Friday, July 10, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 12, 2015

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NO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPT LEADERSHIP
(GOD’s justice cleans out corruption)
(Micah 3)

In Micah chapter three the prophet delivers three oracles, or prophesies, to the rebellious leaders of Israel. Like Isaiah and Amos, who prophesied alongside him in that same era, Micah knew, saw, and experienced the underlying moral and spiritual decay that had corroded, and eroded, the very foundation of a once-faithful GOD fearing society.
Little is known about Micah, other than the fact that he lived and prophesied in the eighth century B.C. during the reigns of kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, however his resounding book contains a total of three messages, or warnings for the wayward children of Israel, and, for the Christian community today. They come to us from across the spans of time, regarding theirs, and our corrupt leadership in the church, and, in the Christian community at large (Micah 1:2-2:13, Micah 3-5, and Micah 6-7).
The name “Micah” is short for “Micaiah” and it means, in the Hebrew, “Who is like Yahweh?” The name stood as an eerie reminder to Israel, and, to us, who seemed to have forgotten where their blessings came from. Just like in all other prophetic messages, here GOD is reminding the people of their abandonment of the Mosaic Laws that were intended to hold man to the lofty standards of “moral and spiritual behavior” that is commanded by GOD.
GOD made us in HIS OWN “image” (“tselem”) (Genesis 1:26-27), which means we are HIS “figurative representatives” here on earth”, and so we are to act accordingly. The word “image” (tselem) does not mean that we look like GOD, GOD is Spirit (John 4:24), and therefore, does not have a physical image for us to look like. If we are to resemble GOD, then, the only way to do that is to act like HIM, or reflect the same human examples that CHRIST JESUS exhibited to us through HIS behavior while HE lived here on earth.   
As northern Israel and Judah continued to pursue and live out their worldly fantasies (acting like their earthly fathers), the ALMIGHTY GOD was hard at work building their enemy, Assyria, into a formidable world power. In time, HE would allow the great Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pileser III to gain control of the northern kingdom of Israel, and then use his son Shalmaneser to complete the conquest by laying siege on Samaria in 722 B.C.
Through Micah, the LORD had already denounced Israel’s oppression of its own people. HE had also denounced their pride, arrogance, greed, corruption, and religious hypocrisy (Micah chapters 1 and 2), and now here in chapter three, verses 1-4, we see GOD’s faithful prophet pointing out to the leadership, their special responsibility, because they, of all people, were supposed to know and recognize good from evil. However, through their actions, they had only shown a desire to disobey the edicts of GOD by embracing evil, and rejecting that which is good, the total opposite of a people who were to represent GOD, here on earth.
In this passage, Micah likens them to a pack of wild carnivores, who, thrive on the very flesh of their own kind, and then, in their time of need, they brazenly turn to GOD for HIS righteous support. He warns them that, not only will HE, not listen to them, HE, in fact, couldn’t even stand to look at them. They would now have to live with the consequences of their actions against GOD, and endure the judgment for the evil deeds perpetrated against their own brothers and sisters in the LORD.
In the Hebrew the word used most often for “peace” is “shalom” (shaw-lome) and it means more than just “the absence of war”. It is also expanded to include “the presence of health, wholeness, and security. In verse 5 the LORD says that false prophets promised a peace that they themselves could not possibly deliver. Only GOD, WHO controls all things, can deliver true peace. And while the false prophets lied to Israel about its “spiritual condition”, Micah spoke out boldly for justice, and continued to hold up the sins of the people to accountability under GOD.  
Even in today’s Church, false religious leaders who turn a blind eye to corruption in the Church, declaring the foolish demonic statement that “they can’t judge”, will be held accountable to GOD in the end, as being partially responsible for all sin in the Church, not just their own sin. GOD expects HIS Church leaders to use “diakrino judgment” toward HIS people, rebuking them for their bad behavior, using HIS Word as their standard for judgment, not their own opinions.
When Church leaders allow, and participate in, sinful behavior, especially in the Church, they show GOD plainly that they hate justice and twist all that is right (v.9). They build their churches on lies and deceit, and murder and corruption. They accept bribes from wealthy members who want to get their demonic agenda across, and they teach only because they’re getting paid to do so. And then finally, despite their incorrect teachings, which they are paid to do, they boldly proclaim that they are working for the LORD, and that no harm will come to them. They have actually learned to deceive so well, that they have actually deceived themselves into thinking that GOD is actually with them in their satanic actions (Vs.10-11).
If the Church doesn’t get things right with GOD, and begin to “seal up the spiritual cracks” that dominate the ceilings of our so-called Christian Churches, HE says, that HE will plow them under and reduce them to rubble. And if you don’t believe it, we can take a trip down memory lane to, first, Shiloh (1 Samuel 4), then the temple that Solomon built (586 B.C.), then the temple that Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel built, then to the temple that Herod the Great built, without instructions, or permission from GOD (A.D. 70).
If the history of the bible tells us anything, it tells us that GOD will not hesitate to tear down a religious system gone bad, and start all over again using fresh new people who have a proven heart for HIM, and desire very badly to do things HIS way, not theirs. GOD’s justice will always clean out corruption in the Church, and HE has absolutely no tolerance, for corrupt leadership in any church that calls itself by HIS name, and in today’s society, that name is of course, “Christian”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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