Micah 6:9

God's voice has often called to Jerusalem in mercy and in warning; now it cries in judgment it is the voice of the rod. Notice -

I. THE SINS THAT CALL FOR IT. In the context many of the chief national sins are once more enumerated, such as ill-gotten gains (ver. 10), false weights and measures (vers. 10, 11), oppression of the poor by the petty magnates of the city (ver. 12), habitual fraud and falsehood (ver. 12). Apply these illustrations to some of England's national sins. But as though these were not enough, there were added thereto the sins of the darkest period of the northern kingdom, viz. from Omri to Jehu (see ver. 16 margin, "He doth much keep," i.e. does diligently keep such statutes as these rather than the statutes of Jehovah, which his people are exhorted diligently to keep, Exodus 15:26, etc.). These sins included the establishment of idolatry and all the immoralities associated with Baal worship, the persecution of God's faithful servants (1 Kings 18:13; 1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 22:27), and oppression even by the highest (e.g. Naboth). In the days of Ahaz the kingdom of Judah sank to such a level as this. All these evils were concentrated at Jerusalem, so that it is to this city the rod appeals.

II. THE MESSAGES IT BRINGS. Some elements of distinct retributive justice are discernible.

1. Uneasiness, from consciousness of guilt, while pursuing and seeking to enjoy their nefarious courses (ver. 11 margin," Shall I be pure," etc.?). Conscience may be like an Elijah confronting Ahab in Naboth's vineyard. Illust.: Shakespeare's Richard III.

2. As they defrauded the poor, so should they be bitterly disappointed when seeking the fruit of their own labour (ver. 14; Ecclesiastes 6:1, 2).

3. Their labour would be for the benefit of others, and all their efforts to secure it for themselves would be as much frustrated as were the toilsome labours of those whom they had defrauded (vers, 14, 15). For they can save nothing from the hand of God.

4. Thus their wounds would be incurable (ver. 13), and their ill-gotten gain a treasure of wrath (James 5:1-4).

5. These luxurious and delicate ones should become a scandal and a reproach to all around them (ver. 16).


1. Recognizing God's hand as holding it. He "hath appointed it." (Illustrate from Isaiah 10:5; Jeremiah 47:6, 7; so now Amos 3:6.)

2. Listening to God's voice speaking through it. Their great sin in the past has been the disregard of God's voice (Isaiah 48:18; Jeremiah 13:15-17). The voices of entreaty and warning were not heard, so now the voice of chastisement speaks. Yet even in the time of such chastisement there might be hope (Proverbs 1:24-27, 33; and see Leviticus 26:40-45).

3. Honouring God's Name. "The man of wisdom shall see thy Name." God's Name declares his character, and it is his character as a holy God that requires the punishment of the unrighteous (Exodus 34:7). So long as men persist in sin, they must remain under the wrath of God. Sinning and punishment are inseparable. Till sinners "see God's Name" by recognizing its meaning and learning that they can honour it by nothing but a renunciation of sin, the voice of the rod must be heard even through the ages of eternity. - E.S.P.

The lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name, hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it
I. THIS TEXT ANNOUNCES THAT THERE IS A MESSAGE SENT FROM GOD, The voice of the Lord, as the written Word, is the ordinary, the appointed means of conveying His will to men. By that means God has in every age announced His purposes, and made known to us our duty. But there are occasions when God adopts another mode of communication, and speaks to us in a different manner. There are times when He speaks to us through His providence, and conveys a lesson by a language which ensures respect, if it does not compel obedience. He speaks to us as individuals by afflictions, by calamities, by losses, by bereavements, and this makes the careless sensible, by addressing them in a form which ensures attention. At other times He raises His voice and addresses cities or communities by judgments of a far more comprehensive kind — by war, famine, or pestilence. Thus God speaks to a disobedient and rebellious people. If His Word is despised, if His frown is neglected, He must adopt another mode of procedure, He must smite; a sort of necessity compels Him to make use of means which are foreign to His nature, and differ from His ordinary treatment. All that we know of God leads us to suppose that the mode of His address will be adapted to the state of His people. If they are like sheep, gentle, docile, and obedient, He will lead them forth like a shepherd. If they are rebellious and proud, if they show by their behaviour that they are not the sheep of His pasture, "He must take up other instruments, and lead them in another way. In that case He must rebuke, He must chastise, He must subdue by affliction those whom He cannot draw by love, and must humble the pride which resists instruction. But though He speaks, we dare not say that all hear. There were those, of old time, who had eyes and could not see, and ears and could not hear. There are those, even now, who can read the written Word, and see nothing that applies to themselves; or can sit under the sound of the Gospel, and hear nothing that they understand.

