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NOBODY ELSE LIKE YOU

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it is His Unchanging Love that looks beyond our faults and blesses us in spite of.

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TEXT

See Micah 7:18-20
Micah 7:18–20 NASB95
18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. 19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. 20 You will give truth to Jacob And unchanging love to Abraham, Which You swore to our forefathers From the days of old.

Introduction

The Eerdmans Companion to the Bible (7 Light at the End of the Tunnel)
Micah bewails the thorough moral bankruptcy of his society. With corrupt political and judicial decision-makers, money talks. People with influence work deals with those in power. Trying to keep them honest only risks retaliation. A person can’t trust anyone—neighbors, friends, even family members. See Matt. 10:34–39.
Matthew 10:34–39 NASB95
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 “For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
But Micah maintains hope in the midst of this moral darkness. He recognizes the justice of God’s present punishment without losing sight of a future characterized by divine vindication of the chosen people at the expense of their enemies. God will set things right by action portrayed as miraculous military triumph covering the whole of the ancient Near Eastern world, from Egypt to Assyria and the Euphrates River, and will instill the fear of the Lord among the pagan nations, which will slither forth in surrender (vv. 12, 16–17). In contrast, Micah paints a peaceful, pastoral picture in petitioning his Shepherd-God for a return of the Hebrew flock to fertile fields. Micah’s hope for the restoration of his people to a position of divine favor, in accordance with God’s promises to the patriarchs, rests with his faith in the forgiving nature of God and in his “unswerving loyalty.”

THESIS

We, like Micah, must recognize that no one can compare to the God we serve.

He is the God of Forgiving Love

(See Micah 7:18)
Micah 7:18 NASB95
18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.
Explanation

Micah begins with a rhetorical question, מִי־אֵל כָּמוֹךָ, “Who is God like you?” The expected answer, of course, is “No one!” (cf. Deut 3:24; 2 Sam 22:32; Ps 77:14). The description of Yahweh as the one נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן וְעֹבֵר עַל־פֶּשַׁע, “who lifts up guilt and passes over transgression,” is reminiscent of Exod 34:7: “who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (NASB). The first part of the Exodus verse shares several words with this line of Micah. This similarity suggests that Micah’s words are meant to recall these words in Exodus. Micah’s statement of theology is not new but is founded in the Pentateuch. Yahweh has not changed in the many years since he spoke those words to Moses on the mountaintop. It is also important to note that Yahweh’s actions here are described with a ptc., which indicates that his actions are continual, with no reference to time. This is an abiding characteristic of Yahweh.

The lifting up of guilt is found in the Mosaic covenant in the Day of Atonement. When the scapegoat was released into the wild, it would “bear [נָשָׂא, “lift up”] on itself all their iniquities [עָוֹן] to a solitary land” (Lev 16:22 NASB). In saying these words Micah is prompting the audience to recall this very important feature of the Mosaic covenant (Wolff, 229). Just as the goat represented the removal of their iniquities, so Yahweh will actually remove their iniquities (cf. Isa 53:12).

For those for whom the earlier judgments were just issued, for those who would read and repeat these words while in exile, for those returned from exile, and for the faithful of Yahweh throughout the centuries, these words bring utter hope. For the original audience who was facing judgment for their sins, there was great relief in the affirmation that Yahweh נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן, “lifts up guilt,” and עֹבֵר עַל־פֶּשַׁע, “passes over transgression.” This statement of salvation is limited by the context to those who are his (נַחֲלָתוֹ, “his possession”). This verse specifically applies this to the שְׁאֵרִית, “remnant,” that will be left after the judgment of exile.

The next affirmation of Yahweh’s character is that לֹא־הֶחֱזִיק לָעַד אַפּוֹ, “he does not cling to his anger perpetually.” It is important to notice what this verse does not say as well as what it does say. It does not say that Yahweh does not get angry. It actually says the exact opposite. It takes Yahweh’s anger (against sin) as a given. Guilt and transgression make Yahweh angry. The good news for those who sin, aside from his removal of sin, is that Yahweh’s anger will not last perpetually. For those facing Yahweh’s judgment, and especially for those who were in exile, it likely seemed perpetual, never-ending. During those times they were to cling to this statement of profound theological truth.

