The prophet Micah delivered a message for our day which is both frightening, yet very hopeful. The importance of his message can be found in these works: "Hear now what the Lord is saying!" (Micah 6:1). Micah speaks forth the heart of God to men of all ages - to the backslidden Jew of his day, to the remnant of the last days, and especially to the shepherds in our time. Keep in mind the message of Micah is the burden of the Lord and His view of the church and of His shepherds.
"Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth, because the Lord has a case against His people; even with Israel He will dispute. My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me."
The Lord proceeds to call the mountains and hills as everlasting witnesses to His faithfulness to His children. He speaks of how He delivered them from bondage; how He demanded of them nothing but to walk humbly with their Lord, to do what is right and to love kindness.
But the voice of the Lord called to His people, "Where is My fear now? The house has become wicked; My people are being cheated! There is deception - there are lies in My house!"
Then the Lord describes the horrible judgments that fall upon a backslidden people. "I will make you sick, striking you down! Your sins will cause a desolation in your midst! There will be no true satisfaction, you will not have your spiritual needs met! You will go from one place to another, seeking reality and security, but will not grasp it! You will lose your discernment. What you do end up with, thinking it is finally the real thing, I will send someone with the true sword of the Lord and destroy it" (Micah 6:13,14 paraphrased).
Micah was a true prophet who saw the church through God's eyes, and it caused his soul to wail and lament! He was not about to whitewash the conditions in the house of God! He was now seeing in the Spirit what God saw - the deep, hideous sins of the people, of shepherds and leaders. He saw idolatry! A harlot church making a harlot's wages! "Because of this I must lament and wail, I must go barefoot and naked; I must make a lament [make a sad song] like the jackals and a mourning like ostriches. For her wound is incurable, for it has come to Judah; it has reached the gate of my people, even to Israel" (Micah 1:8,9).
A spirit of rebellion and wickedness has reached the gates - and now God's people, once holy, have an incurable disease! Listen to Micah's lament: "A calamity has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem... because in you were found the rebellious acts of Jerusalem" (Micah 1:12,13).
What has possessed the holy people, bring them into such a great controversy with a holy God?
What Micah sees in the Spirit is so abominable in God's sight, He is forced to cry out, "[Because of it]... I am planning against this family a calamity from which you cannot remove your necks: and you will not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time" (Micah 2:3). Micah saw an incurable disease among God's people and an inescapable judgment. Look at what God calls rebellion! Here is the cause of God's controversy with them:
- A new scheme of covetousness! A scheme concocted by mercenary servants of God, having to do with money, property, success.
- An emphasis on self [the power of the hand]. "Woe to those who scheme iniquity... it is in the power of their hands. They covet fields... houses... inheritances.... They rob [my people]" (Micah 2:1,2).
- Rejection of the prophet's warnings! Telling the people that judgment preaching is not of God, that it is contrary to His character! "Do not speak out.... Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient [with His people]? This is not the way of a loving God" (Micah 2:6,7).
The false prophets and robbing shepherds told Micah to shut up! "Don't preach so much judgment! Quit the doom and gloom warnings! We are God's people; He loves us - there will be no judgment on us." The literal interpretation means, "Drop it! Drop this message of judgment on God's people! Stop rebuking! Stop reproaching good people! Stop all the warnings about misfortune, and stop denouncing the church!" "This is not of God," they say.
But listen to Micah's answer! "If this message is not preached...the reproach of this place will never be tuned back" (Micah 2:6). "Do not my words do good to those who walk uprightly" (Micah 2:7). "Recently My people gave arisen as an enemy" (Micah 2:8).
Micah saw an appalling thing among the shepherds - a sin that made these same robbing shepherds enemies to God! He saw the covetous shepherds stripping the robes of righteousness right off the backs of the innocent children of God. He saw those who wanted rest from their wars being deceived and stripped by false doctrines of covetousness. "You strip the robe off the garment, from unsuspecting passersby, from those returned from war" (Micah 2:8).
