Mic_3:8. Truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
TO all God’s servants this command is given: “He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully [Note: Jer_23:28.];” and “deliver it they must, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear [Note: Eze_2:7.].” The prophets have set us a noble example in this respect: and the Prophet Micah in particular.
Let us mark,
What the sins were which he was commissioned to reprove—
Most grievous was the state of the Jewish people in his day—
[All ranks and orders of men, from the highest to the lowest, were addicted to covetousness, and were ready to commit every species of iniquity for gain; princes, priests, judges, prophets, all were guilty of the grossest injustice, and made use of their respective offices only for the purpose of accumulating wealth. At the same time they professed a firm reliance upon God, and anticipated nothing but good at his hands [Note: ver. 9–11. Cite the whole of this.] — — —]
And there is but too much ground for similar complaints amongst us—
[True, the conduct of our governors and judges is the very reverse of that which the prophet here imputes to the Jews. I suppose that greater integrity is not to be found on earth, than in those who hold the government, and dispense justice, and minister in holy things, amongst us; and we have abundant reason to bless God for the high tone of morals which prevails amongst them. But, if we descend to common life, we find all the same iniquities abounding in our land as were complained of by the prophet in his day. Covetousness and injustice prevail to a fearful extent amongst us, as do indeed the whole catalogue of sins forbidden in the Decalogue — — — And precisely the same self-delusion is cherished in almost every bosom. “We lean upon the Lord,” just as the Jews did; and persuade ourselves that “no evil shall come upon us.” “God is merciful,” is a sufficient answer to every threatening contained in God’s word. As for his justice, or holiness, or truth, no regard whatever is paid to them: all are superseded, all are swallowed up in the one attribute of mercy; and no room is left for the exercise of any perfection that shall interfere with the happiness of an impenitent transgressor. As to “be a child of Abraham” was with the Jews a sufficient security from God’s wrath [Note: Mat_3:9.]; so, amongst us, is baptism into the faith of Christ: we cannot perish, because we are Christians.]
Let us however notice,
The manner in which he administered his reproof—
“He was full of power by the Spirit of the Lord:” for he and all the other “Prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost [Note: 1Pe_1:11 and 2Pe_1:21.].” With judgment, too, and with might, was he filled; so that, in all his reproofs, he shewed unquestionably that he was speaking under a divine impulse. And I too, my brethren, would execute my commission even as he did. With a mixture of tenderness and fidelity, “I pray you then, my brethren,” bear with me, whilst, under the influence of God’s Holy Spirit, I endeavour to shew you the folly of your ways.
Can you impose on God?
[You can, and do, deceive your own souls, and persuade yourselves that you have nothing to fear at the hands of an angry God. But if you make light of sin, can you convince Jehovah that it is so venial a thing as you make it, or that you have not committed it to an extent to merit his displeasure? — — —]
Can you prevail on God to cancel and reverse the threatenings of his word?
[See if you can prevail on him to change day into night, or to alter for you any of the common laws of nature: and if you cannot prevail in things which would involve no contradiction, how can you hope to obtain a revocation of his word, which would involve in it a sacrifice of truth itself? For, I scruple not to say, that to hope for heaven in an impenitent and unbelieving state, is to “make God a liar [Note: 1Jn_5:10.]” — — —]
Can you, when your self-delusions have ruined you, come back again to rectify your errors?
[Verily, between God and the soul that perishes in its sins, there is a great gulf fixed, a gulf that never can be passed. The soul that has once passed into the eternal world has its state for ever fixed; and the man who dies impenitent will bewail his folly in irremediable and everlasting misery.
I ask then, Is it wise to continue in sin, saying, “No evil can come upon me?” — — — Not that I would dissuade you from “leaning upon God;” but only from leaning upon him in a way which he has never authorized; and from expecting at his hands what he has never promised, and what he cannot give without violating his most solemn declarations. Repent of sin, believe in Christ, and obey the commandments of your God; and then let your confidence be as strong as you please. Then will I also assure you, that God shall be with you of a truth, and that to all eternity shall no evil ever come upon you — — —]