upon others. But…death did not hold him – three days and nights later he was free of imprisonment, he was alive and free.

Think – swap Jonah for Jesus and read that again…

Jesus gave his life to appease the wrath of God coming upon others. But…death did not hold him – three days and nights later he was free of imprisonment, he was alive and free.

Jesus is the better Jonah. The Ninevites needed Jonah, we need Jesus. 

God’s plan for Nineveh was one man, that was sufficient.

God’s plan for mankind was one man, that was sufficient.

God’s plan for your life is one man, He is sufficient. 

The Gospel in Obadiah

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship our text was the Old Testament’s shortest book, Obadiah. Just 21 verses, but packed with lessons and prophecy. Some books are easier to see Jesus in than others, right? Hosea bought Gomer out of a sinful lifestyle even though she was already His, foreshadowing the price paid for us at Calvary. Obadiah is a little more obscure, but, it is a book of the Bible, the words of a prophet, therefore, it points to Jesus.

The Gospel in the bigger picture in Obadiah confirms the great promise of the Gospel that God will deliver His people.

God’s rescue, the deliverance of His people, is really, bigger picture, the theme of the whole Bible. That’s what God promises through the words of Obadiah – deliverance, rescue and restoration for His people – and this is possible for believers, now, through the Messiah, through Jesus.

No matter how scattered, persecuted, or despondent His people are, God will restore and deliver His people.  

He will gather His people from all peoples and nations into His eternal family.

V.17 in lots of translations reads 

“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance,

And there shall be holiness;

The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

The last verse, v.21, echoes the ultimate triumph of the Gospel,

Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion

        to rule Mount Esau,

        and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.

Remember the multi-fulfilment of true Biblical, Scriptural, from the mouth of God prophecy?

Immediately this meant that there would be deliverance for God’s people.

Ultimately, this is reflected in Revelation 11.15

…The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of rhis Christ, and she shall reign forever and ever.

The final line of the book points towards the big idea: 

God will deliver His people. 

The substance of the promises of Obadiah are promises for those who have faith in Christ. 

He is the redeemer, He is the deliverer, He is the rescuer, He is the Saviour.

The Gospel in Amos

Throughout Amos we read that social injustice will not be tolerated (8.4-6 for example). If you Google a definition of social justice, you will probably get something like this,

“Social justice is the equal access to wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.”

Society’s version of social justice will tell you that we need to look around and see everybody’s differences, we need to acknowledge how different we are, and we need to affirm and accept all these differences. 

Society’s social justice says I see your differences, we need to recognise all of this, and treat everyone the same despite the fact we are all different. But first, let’s differentiate between ourselves as much as we can. Then, when we’ve done that, let’s work towards equality for all these groups we’ve just made.  

Gospel social justice says it doesn’t matter what colour skin you have, or what passport you hold, or what social status you have.

Gospel social justice says we are all made in the image of God (see Genesis 1), that we have dignity, worth, and value, and that is what we need to affirm and acknowledge, not our perceived differences.

Saying, “I am going to treat all nations the same” still acknowledges that there is a difference. 

Gospel social justice doesn’t see the difference. 

Saying, “I am going to treat all people the same, the rich ones and the poor ones” still acknowledges that socioeconomic levels are noticeably different to you.

Gospel social justice doesn’t see the difference. 

Social justice sees difference but works to treat people equally. 

Gospel social justice simply sees everyone as equal. 

We live in a fallen world that expects submission based on social status, country of origin, the colour of your skin, but as Christians we know this is not right, we know that true submission is given to God, who does not distinguish by race or colour or gender or bank balance.  

Gospel social justice is not equality it is impartiality. 

In Ephesians 2 we read

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Jesus came to redeem all, regardless of social status, country of origin, religious background, all.

