Sermon #13 Micah Series
Title: No King, No Counselor and
A Helpless Spirit
Text: Micah 2:7 and 4:9
Subject: The Incarnation and Birth of Christ
Date: Tuesday Evening — January 3, 2012
Tape: Micah #13
Readings: Allen Kibby and Rex Bartley
No King, No Counselor and A Helpless Spirit — Those words pretty well describe the professed church of this age. With regard to most religious people, though they have a god, their god is king over nothing. Though they use the name “Jesus” like a good luck charm, the Jesus they worship is not a counselor they trust. When they need a counselor they go talk to their preacher, or their priest, or their shrink. Though they profess to live in the spirit, walk in the spirit, and profess to be led by the spirit, the spirit they talk about is powerless, helpless and useless.
Sad as those facts are here is a fact that is far, far sadder. — God’s true church, those who truly are God’s people often act as if we had No King, No Counselor and A Helpless Spirit.
Š How we fret and worry, as though our God were not King!
Š How we murmur and complain, as if Christ were not our Counselor!
Š How full of care and fear we are, as if the Spirit of God were helpless and straitened!
That was exactly the state the church of God was in in Micah’s day, fretting and worrying, murmuring and complaining, bowed down under the weight of care and fear. As Micah exposed, rebuked and reproved this great evil in God’s church in his day, I am here to expose, rebuke and reprove your unbelief and mine.
Proposition: If we trust the God of Glory, the one true and living God, if we believe God, we should be free of fear and free of care in this world.
The title of my message is — No King, No Counselor and A Helpless Spirit. Our texts will be Micah 2:7 and 4:9. Let’s begin in Micah 4:9. The Lord God had just promised his people great grace and sure salvation (Micah 4:1-8).
(Micah 4:1-8) “But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make [them] afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken [it]. 5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. 6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. 8 ¶ And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:1-8)
Though God himself had spoken these wonderful, full promises of grace and salvation, by the mouth of his servant Micah, though the Lord God made these great promises of revival and refreshing from the presence of the Lord, though it was God himself, ever faithful and ever true, who declared his great purpose of grace, the children of Israel were full of sorrow and heaviness.
Š They could not rejoice because they did not believe God.
Š They could not believe God because they judged God’s goodness and God’s intentions by their circumstances, not by his Word.
What a mistake! — How sad! — How dishonoring to our God! Yet, we are horribly guilty of this same evil. Are we not? How commonly we judge God’s goodness and his intentions by the things we see and experience! How often we judge God’s designs by our circumstances! And that is horribly evil! That is exactly the evil addressed in our texts.
(Micah 4:9) “Now why dost thou cry out aloud? [is there] no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.”
Back up to chapter 2, at verse 7, and you will see that this evil was a matter of constant concern to God’s prophet. It was something God’s church struggled with incessantly. And so it is to this day.
(Micah 2:7) “O [thou that art] named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? [are] these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?”
Divisions: Let’s look at these two verses of stern reproof line by line, asking God the Holy Spirit to teach us the lessons he has written for us in this portion of Holy Scripture.
1. There are many who are named the children of God who are not; let us be certain we are not among them.
2. The Spirit of God is not helpless; let us not behave as though he were.
3. Our God is King; and we ought to act like people who trust him.
4. Christ our Savior is our great Counselor; let us follow his counsel.
5. Our souls’ pangs and longings are the pains of birth; and the fruit will cause the pain to be forgotten.
First, let us be warned. — There are many who are named the children of God who are not; let us be certain we are not among them. — “O thou that art named the house of Jacob.”
Multitudes profess faith who have no faith. It is not for me to judge who does and who does not believe God; and it is not for you to do so. In fact, it is horribly evil for you and me to ever presume that we have the ability to make such a judgment, ever! We look only on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart. Our Lord Jesus has told us plainly and repeatedly that we cannot distinguish tares from wheat or goats from sheep. That is not our business. We are to receive any and all who profess to believe God without doubtful disputations (Romans 14:1).
Yet, we are to judge ourselves. This we are all loathe to do; but it must be done. If we will judge ourselves, we shall not be judged and condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:31; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Many who are called by the name of the house of Jacob are really of the house of Esau.
Š They have a name that they live, but are dead (Revelation 3:1).
Š They are called Jews and make their boast of God, but they are Jews outwardly, not inwardly (Romans 2:17).
