Date: 25 October, 2018
Text: Micah 7:18-20
Title: Picture God as He Is
We enjoyed going to a family camp this summer in Germany. There we met a lady with whom we have corresponded for several years. Her name is Cindy Bunker and maybe someday you'll get a chance to meet her. She's a lot of fun. She does the finances at BWM and loves to come to camp to work with the kids.
I was suprised when I met her, because she was nothing like how I pictured her in my mind. She's great - just not who I was expecting to meet. (She would probably say the same about me but had perhaps seen a picture of me previous to our meeting.)
When we try to guess what someone is like - we get it wrong. How could we possibly know someone by our own ideas?
Many people have a wrong picture of God.
ill. two atheists - blaming God for children's cancer instead of their foolish sin which they do daily.
exp. I would imagine that if I were to ask these men to share with me their picture of God it would be far from what the Bible reveals God to be.
In our text, Micah asks a good question about the uniqueness of God....
exp. Israel has been in sin - Micah has dealt with that sin througout the book. He has also dealt with the judgment of God upon their sin. He does not end His book without hope. He brings them back to hope by showing them a true picture of God as he says....
18 Who is a God like unto thee,
My message this morning -
YOU NEED TO PICTURE GOD AS THE BIBLE DECLARES HIM TO BE!
Do you need to change your picture of God?
I. Picture a God of forgiveness.
that pardoneth iniquity,
exp. Yes - God hates sin and God will punish sin. But, if your picture of God ends there - you do not see Him as He is. God is the only one who can pardon sin.
Psa 130:3-4 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
question: Why should Israel rejoice in this proper picture of the forgiveness of God?
BECAUSE THEY WERE IDOLATERS AND HAD BROKEN GOD'S LAW!
Micah 1:7 And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.
exp. Israel was committing spiritual adultery and turning her back on the one true God.
BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE GETTING AWAY WITH THEIR SIN!
Micah 2:1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
BECAUSE THEY HATED GOOD AND LOVED EVIL!
Micah 3:1 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
2 Who hate the good, and love the evil
BECAUSE THEIR RELIGIOUS LEADERS PLEASE MEN AND NOT GOD!
Micah3:10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
BECAUSE THEY WERE INVOLVED IN OCCULT PRACTICES!
Micah 5:12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
app. God hates sin! God will judge sin! But, if you want to get right with God and get forgiveness for your sin - you can do that. 1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
transition: Picture a God of forgiveness.
II. Picture a God of patience.
and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?
exp. Israel had really messed up - but God had not yet destroyed them.
Micah 6:9 The LORD'S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.
10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?
exp. They were ripping people off with deceitful balances.
11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
exp. They hadn't gotten rid of their wicked practices.
12 For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
exp. They were extorting money by violence and lies!
13 Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.
14 Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.
15 Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.
16 For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.
exp. They did not follow God but followed idolaters! God made it dissatisfying - but God didn't make a full end of them. (GENESIS 6 SHOWS US THAT HE COULD HAVE!)
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
ill. Like the father of the prodigal son standing on the steps of his home, shading his eyes, waiting and hoping or the soon return of his prodigal son. (Patient)
App. If you are in sin this morning, it is only the patience of God that preserves you. He's waiting and hoping that you'll turn away from that which is destroying you! Picture this morning a God of patience.
III. Picture an ungrudging God.
he retaineth not his anger for ever,
note: When we speak to someone about forgiving someone who desires forgiveness - we tell them - don't hold onto it. Let it go. "Don't hold a grudge."
exp. God doesn't hold a grudge. He is willing to let go of His anger for those who get right with him. But - Oh, how angry he can be with the wicked.
Micah 5:15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
ill. Like Typhoon YUTU - which devastated Saipan and the surrounding islands - the sun has come back out and there is hope to rebuild the lives of those ravished by the typhoon.
exp. God's wrath - praise His name - will tear down the things that are destroying our lives - but if you let him - he will take away His wrath and give you His blessing as he helps you rebuild your life in a way that honours him.
Psa 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
app. If your picture of God is that He is holding a grudge - your don't have a Biblical picture. The Biblical pictue is He will take away His anger (and desires to do so) if you will get right with him! Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. PICTURE AN UNGRUDGING GOD.
IV. Picture a God of mercy.
because he delighteth in mercy.
ill. If you owed me 1 million pounds, you deserve to pay it. However, in mercy I could forgive you your debt and take away all judgment against you.
exp. Mankind has a huge debt it owes to God. But - because God is merciful - He is will to take away the judgment against us and forgive us our debt.
def. Mercy is the great canceller of indebtedness to God.
exp. The beauty of mercy is that it always falls upon those who do not deserve it.
note - MICAH'S DAY WAS JUST LIKE OUR DAY!