Galatians 3 summarises this well, 

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

On the Day of the Lord, Jesus died for all, to bring all into His kingdom, no matter who we are, no matter where we are from, no matter what we do, no matter our social status, our career path, who we were, Jesus died for all

The Gospel in Joel

Joel gives us both the bad news of Godʼs judgment and the good news of his promised deliverance, and there is plenty of tension between the two, isn’t there, they arefurious opposites.​

Both the judgment and the promise remind us of this balance, this tension, of our desperate need for Godʼs help. The judgment that our sins deserve is far worse than a plague of locusts referenced in chapter one, and the promise of the Holy Spirit reminds us that the help we need is nothing less than supernatural. We are so ill-equipped to take care of this ourselves that the help we need is supernatural, not man made.

Here is the Gospel in Joel – Through the ministry of Jesus Christ, the requirements of judgment and of supernatural provision have both been met

Jesus took upon himself the plague and place of judgment for our sins (2 Corinthians 5.21)and then promised (John 14.16) and provided (Acts 2) the gift of the Holy Spirit.

​How do we balance the good and evil, how do we balance the idea that God is righteous and holy and cannot tolerate sin and therefore take action with a God of mercy, of love, of forgiveness, or compassion, and of love? How do we balance the righteous requirements of justice and judgement with the deep desire to forgive and love that sparks this?

G.K. Chesterton said this,

Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites, by keeping them both, and keeping them both furious.  

See, no matter how much evil there is in the world, no matter how far from God we think we may be, no matter how desperate the situation may be in which we find ourselves, no matter the world-ending power that is encapsulated in the wrath of God, God has already provided the solution, God has already provided a way out, and He came, He lived, He died, He rose again, and He ascended, at which time He sent another, another helper, the Holy Spirit to come alongside us, to abide in us, to walk with us.

All of this is reconciled in the person and the work of Jesus.

He took upon Himself the sins of the entire world, we are not denying that sin or evil do not exist, that they are mere facets or our imagination, but we are saying that God loves you so much that He took action, personally, to redeem you from this, to save you from it, ultimately and eternally, that He struck the perfect balance in the person and work of Jesus.

The Gospel in Hosea

Despite Gomer, Hosea’s wife, being unfaithful, Hosea is encouraged and told to go and be faithful.

In this story, we are not Hosea, the benevolent, humble, obedient servant of the Lord. We are Gomer. We have sold ourselves to the passions of the flesh. We read in  Hosea 2.5,

For their mother has played the whore;

she who conceived them has acted shamefully.

For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,

who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’

She needed to be ransomed and redeemed out of that life, out of that way of thinking.

We needed to be ransomed and redeemed too. She was bought for for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley in 3.2.

Hosea didn’t really need to “buy” His own wife, to hire her as a prostitute. She was his wife! But as a display of love and commitment, he went the “extra mile,” beyond what was reasonable or expected from him (EnduringWord).

In doing this for his own wife, Hosea also showed her, “I can give you what the others can, I can give you what you are looking for, all those different men, you can find it all in me, everything you are looking for in your life, all the satisfactions, all the fulfillment, all the desires, you can find them all in me. You don’t need them. You need me, your faithful husband. Let me show you how I can provide for your needs.”

Are you with me here? There is more going on than a great marriage lesson, isn’t there…

Buying her out of her sinful life…buying back something that meant a lot to him.

Do you know what price was paid for us? 

1 Corinthians 6.20  tells us that we were bought with a price, and Acts 20.28  that Jesus bought back His people with His own blood.

Despite our fallen, sinful, unfaithful nature, Jesus came and He was, and He is, faithful. He purchased us. Not with silver and some food, but with His own life. 

What do we do with this?

We realize that in our own power, our repentance and our worship and our efforts at righteousness and faithfulness will never be good enough.

However, God knows this. God knows this and God did something to rectify this. 

So this week, and any day, when we find ourselves slipping inevitably into unfaithfulness, when our weekly worship doesn’t match our worshipful week, when our actions don’t match our words, we turn to the Faithful One. God knows that alone we will never do this, and God did something to address our fallen condition.

He sent the most faithful person of all time. He sent the only truly faithful person of all time; faithful in every thought, word, and deed, He sent Jesus, the faithful witness.

James Montgomery Boice said this, our prayer for today,

Remember His faithfulness and determine that hereafter you will always be faithful to Him. Ask Him to seal that love, keeping you and perfecting you until the day when you will stand before both Him and His Father at the great marriage supper of the Lamb.