The prophet, having sadly complained of the wickedness of the times he lived in, here fastens upon some considerations for the comfort of himself and his friends, in reference thereunto. The case is bad, but it is not desperate. Yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.
I. “Though God be now displeased he shall be reconciled to us, and then all will be well, Mic. 7:7, 9. We are now under the indignation of the Lord; God is angry with us, and justly, because we have sinned against him.” Note, It is our sin against God that provokes his indignation against us; and we must see it, and own it, whenever we are under divine rebukes, that we may justify God, and may study to answer his end in afflicting us, by repenting of sin and breaking off from it. Now, at such a time, 1. We must have recourse to God under our troubles (Mic. 7:7): Therefore I will look unto the Lord. When a child of God has ever so much occasion to cry, Woe is me (as the prophet here, Mic. 7:1), yet it may be a comfort to him that he has a God to look to, a God to come to, to fly to, in whom he may rejoice and have satisfaction. All may look bright above him when all looks black and dark about him. The prophet had been complaining that there was no comfort to be had, no confidence to be put, in friends and relations on earth, and this drives him to his God: Therefore I will look unto the Lord. The less reason we have to delight in any creature the more reason we have to delight in God. If princes are not to be trusted, we may say, Happy is the man that has the God of Jacob for his help, and happy am I, even in the midst of my present woes, if he be my help. If men be false, this is our comfort, that God is faithful; if relations be unkind, he is and will be gracious. Let us therefore look above and beyond them, and overlook our disappointment in them, and look unto the Lord. 2. We must submit to the will of God in our troubles: “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, will bear it patiently, without murmuring and repining, because I have sinned against him.” Note, Those that are truly penitent for sin will see a great deal of reason to be patient under affliction. Wherefore should a man complain for the punishment of his sin? When we complain to God of the badness of the times we ought to complain against ourselves for the badness of our own hearts. 3. We must depend upon God to work deliverance for us, and put a good issue to our troubles in due time; we must not only look to him, but look for him: “I will wait for the God of my salvation, and for his gracious returns to me.” In our greatest distresses we shall see no reason to despair of salvation if by faith we eye God as the God of our salvation, who is able to save the weakest upon their humble petition, and willing to save the worst upon their true repentance. And, if we depend on God as the God of our salvation, we must wait for him, and for his salvation, in his own way and his own time. Let us now see what the church is here taught to expect and promise herself from God, even when things are brought to the last extremity. (1.) My God will hear me; if the Lord be our God, he will hear our prayers, and grant an answer of peace to them. (2.) “When I fall, and am in danger of being dashed in pieces by the fall, yet I shall arise, and recover myself again. I fall, but am not utterly cast down,” Ps. 37:24. (3.) “When I sit in darkness, desolate and disconsolate, melancholy and perplexed, and not knowing what to do, nor which way to look for relief, yet then the Lord shall be a light to me, to comfort and revive me, to instruct and teach me, to direct and guide me, as a light to my eyes, a light to my feet, a light in a dark place.” (4.) He will plead my cause, and execute judgment for me, Mic. 7:9. If we heartily espouse the cause of God, the just but injured cause of religion and virtue, and make it our cause, we may hope he will own our cause, and plead it. The church’s cause, though it seem for a time to go against her, will at length be pleaded with jealousy, and judgment not only given against, but executed upon, the enemies of it. (5.) “He will bring me forth to the light, make me shine eminently out of obscurity, and become conspicuous, will make my righteousness shine evidently from under the dark cloud of calumny, Ps. 37:6; Isa. 58:10. The morning of comfort shall shine forth out of the long and dark night of trouble.” (6.) “I shall behold his righteousness; I shall see the equity of his proceedings concerning me and the performance of his promises to me.”
II. Though enemies triumph and insult, they shall be silenced and put to shame, Mic. 7:8, 10. Observe here,
1. How proudly the enemies of God’s people trample upon them in their distress. They said, Where is the Lord their God? As if because they were afflicted God had forsaken them, and they knew not where to find him with their prayers, and he knew not how to help them with his favours. This David’s enemies said to him, and it was a sword in his bones, Ps. 42:10; and see Ps. 115:2. Thus, in reproaching Israel as an abandoned people, they reflected on the God of Israel as an unkind unfaithful God.
2. How comfortably the people of God by faith bear up themselves under these insults (Mic. 7:8): “Rejoice not against me, O my enemy! I am now down, but shall not be always so, and when my God appears for me then she that is my enemy shall see it, and be ashamed” (not only being disappointed in her expectations of the church’s utter ruin, but having the same cup of trembling put into her hand), “then my eyes shall behold her in the same deplorable condition that I am now in; now shall she be trodden down.” Note, The deliverance of the church will be the confusion of her enemies; and their shame shall be double, when, as they have trampled upon God’s people, so they shall themselves be trampled upon.
III. Though the land continue a great while desolate, yet it shall at length be replenished again, when the time, even the set time, of its deliverance comes. 1. Its salvation shall not come till after it has been desolate; so the margin reads it, Mic. 7:13. God has a controversy with the land, and it must lie long under his rebukes, because of those that dwell therein; it is their iniquity that makes their land desolate (Ps. 107:34); it is for the fruit of their doings, their evil doings which they have been themselves guilty of, and the evil fruit of them, the sins of others, which they have been accessory to by their bad influence and example. For this they must expect to smart a great while; for the world shall know that God hates sin even in his own people. 2. When it does come it shall be a complete salvation; and it seems to refer to their deliverance out of Babylon by Cyrus, which Isaiah about this time prophesied of, as a type of our redemption by Christ. (1.) The decree shall be far removed. God’s decree concerning their captivity, and Nebuchadnezzar’s decree concerning the perpetuity of it, his resolution never to release them, “these shall be set aside and revoked, and you shall hear no more of them; they shall no more lie as a yoke upon thy neck.” (2.) Jerusalem and the cities of Judah shall be again reared: Then thy walls shall be built, walls for habitation, walls for defence, house-walls, town-walls, temple-walls; it is in order to these that the decree is repealed, Isa. 44:28. Though Zion’s walls may lie long in ruins, there will come a day when they shall be repaired. (3.) All that belong to the land of Israel, whithersoever dispersed, and howsoever distressed, far and wide over the face of the whole earth, shall come flocking to it again (Mic. 7:12): He shall come even to thee, having liberty to return and a heart to return, from Assyria, whither the ten tribes were carried away, though it lay remote, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress, those strongholds in which they thought they had them fast; for when God’s time comes, though Pharaoh will not let the people go, God will fetch them out with a high hand. They shall come from all the remote parts, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain, not turning back for fear of your discouragements, but they shall go from strength to strength till they come to Zion. Thus in the great day of redemption God will gather his elect from the four winds.