For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place.
He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth, (1:3).
Micah, whose name means, “Who is like the Lord,” lived in a village in the southern kingdom of Judah and prophesied of the fall of Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, and of the coming desolation of Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah. Micah, a contemporary of both Isaiah and Hosea, would be a constant reminder that there is none like the Lord God.
Micah’s message alternates between prophecies of doom and prophecies of hope, and the overarching theme is divine judgment and deliverance. Today’s message lands squarely on His divine judgment.
My best friend in elementary school lived down the street from my house. Her father was a captain in the Navy. He was a commanding presence in his uniform, and while I was too young to grasp the level of the prestige of his rank held, I was not too young to understand his authority. The captain was tall and although rather soft spoken, I remember the way my friend straightened up when he spoke. He didn’t have to do much to get her attention.
Because of his service in the Navy, he was often gone for extended periods of time. As my best friend got older, she figured out she could pull stuff on her mom that she could never get away with when her dad was home. I guess you could say my friend got too big for her britches when her dad wasn’t around. But things would definitely change when he got home. And though I perceived him to be a kind man, when he came near to scold my friend, and sometimes me, it was actually pretty terrifying.
And today reminded me of those childhood days with my friend down the street. God’s people, thinking they could pull stuff because they thought He wasn’t around; getting too big for their britches in their sin and rebellion against His commands.
All this is for the rebellion of Jacob
And for the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the rebellion of Jacob?
Is it not Samaria?
What is the high place of Judah? (1:5).
And this image flashed of the commanding Presence of the Lord God, rising from His throne in Heaven, approaching His people to do much more than scold them. For He would leave His Holy Temple to Come Down and Tread On the High Places. And that is truly terrifying.
Consider Him Who Will Come Down and Tread On the High Places
God had warned them, repeatedly. But now, because they had rejected His Word brought by His prophets time and time again, the Lord Himself would be His own spokesman, and they would finally not only hear, but they would also experience the fulfillment of His Word firsthand. The Lord God would validate His message, for He Himself would rise from His throne to Come Down and Tread On the High Places.
Hear, O peoples, all of you;
Listen, O earth and all it contains,
And let the Lord God be a witness against you,
The Lord from His holy temple, (1:2).
Pride and idolatry were at the root of the sin and rebellion of God’s people as High Places in the Bible always refer to places of worship, altars erected on elevated plots of land. And God’s people somehow forgot His preeminent rank. And rather than lamenting and wailing over their condition, they persisted in their sin and rebellion until it was absolutely too late. And as they grew too big for their britches, they raised themselves up in their own ways, chasing after the gods of their choosing, and building their lives on idolatrous lies.
And the wound of their pride and idolatry would be incurable as they persisted in their refusal to listen. But they would learn that when He Comes Down, it would then be too late; for every High Place raised against the Truth, He will Tread On.
Because of this I must lament and wail,
I must go barefoot and naked;
I must make a lament like the jackals
And a mourning like the ostriches.
9 For her wound is incurable,
For it has come to Judah;
It has reached the gate of my people,
Even to Jerusalem, (1:8-9).
Micah understood that the whole earth is at His command, and Micah grieved for his own people so steeped in their pride and idolatry as to close their ears to truth and rebel against their gracious God. And Micah also knew that when God leaves His Holy Temple to Come Down and Tread On the High Places, nothing in all of creation is able to stand against Him.
The mountains will melt under Him
And the valleys will be split,
Like wax before the fire,
Like water poured down a steep place, (1:4).
How do we respond to Him Who Will Come Down and Tread On the High Places?
I daresay most of us would rather spend time dwelling on His undeserved grace than on His deserved judgment. And while it is essential to think on all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable about His grace, it also behooves us to be reminded of the seriousness of sin against Holy God. And God has certainly filled many pages of His Word with His repugnance at pride and rebellion.
And while thinking on Him Coming Down and Treading On the High Places may be an unpleasant endeavor, if we close our ears to His witness, we are setting ourselves up for a terrifying trampling.
God created us to worship, and if we are not worshipping the One True God, we will worship something else. And pride is insidious as it feeds our flesh and nourishes rebellion. And before long we get too big for our britches, convinced we can neglect our time with Him, living as though He were far away from home. But in so doing, we live as the wicked, crowding God out of our thoughts, and allowing pride to take the seat of importance and worship in our hearts.
The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;
God is in none of his thoughts, (Psalm 10:4 NKJV).
So how do we know if we are erecting High Places in our hearts? We must examine our priorities. What we worship will be evident in the way we spend our time and our resources. Are we investing more in our feelings than in our faith? Are we investing more in seeking pleasures and power than in His Presence? Are we investing more in our reputation and recreation than in our relationship with Him? Are we investing more energy in the ways of the world than in the wonders of His Word?
There is none like the Lord God and He alone deserves the seat of honor in our hearts. Today, let us take to heart the seriousness of pride, that we would humble ourselves before Him Who Will Come Down and Tread On the High Places. Because the truth is, if we continue in our pride, it is as though we are asking Him to leave.
For though the Lord is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar, (Psalm 138:6).
But He is faithful to His Word, and if we persist in our pride, He Will Come Down and Tread On the High Places.
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling, (Proverbs 16:18).
Oh, that we would learn to walk in the wisdom of humility.
When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom, (Proverbs 11:12).
Let us invite Him each and every day to Come Down and Tread On the High Places in our heart; for as we humble ourselves before Him, He will be faithful to instruct us in His way.
Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way., (Psalm 25:8-9).
For the day is coming when He Will Come Down and Tread On the High Places of all the earth. Oh, that He would find us living in the way of humility and faith, that we will be ready for that day when He will Come Down to take us to be with Him forever.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord, (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).