II. THE TEXT NAMES THE PERSONS BY WHOM THAT MESSAGE WILL BE UNDERSTOOD. The men of wisdom, the few, the very few, whose hearts the Lord has opened, see what others overlook. They see His name, the end and the object of His doings, and learn to glorify God by being made acquainted with His nature in contemplating His works. Others see the rod, but do not perceive the hand that wields it. They see the event, but do not mark the providence. They see the afflictions, but will not observe the judgments. But just these things the man of wisdom does see. Nothing excites his attention which does not carry him to God, and lead him to look to God as the author of all that happens, the Ruler, the intelligent, the merciful Ruler of the world. The man of wisdom sees, and marks, and notes, what the fool does not; and the affliction which confounds the one becomes the means of illumination and correction to the other, while God is seen and considered in what is done.

III. THE TEXT DESCRIBES THE OBJECT AND PURPORT OF THE MESSAGE. Consider the inference which is drawn by the man of wisdom, and how he applies it. "Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it." Convinced that the affliction which they undergo is a rod which God uses for the rebuke and chastisement of His people, they urge "attention to what is passing." "Despise not the chastening of the Lord." "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due season." This is the language of wisdom, as wall as of piety. Admit the existence of God, and belief in His providence follows. Admit His providence, and you must see that providence such as His can have no limits. It extends to everything: it includes everything, the greatest as well as the least. But if this necessarily follows from the mere belief in God, remember that it is the part of wisdom to draw the necessary deduction, and to explain the event which appears by referring to the cause which produces it, and what is known of the character and will of Him with whom the event originates. Illustrate by reference to the failure of the potato crop during two succeeding seasons. We need not refer such calamities to any of the public or private iniquities which we have reason to lament. God deals with principles rather than with particulars. He corrects us by vindicating His own nature from our misconceptions; and a judgment which extends to all must be intended to convey to all a lesson which they need. We go to the root of all sins when we name the sinful heart of unbelief as the object of God's displeasure, and believe that God is reproving that evil heart by the judgments He sends. We do not mean that speculative unbelief which denies the existence of God, but that practical unbelief which forgets Him. But just in proportion as a man is endeavouring to forget God, it is necessary that he should be reminded of Him. Unless we are to be given up to our idols, and left to work out our own destruction, we must be taught the secret of our dependence on God, and be led to seek Him in the way He has appointed.

(Henry Raikes, M. A.)

Micah tells us his vision concerned both Samaria and Jerusalem. Against these there is a cry both of sins and of punishments.

1. Of sins. These two cities had corrupted the two kingdoms of which they were the respective heads. Atheism and immorality are nowhere so predominant as in great cities. The transgressions of Samaria were Baal and the golden calves. The transgressions of Jerusalem were her high places, where idolatries were practised. The idolatrous worship of these cities did not mean only a multiplication of images, altars, etc.; it consisted much in the gratification of their carnal lusts and passions. God's voice also cries against their violence and oppression; their bribery and, corruption; their witchcrafts and soothsayers; their frauds in commerce and dealing; the treachery of friends, and the want of mutual affection in the nearest relations

2. Of punishments. The first woe denounced is the ruin of Samaria. The second is captivity. The third is the failure of the true prophecy and ministry of God's Word among them. They did not care to hear unpleasant truths. The fourth is a pining, wasting sickness which should seize upon them. The fifth is famine. The sixth is the scorn and contempt with which their enemies should treat them. In these charges and denunciations, it is said, that the "man of wisdom will see God's name," that is, will acknowledge His commission and authority in them as fully as if he had seen Him write them. Such a man will confess, when the judgments are inflicted, that they are not fortuitous, coming in the ordinary course of things, or owing to the mere will of man, or concurrence of second causes; but that they are a rod from heaven, which God hath appointed for the punishment of His sinful people.

