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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Micah 6

 

 

Verses 1-16

Micah 6:5. Oh my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted. He went to Balaam the false prophet for advice; and both he and his people, and the prophet perished together. Had he hearkened to Moses, the prince of prophets, and given a free passage to his relatives, all had been peace and glory. Moab would have known the great righteousness of Jehovah. Micah makes a good use of this fine argument, to dissuade the Israelites from going, like Balak, to idols.

Micah 6:6. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord. Here is a striking case; the prophet found some in Ephraim bemoaning themselves like a bullock when first yoked. How can I come before the Lord, and worship in his courts. I who have danced at the feasts of Ashtaroth, the wanton Venuses; who have given my child to Moloch; insulted and stoned the prophets! Alas, alas, I have gone too far ever to think of returning to the Lord. What are hecatombs of burnt-offerings; what are rivers of oil, numerous as the streams of Israel And what if I should, like the ancient druids in all lands, or recently like the king of Moab, 2 Kings 3:27, offer my firstborn son for the sin of my soul; all these could never wash out the deep stains of sin, nor appease my guilty conscience. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22. Thus the prophet in his answer gives a lucid comment on the words of Moses. Deuteronomy 10:12. He hath showed thee, oh man, what is good; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. Then the live coal from the atoning altar shall take away thy sin; then the evangelical fountain, which can wash David’s house from blood, and Jerusalem from her filthiness, can wash and cleanse thy heart. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can effectually cleanse the soul from all unrighteousness.

Micah 6:16. The statutes of Omri. These respected idolatry, and were issued to restore the worship of the golden calves. 1 Kings 16:25. Omri was father of Ahab, and laid the foundation of all the wickedness which followed in his house and kingdom.

REFLECTIONS.

We here find in God every attribute of paternal tenderness towards a foolish, a guilty, and a hardened nation. He stoops as Judge of all the earth to the bar of the hills and mountains, and invites the rebellious nations to come to this bar and impeach him! Yea, to testify against him for breach of covenant, and to assign reasons why they would not serve him. Oh sinner, oh ungrateful professor, put thyself in the condition of these Israelites, and hear thy Maker give thee the same challenge. Say now, why thou wilt not serve him.

He recites his kindness by Moses, in delivering them from Egypt; and his protection from the curses of Balaam; and the completion of his faithfulness in bringing them from Shittim, the last encampment in the desert, to Gilgal, the first repose in the promised land. Sinner, if God has never been wanting to thee in kindness and care, he has a sovereign right to require obedience, and by ten thousand arguments to demand thy heart.

When a man has gone greatly astray, and more especially when the crisis of mercy or of judgment is just at hand, he should most seriously enter into his state, and enquire the way of reconciliation. He should say, wherewith shall I come before the Lord. In thought, in word or deed, I am guilty of every crime; and a thousand aggravating circumstances have deepened the dye of all my sins. I am surely the greatest of sinners, nor can I number myself with the least of saints. Mercy, in regard of me, is about to withdraw her tender arm, and hell is enlarging her mouth to receive her prey. I tremble, I shudder for the misery of my guilty soul; nor know I what to do to appease an offended God, whose thunderbolts are impatient to hurl me down to the dark abyss. Oh what— what shall I do to be saved! Of gold and silver, house and land, I make no account. I will give the fullest scale of burnt-offerings. I will give ten thousand libations of oil; my firstborn for the sin of my soul.—Thus sinners, under anguish and terror of conscience, abound with vows and resolutions; but vows in anguish, and habits of holiness, are different objects in the eyes of the Lord. A contrite heart, fixed in its abhorrence of sin, and love of holiness, is more with God than thousands of exterior services.

Grace delights to calm and appease the troubled conscience, and to make the way of salvation plain and easy to the penitent. He hath showed thee, oh man, what is good. The Lord requires of thee, oh Israel, no extra sacrifices; those enjoined in the law being quite sufficient as references to the atonement of Christ. He requires thee, oh prince, to do justly on the bench, to love mercy in sharing thy superfluities with the poor, and to walk humbly with thy God. These are still the unchangeable and easy laws of reconciliation. The Lord will make no bargain with guilt, no compromise with sin. He requires the penitent to rely solely on the atonement, to be converted by beholding the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Then, after this conversion, for a carnal man can never become a moralist, he requires men to show the image of God by imitating his ways, by doing to others what is right, by giving to the poor, supporting the gospel, and walking in all humility of heart before the Lord. This humble walk implies an abiding consciousness that our sins have merited death; that all our enjoyments are purely the gifts of grace; that our crosses and afflictions are far less than we deserve, Ezekiel 16:63; and that we conscientiously obey the precepts from an unfeigned love to God. Enoch having walked with God, had the testimony of pleasing him.

The prophet having said this, resumes his sermon, and farther enforces repentance from the visitations of the rod on those that walked contrary to the Lord. They had scarcity of bread, their councils were distinguished by weakness and indecision, and they were about to be made a hissing and a desolation among the gentiles. These are the fruits of forsaking the Lord.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Micah 6:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/micah-6.html. 1835.

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