Micah 7 was part of my Bible reading a few days ago. There are three parts to Micah 7: Lament, Israel will Rise, and Prayer and Praise. Micah wasn’t afraid to lament what was happening to Israel. He could see that Assyria was rising in power and that Israel would be displaced from their land.
Lament is something we don’t do well in evangelicalism. We prefer triumphalism! After all, Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Some quarters of evangelicalism specifically preach a “health and wealth” gospel - I’m looking at you Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen. But that’s not what the Bible teaches us.
Jesus came for our salvation from sin and to show the world a better way to live. But, when he comes again, he will redeem all of his creation. In the meantime, we are going to live normal, human lives. 1 Peter, in particular, gives us a good understanding of how to stand firm in the face of trials and suffering.
It’s OK to lament. God can take it. Read the book of Job. While Job’s friends were trying to convince him that he must have sinned to deserve such suffering, Job continued to lament and stand firm that his torment was undeserved. God did, in fact, give him an answer. But, it was such an answer! “I’m God and you’re not!”
But, Micah does something that is hard for us to do after his lament. He claims the promises of God. God had made a covenant with Israel that the land was theirs and that they would eventually return. Micah trusted in that promise and stood on that.
In the same way, we can hold firm to the promise that God will see us through our troubles. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, Paul says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Our troubles are nothing compared to the glory of heaven. Wow. That can be hard for us to see and hold on to. In fact, it often takes God's grace for us to be able to do that. But, God gives us that grace.
And then Micah moves into praise and prayer. Now he’s not just declaring God’s promises, but he’s telling God how great he is and praying for a speedy end to the troubles that Israel is having. And this is exactly what we would expect from someone who has been walking with God. He has his time of crying and sadness, but then moves on to the promises of God and then prays to and praises God.
But, if you’re stuck in lament right now, that’s OK. When I first had to quit work because of my chronic migraine, I had lots of lamenting time. But, if you’re only lamenting, if you don’t have any happy emotions, if you are crying all the time, and if your emotions are negatively impacting the rest of your life, please go see your primary care physician and see whether you are depressed. Lament is good and healthy. Depression is not. You may just need some counseling and exercise, or you may need a few months of medications. Whatever it is, don’t let depression sap your life.
In this chapter, Micah is showing us how we can respond to the difficult times in our life. Don’t be afraid of the negative emotions. Lament is as much a part of our faith as the prayer and praise. Let it be. But, when you are done, move on to declare the promises of God. And, if you aren’t sure what God has promised, check out the Gospels and Paul’s letters. Then praise God for getting you through. And be prepared for it to happen again. Nobody said it would be an easy life, but walk with Jesus through it. He’ll be there for you.