Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Micah 7:19

He will again have compassion on us;
He will vanquish our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.

The Original Intent

1) The passage says, “again have compassion on us”; why is the word “again” used?

Micah, the writer of these words, was a prophet. He lived during a time when the northern kingdom of Judah and the southern kingdom of Israel were living separately and, in many ways, going in different directions spiritually. While we’re only looking at one verse, it’s important we briefly review history as well as read backwards a bit to gain needed context.

Micah was one in a long line of prophets and judges who were tasked with reminding God’s people they needed to follow Him. He alone was worthy of their whole-life-worship! However, these split kingdoms had a long and cyclical history of obeying God, following His commands until life started going well, and then becoming distracted. They would cave to peer pressure, forget about God and His ways, instead choosing to follow and worship the gods of their neighbors.

It was a vicious cycle they could not seem to break because they simply didn’t love God whole-heartedly. Micah 7:2 says, “Faithful people have vanished from the land; there is no one upright among the people.”  

Still, our prophet kept his heart focused on God. Verse 7 says “But I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” Our prophet uses the word “again” because he knew and understood his nation’s tragic history of false worship and heart-rebellion. Likely, he’d grown up hearing about the faithfulness of God saving Moses, then raising him up as Israel’s leader. He knew about the parting of the Red Sea; he would have even sung Miriam’s Refrain!

Sadly, he was also familiar with all the times Israel had forgotten Him and chosen themselves. Micah is confident God would once again have compassion on His wayward people because he trusted the character of the Lord! 

The Everyday Application

1) The passage says, “again have compassion on us”; why is the word “again” used?

Can I make a confession? Sometimes the hardest part of writing these Digging Deeper Studies is coming up with meaningful questions that are also intriguing enough to our readers so they want to dig deeper!

Part of the victory over that struggle comes in allowing God to grow and convict us as writers while we study His Word. Our goal really isn’t to make a great study, but to really know our God better in the process of writing. The more we know Him, the more we love Him, which was a big part of Israel and Judah’s problem; they stopped wanting to know Him!

When I first wrote this question, the song “Run To The Father” by Cody Carnes came to mind. There is so much to love about this song, but for our study question, it’s the refrain that sings, “I’ll run to the Father again, and again, and again and again

Seriously, how often do we repeatedly go to God begging forgiveness for the same sin? How often does God meet us in our brokenness again and again and again?! Each time with mercy and love and faithful forgiveness! (1 John 1:9)

The application for us today is no different from the original audience thousands of years ago. God will ALWAYS meet us with compassion and grace regardless of how many “agains” we have. My heart’s desire is to be like Micah when he says, “But I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”

The more I study His Word to deeply know His heart, the more confident I grow in trusting His heart of love, and the more I want to never stray from His side!

The Original Intent

2) What does it mean to vanquish our iniquities?

Vanquishing our iniquities” are not words many of us use in everyday conversations, so when we come to them in Scripture, we should slow down and think more deeply about its meaning so we can understand the Author, God, better!

Thankfully, there are a couple of pretty simple things we can do when we run across unfamiliar phrases like this in Scripture. Most of us have a Bible app on our phones, which makes it super easy to read verses in different translations. Bookmarking Scripture study tool websites also provides easy access to reliable answers. (blueletterbible.org)

A quick search leads us to some other similar phrases like “tread under foot”, “stomp out our wrongdoings” and “trample our sins under foot”. The second super simple thing we can do is to look up words in a Bible dictionary, which are easily available online at studylight.org. Using a Bible dictionary is important because it will give more weight to the original language as opposed to just using English.

“Tread” meansto subject, subdue, force, keep under, bring into bondage”. Micah is using strong language to indicate the completeness of God’s compassion, telling the readers that God can and will cover every single last one of their sins by His powerful authority; no sin will escape His victory!

Not only will He cover sins, but he will “vanquish” them by “treading” over them! See how rich it is to study God’s Word!

The Everyday Application

2) What does it mean to vanquish our iniquities?

Though you probably won’t find these words scrolled across a Christmas card, once we study God’s Word, we can practice keeping it close to our hearts, letting God’s Spirit teach us how it applies in everyday life.

Simply put, these words mean our sin is completely erased. How often we sin in everyday life! This truth from Micah equips us with power to fight back! Psalm 103:12 uses similar words to describe God’s complete victory over and removal of our sin from us, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us”.

If you’ve confessed your sins to Jesus and asked forgiveness, then your sin is completely gone. Eternally erased. (1 John 1:9) Never to be brought to mind again or held against you! How amazingly cool is that?!

As Christ followers today, we need to fully embrace this truth every day. Not only for ourselves, but also for others; we have been forgiven much so we can forgive others. (Luke 7:47) As far as God is concerned, our sin is paid for and erased. Nothing stands between us and His desire to be close to us!

I would guess I’m not the only one who struggles with fully accepting this free gift of grace or stand in the place of truth instead of condemnation. (Romans 8:1-2) How often have we brought up long forgotten sins in our prayers, feeling like we don’t deserve God’s love or need to earn His forgiveness?

It’s almost like we are saying, “Hey God, did I work hard enough for You this week? Are you good to go ahead and forgive this or that? Can I be close to Your love yet?” Thankfully that is NOT how our gracious God works! Once we ask, our sins have been “trampled under His foot”. 

The Original Intent

3) Why choose the sea as the destination for our sin’s punishment?

The sea would have been a visual image the readers would clearly understand. Its depths had not been navigated or understood like our scientific explorations have afforded us today. It was a place of deep, dark unknown.

These nations were surrounded by the Sea; waters were a normal, everyday aspect of their society. They’d also heard the stories about the parting of the Red Sea as the Lord used His authority to rule over it. They also would have known the poetry from Job as he described God’s filling of the sea and His final rule over it. (Job 41-42:2)

To the original audience, the Sea was not only big and deep, but it was also a place only God could rule. See their stunned response when Jesus commands the winds and waves, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41)

The watery, unknown depths of the Sea was a visual image used to communicate that there was no coming back once something was thrown into it. In this case, sin was vanquished to an eternal grave.

Once God cast their sins into the sea, that is where they’d stay, forever away from them and away from God. Completely gone. Eternally forgotten. Over-powered once and for all.  

The Everyday Application

3) Why choose the sea as the destination for our sin’s punishment?

This summer, I had the opportunity to visit Greece on a mission trip. We stayed not far from the Sea that the original audience of Jesus’ day would have been familiar with. We drove past, and walked alongside, the Mediterranean Sea every day for two weeks. Every single time I looked up and saw the Sea I was taken aback by its deep dark blueness. It’s hard to describe and even pictures don’t do it justice, but I’ve not seen that deepness of color anywhere else; such depth and beauty!

I share this because it reminds me of the apostle Paul’s teaching on the deep, beautiful love of God; Pastor Paul ministered in Greece after Jesus’ historic birth, death and resurrection and he echoes Micah’s words in his letter to the church in Rome.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1)

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:37-39)

We have an amazing God whose powerful love is matchless, deep, and astoundingly beautiful!

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