Micah 2. Greed Backfires. The Remnant Survives.
Key Notes: Cruelty in real estate. The Remnant.
The material in chapter 2 is not consecutive, so this outline compiles texts with a common theme.
2:1–2 The plan to take over property--fields, houses and inheritances--is a full-time job, so that people connive even at night.
2:8–9 The greedy were enemies of their own people. They would snatch the robe from a northern refugee, and drive women and children out of their homes.
From these two passages we observe that the poor were not the only victims of greed, as is usually the case, but the powerful attacked the middle class who owned houses and fields, people with inheritances. They were being disadvantaged by the rich.
And it was "because it was in the power of their hand" (2:1). "It's legal, isn't it?" as we would say.
2:3–5 The penalty for greed is poetic: one day the enemies of Israel would taunt them with their own words:
"We are utterly ruined;
He changes the portion of my people.
How He removes it from me!
Among the rebellious He divides our fields."
Moreover, they have come to the point of no return. In the future, no advocate will stand in for them in the redistribution of the land. "...you will have none to cast the line by lot in the assembly of the Lord." (Mic.2:5). They are going to lose their land.
2:10 And they are being driven out without a place to rest, their pollution having destroyed the land.
2:6 People did not like Micah's kind of preaching.
2:11 But if one preaches on wine and beer, that would be appreciated.
2:7 The Spirit of God has been patient and these outcomes were His doing. The word of God does good to the upright.
2:12–13 In the future, God will re-gather the remnant like sheep in a fold, a noisy multitude. Their king will break out before them, and lead them, JHWH at their head. This is a Messianic reference. Micah introduces The Remnant here for the first time, but the elaboration is in Isaiah and beyond.
The Doctrine of the Remnant.
1. Israel will be decimated by Assyria and Babylon.
•"If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom and ...Gomorrah." Isa.1:9
•"And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, 'We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.'" Isa.4:1 Men will be scarce.
•"How long, O Lord? And he said: 'until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without men and the land is utterly desolate, and the Lord removes men far away.'" Isa.6:11–12.
2. But a remnant will return.
•"For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness." Isa.10:22
3. The first returnees after the Babylonian exile were called "the Remnant" by the prophet Haggai. Hag.1:12
4. The remnant will eventually be restored and purified.
"In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning." Isa.4:2–4
"And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant which is left of his people as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt." Isa.11:16
"Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord....And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations...like a lion among the beasts of the forests." Mic.5:7,8
"Who is a God like thee, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance." Mic.7:18
5.Christ is the central person of the remnant. He was not just a root out of dry ground, i.e. from an unpromising background, but the root or stump--all that is left of Israel. He is "a shoot from the stump of Jesse". Isa.11:1
•"Though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains standing when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump." Isa.6:13
6.Paul explains Israel's apostasy and salvation using the concept of the Remnant. He says that within biological Israel, there is a remnant who are the children of God.
•...not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants....This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants. " Rom.9:6–7
•”Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved....” Rom.9:27
7. Finally, Paul says the decimation of Israel was for the advantage of the Gentiles. Ultimately all Israel will be saved.
• “...a hardening has come upon part of Israel until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved. Rom.11:25.
The remnant concept probably applies today. When Barna finds "born-again" people who think Jesus was a sinner like anyone else, or who consult mediums or who think sex before marriage is OK, we must remember that
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matt.7:21.
What fraction of the Church is the Remnant that belongs to Christ?