Micah 7 brings the prophet’s message to a close in an intensely personal way. You will remember that Micah ministered during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Hezekiah, in particular, had implemented widespread reforms for Judah, yet, as we read Micah, we discover that those reforms were largely external. While temple worship was restored and lavish sacrifices were being offered, there was a lack of justice, mercy, and humility displayed within the nation (6:6–8). Chapter 7 appears to be Micah’s personal lament over the continued rebellion of God’s people.

Micah displays deep disappointment at the wickedness of Israel and Judah (v. 1), mourns the loss of righteousness in God’s people (v. 2), confesses the nation’s sins (vv. 8–9), and intercedes for God’s grace and deliverance (v. 14). On the surface, there seemed little hope that his preaching would produce repentance. Judgement was inevitable and hope of repentance seemed a pipe dream to the righteous prophet. But in the midst of his pessimism, he found cause for hope.

Speaking on behalf of the nation, Micah boldly declared, “I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgement for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication” (v. 8). When there appeared to be no hope of repentance and forgiveness, Micah looked to Yahweh, who would himself plead the cause of his people and execute judgement for them.

Is this not a glorious picture of the gospel? It is when we were without hope—when we were dead in trespasses and sins—that the Lord Jesus pleaded our cause for us. He pleaded our cause by taking on human flesh. He pleaded our cause by living a sinless life. He pleaded our cause by dying a sacrificial death on our behalf. He pleaded our cause by rising victorious from the dead. He pleaded our cause when he ascended to the right hand of his Father, where he daily pleads our cause from his heavenly throne. We have hope in our hopelessness because he pleaded our cause and took upon himself the judgement that our sins deserved. We look on his vindication every Lord’s Day when we gather to remember his resurrection.

This is the truth that filled Micah with hope when there appeared to be no reason for hope. Because he knew that God would himself plead the cause of his people, he could write,

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

(Micah 7:18–20)

Because God, in Christ, pleaded the cause of his people, he can justly pardon iniquity and pass over transgression. Because his anger was poured out on Christ, his anger need not be displayed against us forever. Because Christ delighted to do his will, he can delight in steadfast love. We can rejoice in hope that he will have compassion on us and will tread our iniquities underfoot. We can exult that, in Christ, he casts our sins into the depths of the sea, where they are remembered no more. In Christ, God shows faithfulness to all the sons and daughters of Abraham, as he promised from the days of old.

Reading the Minor Prophets can sometimes be an almost depressing reality. For the most part, the message of the Minor Prophets is one of doom and gloom. Most of the prophets warn of certain judgement to come because God’s people forsook covenant obligations. Reading about God’s judgement and Israel’s punishment is not always the most uplifting of experiences. But in the midst of the warnings of judgement, we find glorious glimpses of gospel hope, which point us to the free grace of God available in and through Christ. Micah 7 is a case in point.

As you meditate on Micah 7 this morning, thank God that, in Christ, he pleads your case. Because of that, your iniquities can be pardoned, your transgressions passed over, and your sins cast into the depths of the sea.