This Week's Focus Passage

‘Who is a God like unto thee?

Focus Passage: Micah 7:18

‘Who is a God like unto thee?’

Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth over the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in lovingkindness. —Micah 7:18

Moses and the children of Israel, Exodus 15, could well sing their song of praise unto Jehovah, perhaps most grandly pronounced in the eleventh verse, as they sang these particularly exalting words:

Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Perhaps Micah was echoing this song as he, in Pauline fashion, making allowance for anachronism, exulted in his God as the apostle has done in Romans 11:33, that grandiloquent ejaculation of the wonder of the depths of the knowledge of God.

O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.

Moses is speaking of Jehovah, in Exodus 15:11, who had just brought His people safely through the Red Sea, while Pharaoh’s host was completely destroyed by that same Red Sea. This episode has always, it seems, given to the child of God, a beautiful picture, as it were, of his salvation from God through the Red Sea of the blood of the God-man, Jesus Christ. And while it may not, technically, be a biblical type of that glorious act of God at Golgotha, it definitely brings that grand transaction to our humbled minds. Is there any connection between the passage and event of which Moses had sung and spoken, and that which was in the mind of the prophet, Micah? On the surface, it would seem that Moses may be referencing the God that met him in the burning bush; the God that commanded the frightened ‘rubber-necker’ that had turned aside to witness the sight, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.—Exodus 3:5. Would this not be the likely basis for Moses to use the expression Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness for He had been witness and communicant before this unique sight of a bush that burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed ? But he continues and adds, Fearful in praises, doing wonders.

‘Fearful’ would hardly exhaust the wonder of that to which Moses and the fugitives from Egypt had borne witness. Indeed, Jehovah caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. We have read over the years this account of the ‘salvation’ of God’s people from the host of Pharaoh’s armies; we were likely told of it when we were but children in Bible School, or we have perhaps even seen it depicted in artwork. Yet all of these things fail to bring out the shear horror of such ever actually happening. The majesty of the power of God displayed immediately before His people, as well as the men of the Egyptian army. God was surely Fearful in praises, doing wonders. But this is not all. The sequel to that wonder is to be seen when Moses, in obedience to God’s command, stretched forth his hand once again over the sea. We are informed that then the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea. The people seeing what Jehovah did to the Egyptians, that great work, feared Jehovah, and believed in Him. Saving His people is the great work of God; destroying His and their enemies is His strange work, yet each demonstrate the awful sovereign power of God.

How does the beautiful expression of Micah, the prophet of God, parallel, if it does, that of Moses the servant of God? The deliverance granted in Exodus was a deliverance from physical danger, was it not? And God employed physical means to obviate this physical danger. He brought a strong east wind as the means of drying up the waters; He caused that wind to blow all night long until the desired result was achieved. But just what did He do to provoke this grandiloquent ejaculation from the heart and lips of the prophet? Micah has not declared any physical wonder when he says, like Moses, Who is like unto thee. Rather does he speak of God pardoning the iniquity and the transgression of His people; he suggests, moreover, that He has been able to set aside His anger that would be forever deserved were it not for His delighting in lovingkindness. He rained His righteous wrath upon Pharaoh because this king intended to destroy His people; this was the motive of God for this use of His power. Yet in the matter of Micah’s praise, it seems that His sole motive was His own lovingkindness. The prophet has uttered very simply, because he delighteth in lovingkindness. He will not retain His anger forever. But how is it that He no longer requires Himself to retain that anger? This is the magnificent difference between these deliverances for which God is being praised by Moses in Exodus 15, and then, much later, by Micah in Micah 7:18. In Exodus, Jehovah pours out His wrath upon the Egyptians to save His people; in Micah, God pours His wrath upon Another; yea, Another spoken of by another prophet, Isaiah. Because God delights in mercy and lovingkindness and that His anger be not retained, Jehovah laid on him the iniquity of us all. His delight is such that Isaiah expresses it in language that, apart from faith, we could never believe possible, it pleased Jehovah to bruise him.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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