How the heart of God must grieve over the innocent, unsuspecting, hungry people who walk into the traps of worldly-minded, ambitious preachers of covetous. I have been to seminars and conventions and have watched in horror as young, immature Christians were being fleeced by money-mad shepherds! They were told they could learn the secrets to health, wealth and prosperity for less than $100 - by simply buying his tapes. Walking with God was reduced to formulas.
I hurt most of all for the mothers and the children! So did Micah! He warned: "The women of My people you evict, each one from her pleasant house. From her children you take My splendor forever" (Micah 2:9).
The splendor of the Lord, the pleasant house - this is the holiness and righteousness of God! These uncaring shepherds are not preaching against sin, they preach nothing but safety and peace - they mock the judgment warnings of God, and because of their lightness, their covetous doctrines - they take away from the mothers and youth the awesome holiness of God! These are the shepherds who keep more people out of the kingdom than all demon powers possibly could.
God help the preacher of the gospel who is so set on his own covetous dreams that he lays down his Sword and becomes a flatterer or an intimidator. Churches have been built on the spiritual skeletons of innocent women and youth! Dreams and schemes came from the pulpit rather than a call to holiness and separation. What horrible intimidation there is today in the house of the Lord, by shepherds bulldozing their dreams.
I saw a young man turn white with sorrow and anger when he sat in a meeting where truth and righteousness was being preached. He told me, "Why haven't I heard this before? I go to a Bible school that teaches nothing but ways and means to be prosperous and successful. I'm being cheated! I'm angry!
"Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray... on account of you, Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins" (Micah 3:5,12).
There is something very familiar about the mercenary prophets he spoke about! They are all about us today - the church overflows with them even now! Micah said of them, GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY. DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU TO DO - AND THEY WILL GIVE YOU A SWEET WORD! They will bless you! Prophesy to you good things! "When they have something to bite with their teeth, they cry, `Peace'" (Micah 3:5).
But don't fall for their scheme, don't buy their objects, don't help them - and they will all but curse you! "But against him who puts nothing in their mouths, they declare holy war" (Micah 3:5).
One Charismatic fund raiser threatened cancers on everyone who refused to give a huge offering. Pastors, evangelists - listen to them thunder at the people, threaten, cajole! "Give to me, to my cause - and God will bless you, heal you, give you everything you desire. If you don't give, if you don't sacrifice for me, everything will crumble around you! God will shut the windows of heaven on you! You will be responsible for shutting me down." What war-like threats!
They cover their doctrines of covetousness by saying, "The Lord is with me!" "Her priests instruct for a price, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord saying, `Is not the Lord in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us'" (Micah 3:11).
The Lord was not in their midst - but they did not discern it. God declares He removes all discernment of godliness; He remover all knowledge of His presence, as a judgment against self-centeredness and covetous practices and doctrines. "Therefore it will be night for you - without vision, and darkness for you - without divination. The sun will go down on the prophets, and the day will become dark over them. The seers will be ashamed and the diviners [those who say, "The Lord told me"] will be embarrassed... because there is no answer from God" (Micah 3:6,7).
Micah makes it most clear that among them discernment is gone; there is now no true word of the Lord; and doctrines of darkness are taught - because the Word is twisted! "...And they twist everything that is straight" (Micah 3:9).
There is much of "Thus saith the Lord!" Much of "God told me!" Much of speaking about new revelation! Much of boasting, "God is truly with us!" Much of leaning on numbers, growth, great success - as proof the Lord is with them, but the prophets calls it DARKNESS - AN EMBARRASSMENT TO GOD - SHAME!
These shepherds have blood on their hands! They are guilty in God's eyes of a violent kind of injustice! "Who built Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with violent injustice" (Micah 3:10). This means that a shepherd has blood on his hands if his doctrine or life keeps anyone from the fullness of Christ. It is violent injustice for shepherds to minister with lust and sin clinging to them, for nothing damns a soul more surely than an unholy ministry! Building great churches, having accepted public ministries, without the anointing! Without the consuming fire of God upon it! Without Holy Ghost conviction! With a gospel of peace and safety! By the counseling of rebellion - flattering the evil, calling evil good!