Just as it is a fact that Yahweh gets angry, it is also a fact that חָפֵץ חֶסֶד הוּא, “he delights in mercy.” The depth of this line can easily be overlooked. It seems like a simple statement, but the reality of its truth is staggering. Yahweh takes pleasure in the relationship he has with his people. He takes pleasure in remaining faithful and showing mercy to those he has entered into a covenant with. Yahweh’s relationship with his faithful is often viewed as a relationship wherein the humans rejoice, but Yahweh is often wrongly understood as merely fulfilling an obligation or as fixing the mess that humans created with their sin. But the truth is so much more profound. Yahweh takes pleasure in his interactions with his faithful. He delights in showing mercy

Illustration:
Practical Illustrations: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians 9-160: God Takes Delight in His Creation: The Believer (Creation)

How much do you value your relationship as a child of God? Sometimes, we might be tempted to doubt God’s love. We fail time and again and come up ever so short. Some of us even commit terrible sin. We wonder, “How could God forgive me? How could He love me after I’ve failed so much and so terribly?” Jim Adams shares this eye-opening story with us:

Perhaps no composer has captured the musical heart and soul of America as did Irving Berlin. In addition to familiar favorites such as “God Bless America” and “Easter Parade,” he wrote, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” which still ranks as the all-time bestselling musical score.

In an interview for the San Diego Union, Don Freeman asked Berlin, “Is there any question you’ve never been asked that you would like someone to ask you?” “Well, yes, there is one,” he replied. “What do you think of the many songs you’ve written that didn’t become hits? My reply would be that I still think they are wonderful.”

God, too, has an unshakable delight in what—and whom—He has made. He thinks each of His children is wonderful, and whether they’re a “hit” in the eyes of others or not, He will always think they’re wonderful

He is the God of Redeeming Power

See Micah 7:19
Micah 7:19 NASB95
19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.
Explanation
Yahweh’s compassion and subduing/forgiving of guilt is very much part of Yahweh’s character. Notice, also, that Yahweh “again” has compassion on the people. Many times throughout their history Yahweh had compassion on them, and Yahweh promised to do so again. The second line lists a way in which Yahweh has compassion, and that is by יִכְבֹּשׁ עֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ, “subduing our guilt.” The imagery of “subduing” guilt presents a visual of Yahweh conquering guilt and ruling over it. This verb is used elsewhere for subduing creation (cf. Gen 1:28; Num 32:22; Josh 18:1) and subduing people (cf. Neh 5:5; Esther 7:8; Jer 34:16). Nowhere else is it used for subduing guilt or anything similar. This has led to a theory that this word may have another meaning that is not present elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. The Akkadian cognate of “subdue” is kabasu, which can be translated as “forgive.” Thus, based on the evidence from Akkadian, it is possible that this should be translated as “forgive.” Even without this option, the idea of subduing guilt implies forgiveness.
The last line provides a vivid picture of what it means for Yahweh to forgive guilt. All their sins, not just a portion of them, are תַשְׁלִיךְ בִּמְצֻלוֹת יָם, “thrown into the depth of the sea” (cf. Isa 43:25; Jer 31:34). Even for readers today this is a strong image. The depth of the ocean is far removed from our reach. And even with the amazing ocean exploration occurring today, precious little of the ocean has been explored. For the original audience in the ANE this image had an added layer. In their worldview at the bottom of the ocean, under the rest of creation, was Sheol, the place of the dead. Thus to throw their sins into the depths of the ocean was to, in essence, send them to Sheol—to “kill” the sins, to remove their sin from the land of the living.
Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (4) A Hymn of Praise to God (7:18–20)

Finally, just as the Lord hurled Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the sea and they sank to the depths like a stone (Exod 15:4–5), so he will hurl all “our” sins into the depths of the sea. This, of course, speaks of the complete forgiveness of sin and the removal of its guilt forever (see Jer 50:20). “God not only puts our sins out of sight [Isa 38:17]; he also puts them out of reach (Mic 7:19; Ps 103:12), out of mind (Jer 31:34), and out of existence (Isa 43:25; 44:22; Ps 51:1, 9; Acts 3:19).

