“Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins” (Micah 6:13). Micah was a prophet to the southern kingdom. The southern kingdom was acting severely out of turn, rebelling against God, while attempting to maintain religious activities. In fact, Micah records that they were so arrogant that while the leadership of the nation was ripping off the people and taking bribes they “lean on the Lord and say, ‘Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us’” (3:11). They had the audacity to think that in maintaining their religious activity God would sustain them while they lived perverse and twisted lives. How would God discipline the nation? He was going to bring a grievous blow and the outcome was devastation. What would be the means of accomplishing this goal? The next few verses are shocking: “You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword” (Micah 6:14). The judgment is this: what they do have will not be satisfying to them, and what they keep will be taken from them. How, exactly, was that supposed to happen? By the sword. I hope this is not an interpretive challenge for anyone reading but that means that what they saved would be taken from them by force. As bad as this sounds, it’s not all that the judgment against Judah entailed. Micah says next: “You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine” (6:15). They would labor but would not receive the benefits of their hard work.
For those of you who are reading and believe that socialism is a good thing, that bigger government is a benefit, that redistribution of wealth is a plus, you might consider what you are actually advocating. Let me illustrate this another way. There is much debate on homosexuality in Romans 1:18-32, but Paul is not saying that homosexuality will be a cause for God’s judgment, but rather it is the proof that God already is judging. The phrase “God gave them up” is repeated three times (vv. 24, 26, 28) and is a direct result of man’s refusal to worship God. Likewise, the argument could be made about socialism among nations. Our nation is leaning hard into socialism and I do not believe that this is proof that we are going to be judged, but rather I believe it is proof that we are already being judged.
However, it gets more grueling than this. As Christians, we should rejoice that God has not abandoned our nation, despite the fact that He is bringing discipline, and we should pray that God purifies us. However, do not be shocked at the means by which God performs the clean up. Habbakuk had the same hangup with his nation, and bringing his concerns before God, pleaded, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?” (Hab. 1:2). God’s answer: “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own” (Hab 1:5-6). A ruthless nation is going to walk in and take their land and seize dwellings not their own. The Babylonians were unstoppable and Judah was no exception. Did the people listen to Habbakuk? God even said to Habbakuk I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe. Nine years ago a bitter and ruthless nation flew planes into two towers in New York and are fighting to build a worship center on that very spot. Are we going to buy the adage that Islam is a “religion of peace?” If we do, we are blind.
So, take a nation who ignores the Bible, whose leaders perjure and receive bribes, where the people “do religion” while walking in immorality, who tote an “entitlement” mentality in everything and especially in regards to grace, who have not a single bone of contentment in their bodies, whose government is inching closer and closer to taking earnings and savings by force, while “ancient Babylon” breathes down our necks (and everyone ignores); do we dare imagine that we are an exception to the rule? To think this is foolhardy. We stick out our chest and with famous last words say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.” What do we do, how should we respond? America, God has told us what is good and what He requires: “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). If we are not willing to act on truth, love self-sacrifice, in the framework of humiliated service before God, then history will repeat itself. (Jason Hamilton is pastor of First Baptist Church, Louisiana.)