What could be a more violent injustice than for a shepherd of the Lord to put souls at rest and peace on the brink of judgment and damn them to an eternal hell by holding back the truth? How many shepherds will stand before Christ's tribunal with the blood of blinded believers on their hands? They themselves wouldn't enter into the holiness and fullness of Christ; and they hindered sheep from entering also. These are not the harsh ramblings of a doomsaying prophet, these are the words of the Lord - His eye-view of conditions among His people!
We have become sloganeers. Biblical slogans such as RENEWAL, RESTORATION, REBUILDING abound. I hear modern prophets saying, "The church has never been more alive - never has there been more praise - never such coming together." But the Lord says, "Arise and go, for this is not your rest" (Micah 2:10).
In the original Hebrew it reads: "O my glory! Arise and depart forever! For this shall not be your resting place: this, because of its pollution, is bound over, to grievous travail." This is not the true Zion! Depart from this polluted thing! But what about all the dancing, the praising, the merry multitudes who clap and sing so loudly? What of the great and magnificent buildings, the super churches (all claiming to be the fastest growing in the nation)? What of all the seminars, conventions, solemn assemblies?
Harken to the prophecy of Micah: "If a man, acting in the spirit of falsehood and lies, prophesy unto thee, to INDULGE in the wine and intoxicating drink... surely, he is the prophet for this people!" (Micah 2:11, Spurrell).
This people want PANDERING PROPHETS, pandering to their sensual desires. Wine and strong drink in Micah's time represented TEMPORAL BLESSINGS, MATERIAL PROSPERITY! They preached the blessings of Deuteronomy 28:11 : "And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity." But they refused to preach the rest of Deuteronomy 28: "It shall come about, if you will not obey the Lord... to do all His commandments... curses shall overtake you. The Lord will smite you madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart" (Deuteronomy 28:15,28).
Jeremiah said, "And the prophets are as wind, and the word is not in them" (Jeremiah 5:13). Jeremiah could not fathom the lying spirit of these prophets. "But, Ah, Lord God! I said, look, the prophets are telling them, 'You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place.' Then the Lord said to me, 'The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds'" (Jeremiah 14:13,14).
Again, the prophet Jeremiah says, "An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so" (Jeremiah 5:31).
It's not the true word of the Lord that is heard in the land today! Only a very few preach truth and repentance. It is a frivolous, light, sensuous, effeminate gospel. The dancing is not that spontaneous response of a repentant heart to the genuine moving of the Holy Spirit - it is the choreographed dance of self and pride. You cannot learn to dance in the Spirit - and what I see today focuses on flesh. It's the ark on a NEW CART! It won't get to Zion!
I look about today and I hear the Spirit saying to me, "This is not it! This is not your rest! This is all headed for ruin! It's entertainment! It's applause! It's focused on self, pride, ambition, materialism! God has already walked away from it all."
Micah brings to our attention one of the most glorious of all Old Testament prophecies. He prophesied of a people who would follow the Lord to new pasture. "I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in the fold; like a flock in the midst of its pasture. They will be noisy with men. The breaker goes up before them; they break out, pass through the gate, and go out of it. So their king goes on before them, and the Lord at their head" (Micah 2:12,13).
Micah saw a people of God being released, a people whose hearts beat as one, a people so led by the Spirit they would be called outcasts by the apostate church. "'In that day', declares the Lord, 'I will assemble the lame, and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted. I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcasts a strong nation, and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever'" (Micah 4:6,7).
Who makes up this holy remnant? Not the proud, the self-centered ministries, the polished, applauded stars - NO! This is a tested people; they have been in the fires of trial; they include the unknowns, the outcasts of denominations, those who are considered lame in comparison to the high and mighty established church, and those who raise their voices against corruption in God's house.
