I love when God sends me down rabbit holes while I’m in scripture.
During this particular session, I started in Psalm 14, because my wife and I have been separately reading the Psalms. This one really caught my attention – verse 3 is practically identical to 53:3, but it was verse 4 that started me down the rabbit hole.
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call on the Lord? (Psalm 14:4 NKJV)
If you have a good study Bible, you’ll notice cross referencing in the margins or at the bottom of the page. For this verse, the reference is Micah chapter 3 and verses 2 and 3.
You who hate good and love evil; Who strip the skin from My people, And the flesh from their bones; Who also eat the flesh of My people, Flay their skin from them, Break their bones, And chop them in pieces Like meat for the pot, Like flesh in the caldron.”
Out of the prophetic books, Micah is one of the most direct. He was not someone to be trifled with, and he took no garbage from anyone. I named my puppy Micah for much the same reason.
These chapters of Micah, as well as Psalm 14 describes the oppressed peoples of the day. Micah chapter 3 was written directly to the preachers and leaders of the day.
The preachers were either toeing the line of the leaders, or preaching heresy, or both – and the governmental leaders were oppressing the people.
The cannibalism imagery in Psalm 14 and Micah 3 is described in verse 5 with the Hebrew word הַנֹּשְׁכִ֤ים (ha’nosekim) from the Hebrew root nasach – meaning to bite.
There’s two definitions for this root, to literally bite, or to lend money with interest (to put the bite on someone). Hebrew law forbids the lending to a fellow Hebrew with interest therefore, it’s it’s generally accepted that people weren’t literally being eaten, but oppressed by their leaders in a cruel way.
Micah prophecies in the latter part of the eighth century BC, and this book was written directly to warn of the impending Assyrian and coming Babylonian attacks, because of the disobedience of the prophets in ministry and the civil leadership.
Chapter 3 addresses chapter 2, where Micah lays out the sins. It’s written more like a legal indictment than a mere overall judgment. It lays out the sins of the oppressors, namely the administrations of Jotham and Ahaz, and as a warning to Hezekiah.
It starts out with what looks like evictions and foreclosures, both banned under Hebrew law, which further validates the term “bite” and the cannibalism visual referred to in chapter 3.
As you start to read chapter 2, and get into chapter 3, you can see how God works. He warns, He invokes punishment, the people repent, He forgives. Unfortunately, there does come a time when even God says “enough” (Romans, chapter 1)
In chapter 3, verses 6 and 7, with the word וְחָשְׁכָ֥ה (ha’sechah) from the Hebrew root chaskak meaning to be, or grow dark. In the text, it means that the prophets who preach falsely will lose their sight – their ability to prophesy.
If we look at prophecy, it usually has a meaning for the time given, and for the future – a dual meaning.
What was the job of a prophet? To speak the Words of God to the people. He usually spoke when the people, or the leadership or usually both, were in error and deep in sin. God would speak to the prophet to tell the people… to shape up and repent, or face the consequences.
Sounds like what today’s pastors should be doing – get saved (shape up), ask for forgiveness (repent), or face the consequences (spend eternity in Hell).
Society today is just as corrupt, or even more so, than biblical days. As I said, there will come a time when the Father will say, “Enough!” He’ll tell His Son, Jesus, “Go, and get My kids, and bring them home!” Rapture time.
I’m not saying that this happening anytime soon, but it could be. The one reason that the Bible doesn’t tell us when the rapture will happen, is so that we will always be ready.
Jesus said it Himself in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,but My Father only.”
There are many areas in the Bible that can be compared to the times today. There’s a reason for that. It’s important that we get it into our thick heads, that we need a savior. Pastors and evangelists need to be standing bold for God’s Word.
Pastors need to be bold in the pulpit, not afraid to call out false teaching and teachers – by name if necessary. We need to be calling out the corrupt leaders in government, again, by name if necessary. We need to effectively make our own accountable, and hold government leaders accountable.
That’s what prophets did. They set the example.
Be like Micah – be humble, but take no crap. Preach the truth, lead people to salvation in the blood of Christ, and make sure that the sheep are safe from the wolves out there.