Illustration:
Once a year orthodox Jews go to a running stream and scatter into it bits of paper and small articles, repeating while they do it these three verses (the so-called Tashlik ceremony). It is but an outward act, yet testifying that there is still faith in Israel. It will be a glorious day when God forgives them their sins and remembers them no more.papa

He is the God of Perpetual Faithfulness

See Micah 7 20
Micah 7:20 NASB95
20 You will give truth to Jacob And unchanging love to Abraham, Which You swore to our forefathers From the days of old.

This verse turns and speaks directly to Yahweh. Yahweh is praised for who he is. He gives אֱמֶת, “loyalty,” to Jacob, and חֶסֶד, “mercy/covenant loyalty,” to Abraham. These two words often appear together as a hendiadys “in the Psalms as a word-pair for YHWH’s beneficent history with Israel. Gracious faithfulness will form the future of the remnant” (Mays, 168). The first item, “loyalty,” describes the way in which Yahweh relates to Israel. He is loyal. This word is often translated as “truth” (cf. NASB, NIV), but in the context of Micah the focus is not truth versus untruth; rather, the focus is on remaining true to one’s promises. It includes an element of “constancy” and “duration.” In the second line “mercy/covenant loyalty” is synonymous with the preceding “loyalty.” Both of these praise Yahweh for remaining faithful to his covenant promises. The last line affirms this yet again. The covenant that Yahweh is loyal to he swore to Abraham and Jacob long before the days of Micah. Yahweh’s loyalty endured all those generations, and it will continue.

The loyalty and covenant loyalty are specifically mentioned in relation to Jacob and Abraham. These two names appear in reverse here; normally, Abraham is first, followed by Jacob. Both of these names are used as metonymy for the entire covenant community. While most of the judgments issued in Micah’s prophecies originate with the covenant curses in the Mosaic covenant, the mention of covenant loyalty to Abraham draws the hearer to remember the earlier Abrahamic covenant as well. Yahweh is faithful to the unconditional Abrahamic covenant, which promises land, a vast multitude of descendants, and that Israel will be a blessing to other peoples (Gen 12:2–3; 15:13–21; 17:4–16). For those about to go into exile and those in the generations that followed, assurance and affirmation that Yahweh is faithful to keep the Abrahamic covenant brings great hope. It means there will be a future in the land, they will not be wiped out, and Yahweh still has a plan for them to bless others.

CONCLUSION

Holman Concise Bible Commentary Theological and Ethical Significance

Micah’s prophecy calls upon God’s people to confess their sin, repent, and receive whatever punishment may come from the hands of our gracious God.

Amos, Jonah, & Micah: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (Application and Devotional Implications)
Current circumstances do not dictate future circumstances. Israel faced judgment for her covenant violations; yet this hope oracle sees beyond the immediate to the future (vv. 7–10). The particular setting for this confidence is in judgment for sin; the same confidence in Yahweh is expressed numerous times in the OT, especially in the Psalms.
The hope that Micah bestows on the Israelites, hope in Yahweh to keep his promises, is the same hope we have today. When we go through bad times, whether because of discipline for sin or for any other reason, we should remember these words Micah gave to Israel. Our Yahweh is a God of his word, and while we may receive relief and reprieve in our lifetime, we have confidence in Yahweh to bring about the completion of his kingdom, which will bring the fullness of relief and the end goal of our hope.

Who wouldn’t serve a God like that?

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