7 Woe is me! For I have become
like the gatherings of summer,
like the gleanings of the grape harvest,
when there is no cluster of grapes to eat
or early ripened fruit that my soul desires.
and there is none who is upright among humankind.
All of them lie in wait for blood;
each hunts his brother with a net.
the official and the judge ask for the bribe,
and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul;
and they weave it together.
the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.
The day of your watchman, your punishment, has come;
now their confusion will come.
put no trust in a close friend.
Guard the doorways of your mouth
from the one who lies in your lap.
a daughter rises up against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
the enemies of a man are the men of his own house.
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
When I fall I will stand up;
when I sit in darkness
Yahweh will be a light for me.
for I have sinned against him,
until he pleads my cause
and executes my justice.
He will bring me out to the light;
I will see his righteousness.
and shame will cover her who said to me,
“Where is Yahweh your God?”
My eyes will look upon her;
now she will become a trampling place,
like mud in the streets.
on that day he will extend your boundary.
from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
and from Egypt to the River,
and from sea to sea
and mountain to mountain.
because of its inhabitants,
for the fruit of their deeds.
the flock of your inheritance,
those dwelling alone in a forest
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old.
from the land of Egypt
I will show him wondrous things.
because of all their might.
They will lay the hand on the mouth;
their ears will be deaf.
like the crawling things of the earth.
They will come trembling from their strongholds
to Yahweh our God.
Let them fear and be afraid of you.
and passing over rebellion for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
for he delights in loyal love.
he will trample our iniquities.
And you will hurl all their sins
in the depths of the sea.
and loyal love to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our ancestors
from the days of old.
22 Then it seemed best to the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, to send men chosen from among them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas who was called Barsabbas and Silas, men who were leaders among the brothers—23 writing this letter to be delivered by them :
The apostles and the elders, brothers.
To the brothers who are from among the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
24 Because we have heard that some have gone out from among us—to whom we gave no orders—and have thrown you into confusion by words upsetting your minds ,25 it seemed best to us, having reached a unanimous decision ,and having chosen men, to send them to you together with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives on behalf of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, and they will report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us to place on you no greater burden except these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from food sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these things you will do well.
30 So when they were sent off, they came down to Antioch, and after calling together the community, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they read it aloud, they rejoiced at the encouragement. 32 Both Judas and Silas, who were also prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers by a long message. 33 And after spending some time, they were sent away in peace from the brothers to those who had sent them.35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch teaching and proclaiming the word of the Lord with many others also.
36 And after some days, Paul said to Barnabas, “Come then,let us return and visit the brothers in every town in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take John who was called Mark along also, 38 but Paul held the opinion they should not take this one along, who departed from them in Pamphylia and did not accompany them in the work. 39 And a sharp disagreement took place, so that they separated from one another. And Barnabas took along Mark and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers. 41 And he traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
16 And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman but of a Greek father, 2 who was well spoken of by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted this one to go with him, and he took himand circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was Greek. 4 And as they went through the towns, they passed on to them to observe the rules that had been decided by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith and were growing in number every day.
24 “Why are not times kept by Shaddai,
and why do not those who know him see his days?
they seize flocks, and they pasture them.
they take the widow’s ox as a pledge.
the needy of the earth hide themselves together.
they go out to their labor as searchers for the prey;
the wilderness is their food for the young.
and they glean in the vineyard of the wicked.
and they have no garment in the cold.
and they cling to the rock without refuge.
and they take a pledge against the needy.
and hungry, they carry the sheaves.
they tread the presses, but they are thirsty.
How should we respond when those around us seem to be not only falling short of the glory of God, but actually abandoning God’s work? What should we do when we witness neighbors or friends tolerating or even justifying acts of injustice, oppression, greed, or idolatry? We live in such a time. So did the prophet Micah:
“Woe is me! For I have become like the gatherings of summer, like the gleanings of the grape harvest, when there is no cluster of grapes to eat or early ripened fruit that my soul desires. The faithful person has perished from the land, and there is none who is upright among humankind. All of them lie in wait; each hunts his brother with a net. Their hands are upon evil, to do it well; the official and the judge ask for the bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; and they weave it together” (Mic 7:1–3).
Micah did what should be done—he spoke up; he told the truth. When we find ourselves in evil times among evil people, we must do the same. God may be calling us to be a voice crying in the wilderness (John 1:19–25; compare Isa 40:3). By boldly proclaiming the truth, we may make a way for others to come back to God.
Much of the world is corrupt, and it is our job as Christians to fight such corruption, to stand above it, and to help others find the better way—God’s way. The brokenness of our world is not simple. How many people are led astray unconsciously? How often does money or power trump the rights of the vulnerable? Do we recognize injustice when we see it? Do we have the courage to speak up, even when it hurts?
Micah provides an example here, too. Although he spoke vividly about God’s coming judgment on Samaria, he also told us where we would find the Savior who would heal our brokenness once and for all—in Bethlehem.
How are you standing against the evils of our age?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.