Š You may have a form of religious knowledge and rest in your law works, and yet neither know God nor rest in Christ Romans 2:20).
Š Multitudes have a form of godliness who deny the power of it (2 Timothy 3:3).
An empty title will give empty comfort when the hand of death is on your brow. Old Dives called Abraham his father, Judas was called Christ’s friend and the Pharisees were called righteous by all who knew them; but they are all in hell. A name is nothing, if all you have is a name. Both Dan and Ephraim were named of the house of Jacob; but both are excluded from the roll of the twelve tribes of God’s elect in Revelation 7:4-8. — “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure!”
(2 Peter 1:3-11) “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
“5 ¶ And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-11)
Be sure that Christ is yours. Trust him. Oh, may God give you grace to trust him!
God the Spirit
Second, God the Holy Spirit is not helpless; let us not behave as though he were. — “Is the Spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?”
The word translated “straitened” in verse 7 means “shortened,” “discouraged,” “vexed,” “constrained” or “limited.” How often we act like the heathen around us, as if God the Spirit is helpless!
Š Has he no power to save?
Š Is he incapable of accomplishing his will?
Š Is he not able to do as he pleases?
You know better. — Don’t you?
I am talking about God, God the Holy Spirit, not some weepy, namby-pamby, insipid Pentecostal influence!
Š He is not straightened. He straightens!
Š He is not constrained. He constrains!
Š He is not helpless. He is omnipotent!
Š The fulfilment of his Word is his doing!
Š The accomplishment of God’s promises is his work!
Š His Word will accomplish good, everlasting good for God’s elect, for all who walk uprightly, for all who, being taught and led by the Spirit, trust Christ (Romans 8:1-25; 2 Corinthians 4:18-5:1).
(Romans 8:1-25) “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
“10 ¶ And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
“17 ¶ And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it].”
(2 Corinthians 4:18-5:1) “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. 5:1 ¶ For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
God our King
Third, our God is King; and we ought to act like people who trust him. — “Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee?” Micah asks, “Why do you howl and cry as if there were no king in Israel, as if God your King were not King indeed?”
Illustration: Katie Luther — “God is dead!”
Will you hear me, my brother? Will you hear me, my sister? Will you hear me, my heart? — God our God is King! Don’t you think it is high time for us to start acting like he is! — “What do you mean, pastor?” — Don’t you think it is high time for you and me to start…
Š Believing God’s Word?
Š Trusting God’s providence?
Š Expecting God to perform his promises?
Š Anticipating the accomplishment of God’s purposes?
Š Taking our burdens to the throne of grace?
Š Casting our care upon the Lord our King, who cares for us?
(Psalms 5:2) “Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.”
(Psalms 44:4) “Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.”
(Psalms 47:6-7) “Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7 For God [is] the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.”
(Psalms 74:12) “God [is] my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”
(Psalms 95:3) “The LORD [is] a great God, and a great King above all gods.”
(Psalms 145:1) “I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.”
(Isaiah 44:1-2) “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.”
(Isaiah 44:6) “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God.”
(Isaiah 44:8) “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared [it]? ye [are] even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, [there is] no God; I know not [any].”
(Isaiah 44:21-26) “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. 23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done [it]: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. 24 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things]; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; 25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise [men] backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof.” (Isaiah 44:21-26)
Christ our Counselor
Fourth, Christ our Savior is our great Counselor; let us follow his counsel. — “Is thy counsellor perished?” No! No! — A thousand times, “No!” Blessed be his name, our mighty Counselor, he who once died for our sins upon the cursed tree, can never die!
(Isaiah 9:6-7) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Christ Jesus stood as our Counselor in the Covenant of Grace before the worlds were made; and he is our Counselor today. He gives Counsel to His people in this world by his Spirit and by his Word. Hear his counsel. — “It is I, be not afraid!”
In the 6th chapter of Mark’s Gospel we find the Lord’s disciples in the midst of a terrible storm, in the middle of a dark, dark night. They were toiling hard with trouble, but everything appeared to be contrary to them. In those circumstances, our all-glorious, ever-gracious Savior came to his troubled friends, walking upon the sea that caused them so much trouble. As he approached their little, storm tossed boat, he said, — “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” Then, “he went up unto them into the ship, and the wind ceased” (Mark 6:45-51).