(W. Reading, M. A.)

Nothing is more essential to the character of the Supreme Being than perfect holiness. He loves righteousness and hates iniquity. As every man's own conscience is a witness to the moral rectitude of the great Lawgiver, and leads to the expectation of His impartial judgment; so the remarkable interposition of Divine providence in the affairs of the world, by inflicting severe punishments for the obstinate wickedness of men, hath been universally acknowledged. Great and desolating strokes have been always attributed to the immediate avenging hand of God. Other catastrophes of nations and cities have been accounted for by the wisest of men as intended for examples of punishing obstinate wickedness and dissolute luxury. But the same uniformity is by no means observable in the effects of those judgments, as in their cause. We are not absolutely unconcerned at the strokes of providence which we see in the world. Stupidity cannot carry us quite so far; but we seldom consider them with such attention as we ought. In the afflictions which happen to mankind, every side deserves to be considered; and all is worthy of attention in these messages of Divine vengeance. It is a sad observation, that those men who above all boast of their reason, are least of all employed in such reflections. More occupied with nature than with the God of nature, they hold it weakness to discover the finger of the Almighty in the afflictions of men; they ascribe everything to second causes. But what is called nature, is either nothing or it is an assemblage of beings created by God: either the effects of nature are nothing, or they are the consequences of the laws by which the Supreme Creator governs those beings; and consequently, whatever we call natural effects, or actions of second causes, are the works of God, and the effects of laws established by Him. This reasoning, apparently sound, is confirmed in the Scriptures, which clearly teach that the calamities of particular men are designed for the instruction of all. But, not infrequently, the Divine judgments are abused in another manner; when men of a proud and uncharitable spirit, instead of considering them as warnings to themselves, think and speak of them as direct punishments for the crimes of those who suffer them. No reasoning can be worse than to say, such a man is a grievous sinner, because he is unhappy here on earth; and another is a great saint, because he is surrounded with all manner of delights. To reason in this manner is to set bounds to the Most High, without considering the different views which an infinite Intelligence may have in those strokes which He inflicts on mortals Sometimes He designs them for trials; sometimes to show forth His power and glory; sometimes to show the faith and fortitude of the sufferer. If any conclusion could be fairly drawn from the sufferings of men on earth, it ought rather to be of God's love than His anger. In place of saying that the man who suffers is more culpable than he who suffers not, we might often have occasion to say, that he who suffers nothing at all is far more criminal than the man who suffers most. In general, there are very few sinners to whom any man hath a right to prefer himself.

(A. M'Donald.)

God conveys instruction to the children of men by His Word, and by His providences. These two methods of instruction mutually aid each other. When both His Word and His providence unite in addressing us, the criminality of inattention is carried to the very highest degree. Yet such inattention is common.



1. God is teaching us the very great evil and malignity of sin in general.

2. God is now calling upon us to examine our selves, in order to ascertain whether we ourselves, as a nation, or as individuals, have in any measure contributed to bring on these calamities.

3. God is calling us to deep repentance; to examine into the state of our immortal souls, and to prove the genuineness and reality of our religion. It behoves us individually to examine our own hearts, and compare them with the mirror of God's most Holy Word.

4. God is calling upon us to pray for the commencement of that great and glorious day, when the Gospel shall be universally spread over the face of the whole globe, and the "kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ."

(John Vaughan, LL. D.)

