Who is a God Like You? (Micah 7:18-20)
We need to be grateful that God is such a great forgiver. Sin affects every human (1 Jn. 1:10). Sin leads to death (Ez. 18:4).
Speaking of forgiveness, Micah asks the rhetorical question, “Who is a God like you?” The obvious answer is “No one”–There is no god like our God.
The pagans would often ask this same question of their deities. They would ascribe one god great power and claim that this deity is superior to all their other deities.
The Israelites, too, liked to ask this question of God. They knew that there isn’t any God like our God. When they would ask the question, they would often do so in the context of God’s using his power over nature or history. When God led the Israelites through the Red Sea, Moses asked this question (Ex. 15:11). When recounting God’s wonderful works, Asaph asked this question (Ps. 77:13).
Micah now asks this question in relation to God’s power. Micah’s point is that the same power God uses to work wonders and intervene in history is the same power he uses to forgive sins. Let’s examine how God’s forgiveness is incomparable.
These verses are read by Jews on the Day of Atonement. On that day, these verses serve as a reminder that God will atone for sin. Let us remember that God will atone for sin.
God Forgives Sin, v 18
God pardons iniquity and passes over transgression. To pardon iniquity carries the idea of taking away guilt. Passing over transgression refers to covering it over, not inflicting punishment because of it.
The message here is that God forgives sin. When Micah wrote, the sins of Judah and Israel were great.
- The people were idolatrous (1:7).
- The people were greedy and oppressive (2:2).
- The people hated good and loved evil (3:2).
Because of these sins, God would send Israel and Judah into captivity. Yet, the message here is one of hope–God forgives sins. Colossians 2:13. 1 John 2:12.
God forgives sin for his remnant. “Remnant” refers to those who are faithful who survive God’s judgment. The idea of “remnant” is that these are the few who are truly dedicated to God. The meaning here is that God only forgives those who are faithful.
God continues to forgive sins for the faithful. God forgives those who have entered into the new covenant (Heb. 10:16-17). If we walk in the light, Jesus’ blood cleanses us of sin (1 Jn. 1:7).
Has God forgiven your sins?
God Does Not Retain His Anger Forever, v 18
Although God is slow to anger (Ex. 34:6), God does become angry.
Micah speaks much of God’s anger. God’s anger makes the mountains melt and the valleys split like wax (1:4). The Lord was devising disaster against his people (2:3).
Yet, God does not retain his anger forever. Sin causes God to be angry (Rom. 1:18). God turns away from anger. When the Aaron made the golden calf for the Israelites, God’s wrath burned hot against the Israelites (Ex. 32:10). Yet, Moses interceded for the people, and God turned away from his anger (Ex. 32:11-14).
God turns from his anger, for he delights in mercy. “Mercy” here represents that love which loves no matter what. Therefore, because God loves us, he will turn away from his anger (Ps. 30:5).
Has God turned from his anger against your sins?
God Will Subdue Our Sins, v 19
God will again have compassion upon his people and subdue their sins. Throughout this book, God announced judgment upon his people. He announced that Samaria would be a heap of ruins (1:6). He announced that Judah would go into Babylon (4:9-10).
Yet, God would again have compassion on his people. The Babylonian exiles would return. “Compassion” has an interesting usage. The root word comes from “womb” and conveys the love a mother has for her child. The term denotes the mercies a stronger person feels for a weaker. “Compassion” is the mercy God has for his children because they are weaker than he.
God would subdue their iniquities. “Subdue” is used to denote the conquering of an enemy in battle. God will conquer our sins.
God will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. This is an allusion to the Egyptians being overcome in the Red Sea. The Egyptians threatened to overtake the Israelites and destroy them, yet God buried them so that they could not destroy them. In the same way, God will bury our sins so that they do not destroy us.
“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12).
Because God will remove our sins from us, God no longer remembers our sins. Our lawless deeds he will remember no more (Heb. 10:17).
Has God subdued your sins?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.