This is written in the Book of God for you and me, “that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Remember, it was the Lord Jesus who sent his friends into the storm, who sent them away from himself (Mark 6:45-46). He seems to have done so specifically that he might come to them when they desperately needed him, speak these words to them and make himself known to them in a way that was not otherwise possible. Surely, that is the case with us in all our trials. Listen, then, to the voice of your tender, omnipotent Savior in the midst of your storm. ― “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”
Š “It is I” who raised the tempest in your soul and will control it.
Š “It is I” who sent your affliction and will be with you in it.
Š “It is I” who kindled the furnace and will watch the flames and bring you through it.
Š “It is I” who formed your burden, who carved your cross and who will strengthen you to bear it.
Š “It is I” who mixed your cup of grief and will enable you to drink it with meek submission to your Father's will.
Š “It is I” who took from you your strength and health, your peace and tranquility.
Š “It is I” who made the light darkness about you and raised the contrary winds.
Š “It is I” who have done all these things, not against you but for you, not to hurt you but to do you good.
I make the clouds my chariot, and clothe myself with the tempest as with a garment. The night hour is my time of coming to you. The dark, surging waves and billows are the pavement upon which I walk. Take courage! ― “It is I”. Don't be afraid. ― “It is I,” your Friend, your Brother, your God, your Savior! I am causing all the circumstances of your life to work together for your good. ― “It is I” who brought this storm that assails you. Your affliction did not spring out of the ground, but came down from above — a heaven sent blessing disguised as an angel of light clad in a robe of darkness. William Cowper’s hymn describes God’s ways so well. We need often to be reminded that, as Cowper put it…
“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.”
Deep, in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and will break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace.
Behind the frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower!”
I have sent all in love! ― “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” ― “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:4, 40) This trail will not be forever. It will not always cast you down. ― “It is I” who ordered, arranged and control it. In every stormy wind, in every dark night, in every lonely hour, in every rising fear, may God the Holy Spirit give you grace (and give me grace) to hear our Savior’s voice, saying, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”
Blessed be his name forever, the Lord Jesus Christ is our Counselor at the Throne of God in Heaven.
(1 John 2:1-2) “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.”
Fifth, our souls’ pangs and longings are the pains of birth; and the fruit will cause the pain to be forgotten. This is Micah’s inspired explanation for our heartaches and troubles in this world. — “For pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.”
Š A woman in travail is a woman in great pain. So is God’s church in this world.
Š A woman goes into travail that she may bring forth new life. So God’s church (John 16:20-22).
(John 16:20-22) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”
Š The pangs of a woman in travail do not last very long. So it is with the pangs of God’s church in this vale of tears (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Š The sorrows and pangs of travail are forgotten as soon as the child is born. So the pangs and sorrows, the disappointments and frustrations of this mortal life shall be forever forgotten as soon as we enter into eternal life with Christ in Glory!
(Romans 8:17-18) “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
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 Dr. Martin Luther once, after recovering from a sever physical illness, suffered deep depression. One biographer described his condition this way:
Physically Luther was well, but mentally he was despondent. He fell into a state of lethargy, and nothing seemed able to bring him out of it. He sat and stared into space and was sad. [His wife] Katharine tried everything she could think of to bring him out of it, but nothing worked.
Dr. Bugenhagen came over daily to talk to him and try to cheer him. “Something’s got to happen to bring him out of this state of mind,” he told Katharine. “There’s no fight left in the good doctor.”
Katharine didn’t answer. She stared at the closed study door with a thoughtful expression.
That evening she went to her room and dressed in her mourning clothes. As a final touch she also put on a heavy black veil that covered her face. She went slowly up the stairs and entered Luther’s study. He was sitting at his desk, his hands idle, his eyes staring vacantly into space. When he saw his wife, his mouth dropped open. “Katharine! What’s the matter? Why are you dressed in mourning?”
Katharine turned a sad face toward her husband. “Oh,” she said, “it’s terrible, terrible!”
He nodded dumbly.
“Then, judging by your actions these past few weeks, I can see that God is dead. If He weren’t, you would use your great faith in Him to help out of this lethargy.”
Luther stared at her for a long time. Then he said, “You’re right, Katharine... Now if you will please change your clothes and leave me alone, I shall get busy.”
“You’re going to start working this very minute?”
“Yes, this very minute.”
(Kitty, My Rib, E. Jane Mall, 1959, 1984; Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO, pp. 78, 79)