I. GOD HAS A VOICE TO CITIES. The city meant here is Jerusalem. He speaks to a city through its —

1. Commerce.

2. Mortality.

3. Churches.The sermons that are preached, the agents that are employed to enlighten the ignorant, to comfort the distressed, reclaim the lost.

II. THE WISE IN CITIES RECOGNISE THE VOICE. "The man of wisdom shall see Thy name." "And wisdom has Thy name in its eye" (Delitzsch). "And he who is wise will regard Thy name" (Henderson). The idea seems to be this, that the wise man will recognise God's voice. Job says, "God speaks once, yea twice, and they perceive it not." The crowds that populate cities are deaf to the Divine "voice." The din of passion, the hum of commerce: the chimes of animal pleasures drown the voice of God. But me wise man haS his soul ever in a listening attitude. Like young Samuel, he says, "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth." Abraham heard the voice of God concerning Sodom, Daniel concerning Babylon, Jonah concerning Nineveh, Jeremiah concerning Jerusalem.

III. THE JUDGMENT OF CITIES IS IN THAT VOICE. "Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it." The rod is the symbol of judgment. O Assyria, the rod of My anger, the staff in My hand is My indignation."

1. God warns cities.(1) He warns them of ultimate temporal ruin. All cities must go — go with Nineveh, Greece, Babylon, Rome, Jerusalem.(2) He warns them of spiritual danger. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." This is His voice to every citizen.

2. His warning should be attended to. "Hear ye the rod." The only way to escape, is attention.


Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.
Our prophet is proclaiming God's controversy with Israel. He represents God as sitting in judgment on Israel. Appealing to them in proof of His former kindnesses to them. Specifying the crimes with which they were chargeable. Threatening to punish them with desolating judgments. Showing Israel how the impending destruction might he averted. He supposes a penitent Israelite manifesting concern for salvation by instituting the most important inquiries, and expressing his readiness to comply with whatsoever God might be pleased to demand. To obtain God's favour, Micah says, we must come to Him, not according to the devices of superstition, but as God prescribes in His Word. To please God we must live in the uniform practice of justice, mercy, and humble piety.


1. The afflictions of mankind are various.

2. They are all subject to the appointment of God. They could not exist without Him. He adjusts all their circumstances.

3. They are appointed for important purposes, They should not therefore be disregarded nor despised.


1. He employs it reluctantly:

2. Only for man's benefit:

3. Only when necessary.


1. A reproving,

2. A warning,

3. An encouraging voice.


1. With pious attention.

2. Inquisitive attention.

3. Candid attention.

4. Practical attention.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

(a funeral discourse): — Our Heavenly Father employs many instruments for the moral instruction of His children, To thoughtful and docile minds He teaches many an important and useful lesson by means of His providence perpetually operating around us. It is not in times of trial and affliction alone that providence conveys lessons designed for our enlightenment and benefit. But the lessons we are very slow to learn and very ready to forget. When some sudden and saddening affliction befalls us, the mind is often aroused, the heart is softened, we are compelled to pause and reflect. A painful dispensation solemnly speaks to us.

I. OF THE BREVITY AND UNCERTAINTY OF HUMAN LIFE. This is a lesson often sounded in our ears, and often addressed to our hearts. Early death is especially affecting. By it the young are urged so to live that death, whenever it may come, shall have no terror and no sting.

II. OF THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE BRIGHTEST HUMAN HOPES. The vanity of human wishes, and the frequent blighting of human hopes, have been in every age the theme of the moralist, the poet, and the preacher. Ought we not all to ask ourselves whether our hopes are such as death cannot destroy?

III. OF THE MYSTERY OF PROVIDENCE. When we remember that all things are under the government of God, the Only Wise, the Almighty, and the All-loving, we ought not to complain even if we cannot comprehend. God works on a scale, and for a period, so vast, that it would be both presumption and folly for short-sighted and short-lived creatures, such as we are, to expect to comprehend His plans.

IV. OF THE WORTH OF A CHRISTIAN FAITH. It supports the dying, it comforts the bereaved. It enables the believer in the conflict with the last enemy to come off more than conqueror; it enables those who mourn departed friends to live in the certainty of a future and blessed reunion.

