Jehovah’s Servants Have True Hope
“The remaining ones of Jacob must become in the midst of many peoples like dew from Jehovah . . . that does not hope for man.”—MICAH 5:7.
1. How is spiritual Israel a source of refreshment?
JEHOVAH is the great Maker of rain and dew. It is futile to hope in men for either dew or rain. Wrote the prophet Micah: “The remaining ones of Jacob must become in the midst of many peoples like dew from Jehovah, like copious showers upon vegetation, that does not hope for man or wait for the sons of earthling man.” (Micah 5:7) Who are the present-day “remaining ones of Jacob”? They are spiritual Israelites, the remnant of “the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16) To “many peoples” of the earth, they are like refreshing “dew from Jehovah” and “copious showers upon vegetation.” Yes, anointed Christians today are a blessing from God to the people. As Kingdom proclaimers, they are used by Jehovah to give the people his message of true hope.
2. Why do we have true hope despite living in this troubled world?
2 It should come as no surprise that this world lacks true hope. Political instability, moral breakdown, crime, economic crisis, terrorism, warfare—we expect such things in a world dominated by Satan the Devil. (1 John 5:19) Many are afraid of what the future may hold. As Jehovah’s worshipers, however, we are not afraid, for we have a sure hope for the future. It is a true hope because it is based on God’s Word. We have faith in Jehovah and in his Word because what he says always comes true.
3. (a) Why was Jehovah going to take action against Israel and Judah? (b) Why do Micah’s words apply today?
3 The divinely inspired prophecy of Micah strengthens us to walk in Jehovah’s name and gives us a basis for true hope. In the eighth century B.C.E., when Micah prophesied, God’s covenant people were divided into two nations—Israel and Judah—and both were ignoring God’s covenant. The result was moral breakdown, religious apostasy, and gross materialism. Hence, Jehovah warned that he would take action against them. Of course, God’s warnings were directed to Micah’s contemporaries. However, the present-day situation is so much like that of Micah’s time that his words also apply now. This will become evident as we consider some highlights of the seven chapters of the book of Micah.
What an Overview Reveals
4. Micah chapters 1 through 3 provide what information?
4 Let us take a brief look at the contents of the book of Micah. In Mic chapter 1, Jehovah exposes the revolt of Israel and Judah. As a result of their delinquency, Israel will be destroyed and Judah’s punishment will reach even to the gates of Jerusalem. Mic Chapter 2 reveals that the wealthy and powerful are oppressing the weak and helpless. Yet, there is also a divine promise. God’s people will be gathered together in unity. Mic Chapter 3 reports Jehovah’s pronouncements against the national leaders and the delinquent prophets. The leaders are perverting justice, and the prophets are uttering lies. In spite of this, Micah is empowered by holy spirit to proclaim Jehovah’s coming judgment.
5 Mic Chapter 4 foretells that in the final part of the days, all nations will come to the elevated mountain of the house of Jehovah to be instructed by him. Before that, Judah will be exiled to Babylon, but Jehovah will deliver her. Mic Chapter 5 reveals that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem of Judah. He will shepherd his people and deliver them from oppressive nations.
6 Micah chapter 6 records Jehovah’s accusations against his people in the form of a legal case. What has he done to cause them to rebel? Nothing. Actually, his requirements are very reasonable. He wants his worshipers to exercise justice and to be kind and modest as they walk with him. Rather than do that, Israel and Judah have followed a course of revolt and will have to suffer the consequences.
7 In the final chapter of his prophecy Mic 7 , Micah denounces the wickedness of his contemporaries. He does not lose heart, however, for he is determined to “show a waiting attitude” for Jehovah. (Micah 7:7) The book concludes with an expression of confidence that Jehovah will have mercy on his people. History testifies that this hope was realized. In 537 B.C.E., when Jehovah’s disciplining of his people was completed, he mercifully restored a remnant to their own land.
