The Word for today:
Micah 1 and 2
Mark this: Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Did you ever notice that God is a real nick-namer? He often gave names to people–names that captured their essence.
He renamed a guy named “Jacob” (which means “heel grabber” or “deceiver”–probably both) to “Israel” (which means “God’s fighter” or “he struggles with God”–probably both).
He renamed the notoriously unstable “Simon,” calling him “Peter” instead–a nickname that would translate today to “Rocky.” At the time it was like nicknaming a fat guy “Slim,” or a bald guy “Curly.” But Peter would live up to it, becoming a pillar of strength for the early church!
The gospel writer John, the “love disciple,” didn’t start out that way. When some people rejected Jesus, John and his brother James asked Jesus if they should call fire down from heaven to destroy them! Jesus, with a wink (I think) nick-named them “Sons of Thunder” on the spot. (1)
The essence of my teaching is that Jesus is “bigger.” (How big? “Bigger!”)
It’s an infinite word for an infinite God. He’s bigger than me, bigger than sin, bigger than death, bigger than our problems, and — literally — bigger than the cosmos he created. So I hope that God’s nickname for me would reflect my ministry of magnification.
That’s why I envy Micah — because his name does reflect the core of his teaching, which is captured in these verses:
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
The key to this book can be found in the meaning of the prophet’s name. In Hebrew, Micah means “Who is like God?” or “Who is like Jehovah?”
So “Micah” was most likely a nickname given to this prophet because his message was characterized by the ringing question, “Micah? Micah?”
In the New Testament, Jesus had a cousin whose first name was John. But his last name wasn’t “Baptist” or “Baptizer!” That was a name given to him by (I suspect) his cousin. He was nicknamed the Baptizer because, well, that’s who he was!
I hope you take a second to step outside yourself long enough to wonder what nickname your life is forming. Nicknames tend to stick, so let’s make it a good one.
(1) see Mark 3:17 and Luke 9:54; cf. Mark 9:38