(G. D. Macgregor.)

(on a visitation of cholera): —

1. This infliction is the "Lord's voice," as a rebuke and warning from Him. After every deduction and allowance for secondary causes, whether natural or artificial, we are compelled to return to the great first cause, and to acknowledge that this public calamity is indeed the voice of God. This voice of the Lord "crieth unto the city." It is that of a watchman, or herald, proclaiming, with loud and unmistakable voice, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." "Let the people turn every one from the evil of his way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will return and repent, and turn from His fierce anger, that we perish not?"

2. At such times "the man of wisdom shall see Thy name." The name of the Lord in a special manner denotes His attributes — His justice, power, wisdom, goodness, love.

3. At such times, "hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it." Not "bear ye," but "hear ye." The rod of Divine justice and love has a voice, both for the sufferer and the beholder. Invite to personal prayer and self-examination.

(1)As to your feelings in regard to sin in general.

(2)There should be a renunciation of self.

(3)But external reformation is not enough, nor will it ever be lasting unless the heart be touched within, and attracted by the loadstone of Divine grace.

(L. M. Humbert, M. A.)

I. PUBLIC CALAMITIES ARE THE VOICE OF GOD TO THE NATION. The dispensations of God are particular or general. The particular affect individuals; the general affect a nation or a world. A nation is but a larger family, a more numerous and extensive household. "The voice of the Lord crieth unto the city" — against the city. Why? On account of our national sins. They are many and great. Have not profligate luxury on the one hand, and commercial covetousness on the other, marked the latter period of our history? Gross immorality, daring crime, heaven defying impiety and blasphemy raise their unveiled, unblushing fronts in the broad light of day. Lying, uncleanness, and fraud are to be reckoned among the crying sins of our country. The voice of the Lord crieth against us on account of the little improvement we have made of our religious advantages. How few are living under the vital influence of those doctrines and principles, which distinguish the Gospel of the grace of God from all other systems! The voice charges us, not only with a shameful neglect of the Gospel, as a matter of personal concern, but also with indifference respecting its diffusion through the earth.

II. IT IS WISDOM TO SEE AND ACKNOWLEDGE GOD IN PUBLIC CALAMITIES. His great, and venerable, and inviting name of wisdom, power, and love is inscribed upon all HIS works, and there it is seen and read by the man of wisdom. But especially it is visible upon the gloomy clouds of affliction. Multitudes live, and act, and form their judgments as if there were no Divine government — as if chance were universal monarch, They look only to secondary causes. The text implies that it is the part of folly not to perceive and acknowledge the hand of the Lord in public calamities. Such insensibility is an evidence of positive wickedness, approaching to atheism.

III. IT IS OUR DUTY AND INTEREST TO IMPROVE PUBLIC CALAMITIES. Why does a father chastise his children? That they may be improved by his correction. He uses the rod, not to gratify his own temper, but to profit them. It becomes our duty to seek personal improvement from the dispensations of our Heavenly Father. It is not only our duty, it is our interest to improve public calamities. The first lesson to learn is to examine and abase ourselves before God.

1. To be cheerfully resigned to the Divine will.

2. To bear upon our minds the claims which our rulers have on our prayers.

3. To nourish solemn and practical reflections upon death.

4. To derive improvement from this public calamity — the death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales — by seeking deeper impressions of the truth, that all is vanity except the Gospel

(John East, A. B.)

It is a question hard to determine, whether the greatness of God, or the condescendency of God, be the greater mystery. The day may be approaching when ye shall meet with these six silent things from God.

