Read 2 Kings 8, Micah 2, and Psalm 119:121-176.
This devotional is about Micah 2.
This passage begins by announcing “woe to those who plan iniquity.” The word “woe” signals a prayer or a wish for a curse; it is an announcement, in this context, of sorrow that is coming due to God’s judgment. The object of this sorrow is those who exploit other people. Verse 2 says, “They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance.” And why do they do these evil things? Because they can: “…because it is in their power to do it.” This refers either those who hold positions of power in the government or those who are politically well-connected to the government. Undoubtedly there were private citizens in Israel and Judah who had the strength and weapons to exploit others. Had they done so, however, the person who was exploited could appeal to judges for justice. If the judges, however, are corrupt then there is no recourse for justice.
Apparently this is how things went in Israel and Judah. Those who had positions of power in the king’s administration could use that power to enrich themselves at the expense of others. Those who were private citizens but knew who to bribe or how to bribe or had their own cronies in the government could exploit others without fear of accountability. God prophesied (and later brought) judgment on Israel and Judah for these sins (vv. 3-5) and other sins we’ve read about in the prophets.
Instead of speaking out against these sins, however, there were prophets in Israel and Judah who tried to silence the truth-telling of Micah (vv. 6-7) and speak only of a pleasant, pleasurable future for God’s people (v. 11). A prophet who fails to speak out against exploitation and injustice enables that exploitation and injustice to continue (vv. 8-9).
This is part of our discipleship that we ought to consider. While we don’t live in Israel and are not God’s chosen people, God hates injustice wherever it lives and will judge those who exploit others in eternity, if not in this life. In our world, the idea of “injustice” is sometimes used as a charge to gain political power and to exploit the innocent.
God has not called us as believers to effect social change by taking on social issues. He’s charged us with calling people out of their sins to Jesus in faith and repentance. Part of living for the glory of the Lord, however, is seeking to do what is right in our lives wherever possible. That means, at times, doing justice when we are in a position to do so–such as when we serve on a jury or vote. It also means speaking out if we witness abuses of power against the weak.
Have you seen someone in our community or in your workplace who has been treated unjustly? Are you in a position to speak up about that? Are you willing to trust the Lord and come to the defense of those being defrauded or exploited?