Fault Lines in America
- What is a “Fault line?” It is a noun – a line on a rock surface or the ground that traces a geological fault. 2. a divisive issue or difference of opinion that is likely to have serious consequences.
- According to a website (worldatlas.com) Fault lines represent fracture lines on the surface of the Earth where rocks on either side of the crack have exhibited mechanical movements to release accumulated strain. The resulting fault planes represent the fracture surfaces of a fault. Fault lines vary significantly in their lengths and widths, and can be as thin as a hair, barely visible to the naked eye, or can be hundreds of miles long and even visible from outer space, such as in the cases of the Anatolian Fault in Turkey and the San Andreas Fault in the U.S. state of California.
- In reading the rest of the article on “fault lines,” I understand that rocks in the Earth’s crust are highly rigid. Frictional forces acting between the rocky surfaces hinder their movement, keeping the Earth’s crust stable. When rigidity and frictional forces completely force all movements in the crust to stop, stress builds up in the rocks, leading to a build-up of potential energy in the crust. When this potential energy exceeds a threshold level, the energy is released in the form of a sudden movement of these rocks, which is usually concentrated along a specific plane on the Earth’s crust, namely the faults.
- My point today and thus the title is this… I believe that our country is full of spiritual fault lines waiting for an earthquake (God’s judgment) to happen.
- In Micah 3, the prophet is concerned about something. He wants his nation to know that the God they serve is A God of love, A God of mercy, A God of grace, and most certainly A God of judgment.
- Yes, God’s love towards us is a non conditional love. Yes, His mercy is way more than we deserve. Yes, God’s grace is given when it shouldn’t be.
- But more importantly, We need to understand that God’s judgment for sin and transgression (rebellion) is sure, and coming to unrepentant people.
- Is God’s patience exhausted? I wonder. If it is not now, when will it be.
- God hates sin, and sin must always be judged. His holiness demands that.
- If you are saved today you are being judged daily for your sins. But ultimately, our sins that send us to hell are paid for when the judgment comes because we have accepted Christ as our Lord (the Lord of our lives) and He paid for our sins over 2016 years ago.
- Micah 3:12talks about a nation being “plowed as a field,” a metaphor for judgment.
- No nation was as pure in its inception as the nation Israel— by God Himself in Genesis 12. And yet even Israel went corrupt, and the vast majority of the people were ignorant or indifferent concerning that corruption.
- For this reason the prophets of judgment came along, like Micah, and Jeremiah calling the people to repentance, and making the people aware that the God who would rather bless a nation will curse a nation if the nation forces Him to do so by rebellion.
I. Fault Line Number One- Corrupt Politicians
A) Requirements for leaders
- 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; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; 3) Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
- Reading these verses is like watching NBC’s Tom Brokaw on the nightly news doing a weekly segment called “The Fleecing of America.” It highlighted the price Americans pay at the hands of leadership gone bad.
- God has “..ordained the powers that be.” according to Romans 13:1, but God also has six requirements for government.
- Solomon being one of the wisest kings ever wrote in Proverbs these six requirements for government leaders…
- Righteousness– 29:2…When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. (Proverbs 16:12) TODAY, we are looking for the right credentials and skills for a leader and not righteousness.
- Wisdom– Proverbs 8: 12…I Wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. 13) The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 14) Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. 15) By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. 16) By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
- Honesty– Proverbs 17:7…Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince. Fools and liars are brothers. Leaders should not lie.
- Separation from bad influences– Proverbs 25:4…Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. 5) Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness. A leader must focus on what is right, not just public opinion or lobbying pressures.
- Personal Purity– Proverbs 31:3…Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. 4) It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5) Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
- Protection of the weak and the defenseless– Proverbs 31:8…Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. 9) Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
A leader is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and defend those who cannot defend themselves. (like the unborn aborted babies,
- When Micah warns the people that God is about to judge, he points first at the corrupt politicians, and says, “It’s your fault.” Repent or face the judgment of God.
- Please take note of Micah’s message here in our text of Micah 3:1-4…
B) Pay attention leaders
- 1) And I said, Hear (listen up), pay attention), I pray you,
- And who is he addressing here? Who is he wanting to pay attention? “..O heads of Jacob, (Kings and queens) and ye princes
- Other officials that are leaders of God’s children) of the house of Israel;
- “Heads” and “princes” are the “politicians” of that day. They were corrupt and Micah’s duty was to expose them and the truth.