God says, "I will put them together!" All the human efforts to bring God's servants together is in vain. God has to do it - and the one thing that brings this remnant together, causing them to see eye to eye, is a repentant heart in union with Christ. They are drawn into one fold - a fold called out of the harlot church! The Septuagint says, "They shall leap forth from among men."
Jerome describes these kind as "those children of God who are repentant and who rise above worldly things and aspire to heaven." This is a heavenly-minded people, weary of lightness and compromise. A people who yearn for holiness in God's house. I tell you there is even now a holy remnant leaping forth from among men. Every man and woman of God whose heart is broken over the sin and corruption in God's house can sense this leap of the Spirit! There is a coming out, a breaking out just ahead!
The "BREAKER-UP" was a title well know to the Jews. It was one of their titles for the Messiah! Dr. Driver said, "The breaker-up advances before them, breaking through the gates of the prison in which the people are confined: they follow, marching forth triumphantly through this open way; their king, with Jehovah at his side, heads the victorious procession. They have broken forth; they have passed through the gates."
That triumphant break-out was the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord! There, He led captivity captive to Himself. From that day to this, He has had a holy remnant.
How arrogant we have become! We conclude that the only day of restoration is in our day! That the remnant exists only in these last days! NO! Peter stood on the day of Pentecost and proclaimed, "These are the last days - this is that which was promised by Joel, in the last days." We have been in last days for nearly 2,000 years.
The Lord has had a restored, holy remnant even during the dark ages. The Waldenses, that holy clan who kept the light of the gospel burning for years when the church was corrupt and cruel! The Moravians, the Puritans, the Wesleyans, the Brethren - in every day of apostasy, the Lord had a holy people who broke out! A people who followed their Lord into a new realm of holiness and faith!
What we are seeing today is the cap-stone on the remnant! The last remnant! We have lost our sense of history! We think God exists only for our day, that all the promises, all that God has done - is only for us! But we are not a complete remnant without all those who broke out before us. They are not yet complete for they wait until the house is finished. "...So that apart from us they should not be made complete" (Hebrews 11:40).
Are you willing to break out, pass through this apostate thing, get out of it and go with Him "outside the gate"? What if the Holy Spirit asks you to break out of your denominational system? Are you ready to break out and follow the Lamb wherever He leads? " Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come" (Hebrews 13:12-14).
Are you looking for an earthly kingdom, an earthly Zion - or a heavenly kingdom? "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel" (Hebrews 12:22-24). "Therefore, since we received a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God and acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:28-29).
He is even now shaking everything that can be shaken. The warnings of Isaiah are at our door. God is forsaking the apostate, harlot church; and He will leave it in its wasted condition. "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it ? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. And I will lay it waste; it will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it" (Isaiah 5:3-6).
I believe what God told Micah is true. The earthly Zion, the harlot thing, will be ruins, plowed as a field - it will become a heap of ruins. Then the heavenly Zion will rise outside the camp! Zion is a people, a blood washed, sanctified, separated people. A people who sigh and cry over the abominations of the land. God calls this people THE NEW JERUSALEM - THE JERUSALEM FROM ABOVE. It is out of this Holy Jerusalem, a holy separated people, from which the Word will go forth. "And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. And many nations will come and say, 'Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.' For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:1,2).
Do you feel the labor pains of holy Zion? The "Breaker Forth" has come to Babylon to lead His people out. "Writhe and labor to give birth, daughter of Zion, like a woman in childbirth, for now you will go out of the city, dwell in the field, and go to Babylon. There you will be rescued; there the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies" (Micah 4:10).
Finally, we must break out of the harlot systems, only to follow the Lamb wherever He leads. We must not settle down in someone else's camp. No other doctrinal camp for this delivered people, because they are following the BREAKER to His bridechamber. No devotion to some star teacher or evangelist for this separated people, for they have eyes only for their Lord. They are in this world, but no longer of it.