8. How would you summarize the contents of the book of Micah?
8 What fine information Jehovah reveals through Micah! This inspired book provides warning examples of how God deals with those who claim to serve him but who are unfaithful. It foretells events that are occurring today. And it gives divine counsel about how we should conduct ourselves during these difficult times so as to make our hope firm.
The Sovereign Lord Jehovah Speaks
9. According to Micah 1:2, what was Jehovah going to do?
9 Let us now examine the book of Micah in more detail. At Micah 1:2, we read: “Hear, O you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth and what fills you, and let the Sovereign Lord Jehovah serve against you as a witness, Jehovah from his holy temple.” If you had been living in Micah’s time, those words would no doubt have captured your attention. Indeed, they do capture your attention because Jehovah is speaking from his holy temple and is addressing not only Israel and Judah but people everywhere. In Micah’s day, people had ignored the Sovereign Lord Jehovah for too long. Soon, that would change. Jehovah was determined to take decisive action.
10. Why are the words of Micah 1:2 of importance to us?
10 The same is true in our day. Revelation 14:18-20 shows that Jehovah is again communicating from his holy temple. He will soon take decisive action, and momentous events will again rock mankind. This time, the wicked “vine of the earth” will be cast into the great winepress of Jehovah’s anger, to the complete destruction of Satan’s system of things.
11. What is meant by the words of Micah 1:3, 4?
11 Listen to what Jehovah is going to do. Micah 1:3, 4 says: “Look! Jehovah is going forth from his place, and he will certainly come down and tread upon earth’s high places. And the mountains must melt under him, and the low plains themselves will split apart, like wax because of the fire, like waters being poured down a steep place.” Will Jehovah leave his heavenly abode and physically tread the mountains and plains of the Promised Land? No. He does not need to. He will merely have to turn his attention to the earth for his will to be accomplished. Moreover, it is, not the physical landscape, but the inhabitants who will suffer the things described. When Jehovah acts, the result will be disastrous for unfaithful ones—as if the mountains had melted like wax and the plains had been split apart by an earthquake.
12, 13. In harmony with 2 Peter 3:10-12, what makes our hope secure?
12 The prophetic words of Micah 1:3, 4 may remind you of another inspired prophecy foretelling disastrous events on earth. As recorded at 2 Peter 3:10, the apostle Peter wrote: “Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.” Similar to Micah’s prophecy, Peter’s words do not apply to the literal heavens and earth. They refer to a great tribulation coming upon this ungodly system of things.
13 Despite that coming disaster, Christians can have confidence in the future, just as Micah did. How? By following the counsel found in the succeeding verses of Peter’s letter. The apostle exclaims: “What sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah!” (2 Peter 3:11, 12) Our hope for the future will be certain if we cultivate an obedient heart and make sure that our conduct is holy and our life is filled with deeds of godly devotion. To make our hope secure, we must also remember that Jehovah’s day will definitely come.
14. Why did Israel and Judah deserve punishment?
14 Jehovah explains why his ancient people deserve to be punished. Micah 1:5 states: “It is because of the revolt of Jacob that there is all this, even because of the sins of the house of Israel. What is the revolt of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem?” Israel and Judah owe their very existence to Jehovah. Yet, they have rebelled against him, and their rebellion reaches right into their respective capital cities, Samaria and Jerusalem.
Wicked Practices Abound
15, 16. Micah’s contemporaries were guilty of what wicked deeds?
15 An example of the wickedness of Micah’s contemporaries is vividly described at Micah 2:1, 2: “Woe to those who are scheming what is harmful, and to those practicing what is bad, upon their beds! By the light of the morning they proceed to do it, because it is in the power of their hand. And they have desired fields and have seized them; also houses, and have taken them; and they have defrauded an able-bodied man and his household, a man and his hereditary possession.”
16 Greedy individuals lie awake at night scheming how to seize their neighbors’ fields and houses. In the morning, they hasten to carry out their schemes. They would not commit such wicked deeds if they remembered Jehovah’s covenant. The Mosaic Law contains provisions to protect the poor. Under it, no family should permanently lose possession of its inheritance. However, that does not concern those greedy individuals. They ignore the words of Leviticus 19:18, which says: “You must love your fellow as yourself.”
