14 Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
who dwell alone in a forest
in the midst of a garden land;
let them graze in Bashan and Gilead
as in the days of old.
15 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
I will show them marvelous things.
16 The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;
they shall lay their hands on their mouths;
their ears shall be deaf;
17 they shall lick the dust like a serpent,
like the crawling things of the earth;
they shall come trembling out of their strongholds;
they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,
and they shall be in fear of you. – Micah 7:14-17 ESV
Micah calls out to God, asking Him to intervene on behalf of His chosen people.
…protect your people with your shepherd’s staff; lead your flock, your special possession. – Micah 7:14 NLT
While he is confident in God’s future plans for Israel, his desire is that God would act sooner and not later. He longs to see Israel restored to a right relationship with Yahweh, with Him serving as their Shepherd and King.
For Micah, the chosen people of God, the sheep of His pasture, were dwelling in the land, but not in rich and fertile pasture lands. They were stuck in a forest, unfit for sheep and incapable of providing for their needs. Bashan and Gilead represent the gentle hills covered in green grass and flowing with streams of water where sheep can thrive. It is an image of his longing for the spiritual ad physical restoration for his people. He had seen better days and was anxious to see them once again.
In verse 15, God responds to Micah’s request by promising to rescue His people.
“Yes,” says the Lord,
“I will do mighty miracles for you,
like those I did when I rescued you
from slavery in Egypt.” – Micah 7:15 NLT
Just as God had performed unprecedented miracles to bring about Israel’s release from captivity in Egypt, He would one day intervene on their behalf to bring an end to their latest round of suffering and subjugation. And when that day comes and God fulfills this promise, the people of Israel will respond with awe and amazement just as they did in the days of Moses.
“Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—
glorious in holiness,
awesome in splendor,
performing great wonders?” – Exodus 15:11 NLT
But Micah would not live to see this coming day. While he deeply desired to see God step in and remedy their immediate problem, God’s plans involved a much longer timeframe. His rescue of His people will not take place until the beginning of the Millennium, the thousand-year period of time when Christ returns to earth a second time in order to establish His Kingdom in Jerusalem. Only then will a remnant of the people of Israel be returned to the land of promise and enjoy a restored relationship with Him.
In the interim, Israel would be disciplined by God and dispersed among the nations.
You may no longer stay here in the Lord’s land.
Instead, you will return to Egypt,
and in Assyria you will eat food
that is ceremonially unclean. – Hosea 9:3 NLT
They would be removed from the land and suffer the loss of God’s protection and provision. But God would not completely abandon them.
“I will not completely destroy Israel,
for I am God and not a mere mortal.
I am the Holy One living among you,
and I will not come to destroy.
For someday the people will follow me.
I, the Lord, will roar like a lion.
And when I roar,
my people will return trembling from the west.
Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.
Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.
And I will bring them home again,”
says the Lord. – Hosea 11:9-11 NLT
When that day comes, the nations of the earth will stand and watch in amazement as God once again redeems His people “with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment” (Exodus 6:6 NLT).
All the nations of the world will stand amazed
at what the Lord will do for you.
They will be embarrassed
at their feeble power.
They will cover their mouths in silent awe,
deaf to everything around them. – Micah 7:16 NLT
Just as Pharaoh and the Egyptians could only stand back and watch as God rescued His people with devastating demonstrations of His power, so the nations of the earth will one day witness the unparalleled majesty and might of Yahweh as He delivers His chosen people yet again. And the Jews who experience that future day of redemption will respond just as David had centuries earlier.
“O LORD, there is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! What other nation on earth is like your people Israel? What other nation, O God, have you redeemed from slavery to be your own people? You made a great name for yourself when you redeemed your people from Egypt. You performed awesome miracles and drove out the nations that stood in their way. You chose Israel to be your very own people forever, and you, O LORD, became their God.” – 1 Chronicles 17:20-22 NLT
This amazing reversal of fortunes will be the work of God and all the nations of the earth will recognize it. And just as God promised through His prophet, Isaiah, the people of Israel will find themselves shocked to be on the receiving end of the veneration of the nations.
“Kings and queens will serve you
and care for all your needs.
They will bow to the earth before you
and lick the dust from your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.” – Isaiah 49:23 NLT
And Micah adds another dimension to this subjugation of the nations. While they had spent centuries repeatedly and persistently trying to destroy Israel, they will one day bow before the God of Israel.
Like snakes crawling from their holes,
they will come out to meet the Lord our God.
They will fear him greatly,
trembling in terror at his presence. – Micah 7:17 NLT
The apostle Paul reminds us that while Jesus subjected Himself to the humble state of a man and allowed HImself to be humiliated by death on a cross, He rose again. And then He ascended on high, returning to His rightful place at His Father’s side.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11 NLT
Not every knee on earth has bowed at the name of Jesus. Not every tongue has confessed that He is the Lord. But there is a day coming when that will happen just as Paul described it. God’s plan is not yet complete. His promises have not all been fulfilled – for Israel or the Church. God’s creation, especially mankind, the apex of His creation, will one day confess the greatness and uniqueness of God. They will echo the words of the psalmist.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God. – Psalm 86:8-10 ESV
And the apostle John was given a glimpse into the future in which he witnessed the second coming of Christ and all the events associated with it. In one of his visions, John peered into the throne room of God, where he saw “those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name” (Revelation 15:2 ESV). These will be the martyrs who will be put to death by the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation that precedes Jesus’ return.
John describes this great throng, standing before the throne of God, singing a song of praise to God, “the song of Moses” and “the song of the Lamb” (Revelation 15:3 ESV). They had given their lives because of their belief in Jesus and had suffered martyrdom at the hand of the Antichrist, but they were gratefully and joyfully praising God for all He had done and was going to do.
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.” – Revelation 15:3-4 ESV
We live in a day when the nations refuse to acknowledge God as who He is. They reject His gracious offer of salvation by faith alone in His Son alone. And they continue to attack His chosen people, Israel, treating them with contempt and attempting to wipe them off the face of the earth. But there will be an end to all this because God is not done and His plan is not yet complete. And, as He declared through the prophet, Ezekiel, God will one day accomplish all that He has promised and planned.
“I am the LORD. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it.” – Ezekiel 24:14 ESV
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.