C) To know and have good judgment
- Verse 1b… “Is it not for you to know judgment?”
- In other words, Micah is asking them… “Isn’t it your civic duty to judge people correctly and honestly?
- 2) Who hate the good, and love the evil;
- Micah gets to the heart of the problem now. He now reveals their true character that God has informed him of… They hate good, and love evil.
- “..who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;” What Micah is saying in this part of the verse is that the way the Kings are treating the poor is like the butchering of animals. Note as he continues to make his point in verse 3…Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.”
- This reminds me of our government of today who seemingly help the rich get richer, and the poor more poor.
D) God turns a deaf ear
- Now look at verse 4) Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
- When the snowball starts headed down hill, it is very hard to stop, and many times next to impossible.
- Once God’s judgment starts to be put into motion, you must accept the judgment and know that He is a God of His word.
- There will come a point when God “Turns a deaf ear” to their prayers. This is an idiom of hearing people meaning… “He will not hear you (your prayers).
- Why does God not hear their cry for help? “…as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.” In other words… “because they have behaved badly in everything they do and show no remorse, no conviction, nor do they even care for the way they treat others.
- Verses 1-4, Micah is preaching right down the throats of the leaders, but in the following verses he starts preaching to the pastors, and leaders of God’s people.
- Yes it is bad when men that God puts into office turn sour and start to ruin the whole basket of apples, but when His supposedly “men of God,” and spiritual leaders go astray… This is a bigger problem.
II. Fault Line Number Two – Compromising Preachers
- Look to Micah 3, and verse 5…Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
- Now we see Micah’s 2nd part of the message to Israel. Micah focuses on the false prophets who are misleading the people.
- The prophets preached “peace” when they were fed, and they preached “war” when they were not fed.
- Like the corrupt rulers, the prophets had become motivated by greed.
- The word “compromise” means… 1. An settlement of a dispute that is settled by each side making concessions. To accept standards that are lower than desirable.
- There are many preachers who are accepting lower standards and compromising the pulpit to a degree that Micah had seen here in chapter 5.
- Their sermons are built around profiting themselves and not around the profit of the people of God and their spiritual growth.
- Yes, pastors are to preach on tithing, helping the pastor, supporting the pastor, and seeing to it that his needs are met. But a pastor is not allowed by God to force his parishioners to do it by the way he preaches or commands.
- All giving of money and works are to be done “willingly,” not forcibly.
III. Fault Line Number Three – Complacent People
A) Micah Say’s that God validates his message
- Look at verse 8…But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
- He has the power of God through the Holy Spirit to preach with conviction and to cause others to be convicted of the same.
- What is the basis of His message? The same as ours… “Fault lines.” What was their problem according to God?
- Their “transgression” of the Law, their rebellion!
- Their “sin,” disobedience to the Law of God.
- Once again Micah addresses the rulers… it causes me to wonder if maybe they were not paying Micah any attention, 9) Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. 10) They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
- Now Micah brings more of their sins to the forefront….
- “Abhor judgment” in other words… “They hate to deliver punishment.” Is this like America today, where the guilty are set free and the innocent are imprisoned?
- “Pervert all equity” They pervert or twist the way they are supposed to treat other people.
- Note now verse 11…The heads thereof judge for reward, The kings, presidents, and police officers, judges, etc are taking bribes.
- “..and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money:” Micah brings up this sin of the clergy that is often misinterpreted. Many may say… “See there Bro. Ron, it is a sin to take money for your work in the church as a pastor.” Well, nothing could be further from the truth. What Micah is saying here is that they “sole (only)” purpose for preaching the word of God was for monetary gain. They didn’t do it out of God’s calling, or leading of the Holy Spirit of God, nor did they do it for the members of their congregation to be benefited by it.
- Their only goal was “MONEY.”
- And lastly, verse 12…Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
- This is the doom of those who continue to be complacent. (satisfied with the way things are…no improvement, just luke-warm Christians.
- II Chronicles 7:14: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
- Our nation, it’s leaders, the pastors of churches, and the fathers of the homes are in grave danger today of the judgment of God upon them.