17. What can happen when those claiming to serve God put material things first in life?
17 This shows what can happen when people who claim to serve God lose sight of spiritual goals and seek first material things. Paul warned Christians of his day: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.” (1 Timothy 6:9) When a person makes the gaining of money his chief goal in life, he is, in effect, worshiping a false god—Mammon, or Riches. That false god offers no sure hope for the future.—Matthew 6:24, footnote.
18. What was going to happen to materialists in Micah’s day?
18 Many in Micah’s day learn the hard way that relying on material things is mere vanity. According to Micah 2:4, Jehovah says: “In that day one will raise up concerning you people a proverbial saying and will certainly lament a lamentation, even a lamentation. One will have to say: ‘We have positively been despoiled! The very portion of my people he alters. How he removes it from me! To the unfaithful one he apportions out our own fields.’” Yes, those stealers of homes and fields will lose their own family inheritance. They will be deported to a foreign land, and their possessions will become the spoil of “the unfaithful,” or people of the nations. All hopes for a prosperous future will be dashed.
19, 20. What was the experience of Jews who trusted in Jehovah?
19 However, the hope of those who trust in Jehovah will not be disappointed. Jehovah is faithful to his covenants with Abraham and David, and he has mercy on those who, like Micah, love him and grieve over the alienation of their countrymen from God. For the sake of upright ones, there will be a restoration in God’s due time.
20 That happens in 537 B.C.E., after Babylon falls and when a remnant of Jews return to their homeland. At that time, the words of Micah 2:12 have an initial fulfillment. Jehovah says: “I shall positively gather Jacob, all of you; I shall without fail collect the remaining ones of Israel together. In unity I shall set them, like a flock in the pen, like a drove in the midst of its pasture; they will be noisy with men.” How loving Jehovah is! After disciplining his people, he allows a remnant to return and serve him in the land he gave to their forefathers.
Striking Parallels in Our Day
21. How do present-day conditions compare with those in Micah’s day?
21 As we considered the first two chapters of Micah chapters 1, 2, were you struck by how much things are the same today? As in Micah’s time, many now claim to serve God. Like Judah and Israel, however, they are divided and have even fought wars among themselves. Many of the wealthy in Christendom have oppressed the poor. More and more, religious leaders condone practices that are expressly condemned in the Bible. No wonder Christendom will soon come to her end along with the rest of “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion! (Revelation 18:1-5) Following the pattern of Micah’s time, though, Jehovah will have faithful servants remaining on earth.
22. What two groups have placed their hope in God’s Kingdom?
22 In 1919, faithful anointed Christians made a final break with Christendom and set out to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom to all the nations. (Matthew 24:14) To start with, they sought out remaining ones of spiritual Israel. Then “other sheep” began to be gathered, and the two groups became “one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16) Although they now serve God in 234 lands, all these faithful worshipers of Jehovah have truly been set “in unity.” By now, the sheep pen is “noisy with men,” as well as with women and children. Their hope is, not in this system of things, but in God’s Kingdom, which will shortly lead to an earthly paradise.
23. Why are you convinced that your hope is sure?
23 Concerning the faithful worshipers of Jehovah, the final verse of Micah chapter 2 verse 13 says: “Their king will pass through before them, with Jehovah at the head of them.” Do you see yourself in that triumphal procession, following your King, Jesus Christ, with Jehovah himself at the head? If so, you can have the conviction that victory is certain and your hope is sure. This will become even more evident as we consider further highlights of Micah’s prophecy.
How Would You Answer?
• In Micah’s day, why did Jehovah decide to take action against Judah and Israel?
• What can happen when those claiming to serve God put material interests first in life?
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Micah’s prophecy can strengthen us spiritually
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Like the Jewish remnant in 537 B.C.E., spiritual Israelites and their companions promote true worship