“The faithful have disappeared from the land and there is no one left who is upright; they all lie in wait for blood, and they hunt each other with nets. Their hands are skilled to do evil; the official and the judge ask for a bribe; and the powerful dictate what they desire; thus they pervert justice…But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:2-3,7).
Micah’s words strike an inflammatory note at first glance, especially on an evening when protesters march and push police cars on American streets decrying what they perceive as a miscarriage of justice. Micah, Isaiah, and other Old Testament prophets proclaim a consistent condemnation of both dishonest businessmen and corrupt government officials. They also expose those who seek to profit through theft and violence as opponents of God’s faithful. Undergirding both aspects of their message is trust that God, not humanity, will avenge. The people of God seek justice, but respect authority. Violence will not produce peace; cursing will not evoke a response of love.
Micah clearly plans to “call for fire” to God; he will pray to the one who wears the cloak of vengeance as part of his armor. He will trust in God’s power to save. Micah trusts that God will hear his call. Micah does not portray physical weapons as the logical response of the faithful follower of God. These words of Micah follow closely another verse which speaks to the follower of God in times of unrest:
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
O God of justice,
We pray for peace where people cry out against perceived injustice. We pray for wisdom and patience where revealing of evidence has been promised. We pray for safety for an exonerated officer and his family. We pray for consolation for another family who lost a son. Turn the hearts of the angry, both those who seek revenge, and those who yearn to lash out against them, to yourself in repentance for their lust for violence. We pray for justice, for peace, and for a society where people trust one another. In Jesus’ name, Amen