Micah 7:2 The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
3 That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.
4 The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
question: Would you expect a revival in a day like this? At the end of Micah's ministry there will be days of great revival under King Hezekiah. Did they deserve it? NO! They received it because of the mercy of God!
app. Our world deserves the tribulation and hell - BUT GOD IS A GOD OF MERCY! God can awaken the hearts of our politicians, our business men, our citizens, as he mercifully awakened the heart of Judah. Don't picture a God who isn't willing to cancel indebtedness! Picture a God of mercy!
V. Picture a God of second chances.
19 He will turn again,
exp. He is willing to turn - not as judge - but as Father, Friend, guiden, comforter - He is calling them to repentance!
Micah 6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
exp. Judah had become so pervers that they had sought to offer to their gods the blood of their firstborn children!
8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
exp. God didn't want GREAT SACRIFICE - he wanted a bowed knee and obedient hearts that accepted God's mercy and changed their actions.
ill. Have you ever wanted a second chance. In golf we call it a mulligan. (You pretend like you didn't see the errant shot into the woods and invite your friend to have another go.)
ill. It is very disheartening to blow it and have someone say, "Well, you had your chance!"
app. Listen friend, you may have blown it to this point in your life - but if you want another go - God is willing to foget that errant life that has gone astray. He invites you to have another go. Don't picture a God who says, "Well you had your chance!" Picture a God who says, "You can do it right. Have another go."
VI. Picture a God of compassion.
he will have compassion upon us;
exp. God is not impersonal - like a dumb idol that can't hear, speak, think, or act. He is a loving shepherd, a good physician, a gracious father, a loving companion. JESUS SHOWED US THE LOVE OF GOD IN HIS EARTHLY MINISTRY.
ill. He cared about people's physical needs.
Mat 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Mat 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Mat 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
Mat 20:34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
ill. He cared most about men's spiritual needs.
Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
app. Have you got a problem in your life and your picture of God is that He doesn't care? Get a right picture. He does care - 1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Picture him correctly as a God of compassion.
VII. Picture a God of victory.
he will subdue our iniquities;
exp. Did you know that sin is a great task master? He is bowed down to and slavishly served - until Jesus Christ sets us free. He will put down sin if we will let him.
Micah 5:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:
11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:
12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.
14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.
15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
note: Jesus isn't going to break into your life to do this! You have to let Him into your heart and then He will take care of all that is against God.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
app. Your picture of God may be that God can't help you because you can't get victory over that sin. You've got it wrong my friend - When you get with God - GOD GIVES VICTORY OVER SIN. He will cast down the idols and strong holds in your life.
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
VIII. Picture a God of cleansing.
and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
exp. Judah was covered in sin which God hated and which was wrecking their lives. God was willing to so deal with their sin that it would disappear into the sea.
ill. Read the story in Luke this past week of the demoniac of gedarra in our family devotions. He had legions of demons in him. They didn't want to go into the sea and asked to go into the swine. They got their way and God had his way as they drowned in the sea.
exp. Satan doesn't want his filth to be cast into the sea and pleads that it be otherwise - BUT GOD WILL HAVE HIS WAY. He will put it far from you.
Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
app. Have you thought that God would not be able to take your sin away. Your picture of God is wrong. God has the great cleansing agent - the blood of Jesus - which removes any sin stain. Have you been cleansed by His blood? Have your sins been cast into the sea?
IX. Picture a God of faithfulness.
20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
exp. If this were not true - none of what we have considered about God would be. Your picture of God is incomplete if you don't believe in Him or what He has done and will do. GOD IS FAITHFUL TO HIS WORD.
Num 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
ill. Some of you know about the little neighbor girl who promised me a radio controlled airplane which I dreamed about and never received. (I don't believe that girl.)
note: BUT GOD HAS NEVER LET US DOWN OR ANYONE DOWN. EVERY PROMISE HE HAS GIVEN HE HAS KEPT. You find that out as soon as you put your faith in Him believing in his promises.
app. Friend do you trust God? If your picture of God is that He is not to be trusted, you've got it wrong. Picture a God of faithfulness and believe His Word!
conclusion: When we try to picture someone before we get to know them - we are wrong every time. (We'll say - they are nothing like I thought they would be.)
If you didn't know God before coming to church today, I would hope that you find yourself saying in your heart - God is very different than what I thought Him to be.
If you have had an incorrect view of God - you need to change it.
Picture a God....
an ungrudging God
a God of mercy
of second chances
If you will picture God in that way - you will see Him as He really is - and find the joy of knowing God.