Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; – Micah 3:5-6 ESV
The book of Micah was written during a time of wealth and prosperity in Judah immediately prior to the fall of Judah in 722. Micah was still around during that fall, and his ministry up to that point was a warning to the overly-comfortable and sinning people of the day. In this book, Micah warns the prophets (the spiritual leaders, you might say) about the advice they are giving to the people. This advice is very commonly given in our world today and we can learn a lot by looking at their bad advice and learning to keep it out of our ears.
The people are being told two different things based on the circumstances of the day. If things are good and everybody’s happy, they are being told to seek peace. If things aren’t going their way of if someone isn’t giving them what they want, then they are told to fight against them. Let’s bring this into today’s world to get some perspective on what this might look like. If the stock prices go up, let’s sit around comfortably and talk about what a great country we live in. If the stock market crashes, let’s blame greedy Wall Street and demand that corporate leaders get fired. If gas prices go up, let’s blame the president and sue the car companies for gas guzzling vehicles. If gas prices go down, do we even notice? If the economy does well, let’s have a wonderful Christmas with lots of gifts and a couple coins dropped in the Salvation Army bucket. If the economy tanks, let’s get rid of all the congressmen because they probably aren’t doing anything anyway.
Why is this a problem? If things are going well, you should enjoy them and, if they’re not, you should fix it, right? What exactly is the issue that Micah has with this system?
The root of the issue stems from what we’re taking our support and comfort from. God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1), our provider (Philippians 4:19). Yet, we often believe more that our refuge is our homes, our strength is the army/police/guns/locks on doors, or our provider is our employer and our own brilliant minds. The problem is that we’re taking our eyes off God and putting them on our circumstances.
If that’s not bad enough, we’re now learning to act on that disbelief. Because we are trusting in our circumstances, we now are demanding that other people do what they have to in order to keep our circumstances just the way we like them. When all our needs are met, we don’t worry about what other people are doing, but when we don’t get what we want, we demand action! Don’t just sit there, make it the way I want it! This is very dangerous way to live life, because we are settling in to a very selfish view point. We must not allow ourselves to accept this as a spiritually healthy option.
Micah tells us the consequences for the people who are giving this advice: they lose the very gifts that allow them to lead and guide. They are prophets, able to discern and support the people, able to teach and guide. This gift is not theirs, however, it’s from the Lord. If they are ignoring the Lord and giving bad advice that is only going to hurt the people, they will lose the gift entirely. My experience with people who have done this is that they often aren’t aware that the gift has been taken and they continue to teach and guide, only getting worse and worse all the time.
Beware of those who teach you to seek the status quo and defend your current lifestyle. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away (Job 1:21). We live by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). There is a time for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). These are the things that we know to be true, not worrying about what you wear and what you’ll eat (Matthew 6:25).
And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. – Ezekiel 34:26-29 ESV