*God Hates Injustice!*
Chapter 1 announced judgement on Samaria and Jerusalem – now the specific reasons for the judgement are now given.
The leading men devised wickedness at night and performed it by day (v.1-5).
Seer and prophet preached lies (v.6-11), the social and moral sins of the nation cried for judgement.
Judgement started with leaders of Samaria and Jerusalem for misleading and oppressing the people.
*Plotting evil* (v.1-5) *v.1* “Just do it!”
– A slogan of our day – even in the church: “Dream a dream for God” – devise some great plan and carry it out.
If it is possible – do it.
There is a word for this: EXISTENTIALISM.
The plans here are evil – man’s plans as opposed to God’s directions.
The spirit of our society is to just do it!
– It is totally contrary to Scripture!
The Spirit of the LORD is one of discipline, self-control, restraining one’s self – how little of this is heard and how greatly it is scorned - it is disparagingly called “repressing” and is seen as very unhealthy.
The evil is deliberate, premeditated - they plot and scheme, planning, thinking out the evil that they will do while they are at ease.
As they lie on their beds they don’t sleep but conceive wicked plans which they can carry out once day breaks.
If it is possible, able to be done, they will do it - the criterion for acting is "can I get away with it?"
not "is this right or wrong?" - if it is "within the power of their hands" then they will do it.
As soon as they have the chance, they do the evil they have conceived.
The mind is set on thinking up evil things that can be done.
יהוה decrees woe on those like this!*V.2*
Behind the “just do it” philosophy is SELF – I want something for myself and so I take it – never mind about the other.
They coveted the fields of others and because it was within their power to seize them, they did.
Defrauding others – taking from the helpless, exploiting the poor in order to gain for themselves – this is not unknown in our day.
Businesses put their prices up if they can get away with it – and who makes the wealthy rich?
– The poor and weak that have no alternative but to pay up.
Business doesn’t set the price by what is reasonable, but the maximum they can get without the competition gaining the market.
Don’t believe me? – look at what you pay for toll calls compared with before Telstra-Clear was in the market – and we pay less for out line charges than centres where there is no competition.
If they can do it ….
It is the powerful who can – it is they who exploit the weak and יהוה holds them responsible.
They defraud helpless people – their fellow man!
This gets יהוה angry.
In particular they took people’s inheritance – land doesn’t mean as much to us today, perhaps a farm being passed from father to son have more of a sense of the value of the land.
But the land was a big thing in יהוה s sight – He gave His people the land.
We move to another city or suburb, sell up and buy another property – but it wasn’t like that – that land was their inheritance – it wasn’t to be sold.
If someone got into financial difficulty and had to sell his land, it had to be returned to him in the year of Jubilee – it was never to pass out of their possession – it was their inheritance, their portion, their lasting possession.
But these people took that which was not to be taken.
Whatever they want, they get.
This is what their night time scheming was about - getting the property of others that they had seen and desired for themselves.
They coveted the possessions of others (cf.
*Exodus 20:17** */You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”/)
- not only did they covet, they allowed the covetousness to be carried into action - they took what they wanted - they simply seized it, i.e. stole it (cf.
*Exodus 20:15** */You shall not steal/.).
They saw a man with fine fertile fields, so they seized them.
Saw houses that they liked, so they took them (? Remember Ahab and Naboth’s vineyard).
They oppressed the poor - took from those who had little and were too weak and lacking in influence to prevent them.
God hates this! - taking advantage of the disadvantaged.
They would take away from a man the place in which he lived, rob him of his inheritance.
This too is something which יהוה abhors - the inheritance is of extreme importance and is to remain within the family.
But they will not get away with it.
There is someone who notices what we do.
We see injustice around us, exploitation and we feel impotent to do anything about it – but be encouraged, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
יהוה saw their deeds, their evil and the injustice, the oppression of the less fortunate - יהוה comes personally to the defence of the poor who are being taken advantage of.
