This is how the final chapter of the prophecy Micah begins, ‘Woe is me’! Much of this chapter, as with his previous chapters, pictures the lawless attitudes surrounding the prophet.
His words of lament could just about describe life as it is becoming today around many of us. “The godly has perished from the earth,” he writes, and “there is no one upright … put no trust in a neighbour; and have no confidence in a friend”[v.2,5]. Family life in Israel had broken down, “the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother” [v.6]. It was similar in the previous chapter, the “inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.” [6 v.9]
However – and this is remarkable, as with all the so-called smaller prophets we have been reading in recent weeks, the final message God gives through them ends with a triumphant picture of ultimate blessing. This must have been a great source of encouragement to each prophet – as it is to all those today who make sure they spend some of their time reading and reflecting on these God-inspired messages.
Micah says, “But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me” [v.7]. That is the power of a positive faith, this is the spirit we need and may need more and more, especially if we feel overwhelmed by events and we are tempted to cry, “Woe is me”.
The last verses indicate final blessings for God’s people, blessing for those who maintain their faith and also those who have sought repentance after failure. “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance … he will again have compassion on us” [v.18,19]
May he have compassion on us too – for no one is perfect but if we, with Micah, will “wait for the God of my salvation”, we can say with Micah, “my God will hear me.”