He is incensed by injustice and oppression and would Himself act in judgement against these greedy affluent people with no morality.
They make their plans but יהוה has His! Guess whose will prevail?! יהוה is planning disaster from which there is no salvation – they won’t be able to save themselves!
There is a consequence for wickedness.
Men will reap the reward for what they have done.
Here are these men arrogantly doing as they plan, so arrogant – they think that none can stop them or prevent them doing what they determine to do.
But their proud path will be brought to an abrupt halt – calamity will overtake them.
They "schemed" (חֹשְׁבֵי v.1) so יהוה Himself "planned" (חֹשֵׁב).
They devised "evil" (v.1) so too יהוה would bring "calamity" and an "evil time" on them – what they did will be done to them - יהוה is a God of retribution, of recompense, of vengeance.
Vengeance is His prerogative, He reserves it for Himself [*Romans 12:19* /“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord/.]
God brings down the proud from their arrogant haughtiness - it is a principle of God: HE IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD.
*James 4:6*/ “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble”//; /*1 Peter 5:5*/ You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble; /*Psalm 138:6** */For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar/*;** Luke 1:51-53 */“He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.
“He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed/*; **1 Samuel 2:3-10** */“Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed.
“The bows of the mighty are shattered, but the feeble gird on strength.
“Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry cease to hunger.
“The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
“The Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.
“He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor.
“He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail.
“Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens, the Lord will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king, and will exalt the horn of His anointed.”/)/.
/A terrible time will come upon the proud, the rich, the affluent, the oppressor of the poor who takes advantage of those less well off.
When יהוה plans calamity, who can escape it?! *V.4* יהוה plans to bring calamity and disaster – instead of walking in confident self-assurance, pride and arrogance, they will be an object of ridicule.
People will mock and taunt them – laugh at their downfall – Because of the disaster that would overtake them they would be the subject of lamentation - people would sing songs of mourning about what happened, so terrible would be the distress that would come upon them.
The calamity with which יהוה has struck His people will become proverbial.
The mourning will be bitter and intense.
יהוה is a God of retribution – He pays back!
– They defrauded people of their inheritance (v.2), now they will be dispossessed – יהוה would cause their own portion to be taken - it would be exchanged to belong to another.
What they have will be taken from them - in fitting retribution for all that they have taken from the poor.
All their fine wealth and possessions which they had gained for themselves by unjust means would be given to the heathen.
Is there a message here for our materialistic society of today?
This is exile – their land taken from them and they removed from the land – they will no longer be in Israel so they can no longer go to the temple and go through their hypocritical religious motions – they will have no one in the assembly of the LORD – it was there that the land was Divinely allocated by casting lots [cf.
*Joshua 13:6* /I will drive them out from before the sons of Israel; only allot it to Israel for an inheritance as I have commanded you./
*Joshua 18:10** */And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord, and there Joshua divided the land to the sons of Israel according to their divisions./].
Land was apportioned by lot before יהוה - it was He who distributed it - so it was assigned by a lot cast in His presence.
But no more would land be apportioned out to people - it would be taken from them, not assigned to them.
When the time comes for the land to be given back to God’s people, there will not be any share for those wicked ones who seized the possession of others.
*Suppressing God’s voice* (v.6, 7, 11) *v.6* – The people tell Micah not to prophesy (cf.
*Amos 2:/12/**/ /*/“But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and you commanded the prophets saying, ‘You shall not prophesy!/*’**
**Isaiah 30:10** */Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; and to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions/*.
** **Jeremiah 11:21*/ the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, so that you will not die at our hand”/) - but if the prophet doesn’t speak out a warning there is no possibility of these calamity being turned back.
The people did not want to hear the warning, be told that their way was evil, have their consciences pricked, because they did not want to repent.
Like ostriches, they refused to hear, to face up to the reality.
But the reproach would not be turned back - preventing the warning being sounded doesn’t prevent that which is being warned about, occurring.
But if people would heed the prophetic warning the judgement might be avoided.