1. Silent rods, when ye shall not know nor understand the language of them.

2. A silent God. When ye shall cry to Him, and He shall not hear you.

3. Silent and dumb ordinances, which shall not speak to you.

4. Silent mercies, so that all the good things He doth unto you, ye shall not know their language.

5. The sad lot of a silent conscience.

6. Silent commands, threatenings, and promises; that is, ye shall never know what the commands call for, or the threatenings or the promises. The prophet accuses the people of neglect of duties which were lying at their door. In this verse we have the scope of it, which is this, — showing file people that the Lord would send a more sharp message, if they will not obey. Three things from the scope, before we come to the first thing in the words —

1. The slighting of known duties is the forerunner of some sad and lamentable stroke from the Lord. Note some aggravations of the sin of slighting known duties.(1) When a person slights duty, after the sinfulness of that sin hath been discovered to him.(2) When a person slights known duties, after God hath been discovering discontent with another person for that sin.(3) After God hath begun to contend with them for so doing.(4) Upon very small temptations.(5) When persons do not as much as set about the well-doing of them.(6) After God hath commended the beauty and excellency of such duties.(7) Afar they have been convinced of the advantage which waits upon the doing of them.(8) With very little resentment and grief of heart.

2. Some considerations to press you to the exercise of these duties.(1) It is the Christian who practiseth, not who knoweth, to whom the promises are made.(2) The Christian that is taken up in practising, and not the knowing Christian, is blessed. The blessed Christian is he who knoweth his duty, and doeth it.(3) The practising, not the knowing, Christian is approven and commended of God.(4) Not the knowledge, but the practice of Christian duties will give peace to the conscience.(5) It is by the practice, not the knowledge of your duty, that you rise up in conformity with God.

3. Six things concerning known duties.(1) Many persons are more desirous to know what they should do, than to do what they know.(2) The question which shall be proposed to you in the great and notable day of the Lord, will be, "O man, what didst thou?"(3) A grain weight of sincerity and practice is worth a talent of knowledge.(4) The slighting of known duties hath many sad disadvantages waiting upon it. It makes Christians weary of duties. It brings on much hardness and stupidity of heart. It either mars the peace of conscience, or it hardens the conscience, or it lulls the conscience asleep. And the Christian who slights duty is likely to become exceeding formal in the duty he does.(5) The slighting of known duty is the first step of the sin against the Holy Ghost.


1. The voice of threatenings.

2. Of sad afflicting dispensations.

3. Of the promises.

4. Of all the mercies that we meet with.

5. Of our consciences.

6. Of public ordinances.There are seven steps of judgment, which are likely to overtake us, if we hearken not to His voice,

1. God shall slight the voice of the disobeyers when they cry to Him.

2. At last God will speak no more to them.

3. God will draw His sword out of the sheath, and not replace it.

4. He will deliver us into the hand of the slayer.

5. He will cease to have correspondence with us any more.

6. He will purge us no more.

7. We shall be let alone, left alone in our sin.


1. The rod of His mouth.

2. The rod of His hand; or afflictions and crosses,

3. The iron rod of destruction, when God doth utterly destroy.Some will not take and make use of these threatenings, because they mistake what is their meaning; or they are in ignorance of their own condition.

(A. Gray.)

I. GOD APPOINTS EVERY AFFLICTION THAT MEN EXPERIENCE. He always acts agreeably to the counsel of His own will, in every evil He inflicts, and in every good He bestows. All the afflictions and sorrows and sufferings of Christ were brought upon Him according to the eternal appointment of God.

II. EVERY AFFLICTION HAS AN INSTRUCTIVE VOICE. This is intimated by the figurative expression in the text. God would not call upon men to hear the voice of His rod, if His rod had no voice. Men often speak as plainly by what they do as by what they say. And God often speaks as plainly by His rod as by His Word. God means to teach, and does teach by His providence. Afflictions tend to teach the afflicted their entire dependence upon God. This they are naturally insensible of, and need to be taught by the voice of the rod. Men must learn their dependence on God, before they can be happy, either in this life or in that which is to come. The voice of affliction tends to teach mankind the vanity of all earthly enjoyments. The great inquiry is, who will show us any temporal good? And if God grants outward prosperity, and pours the blessings of His providence upon men, they are ready to think that their mountain stands strong, that their happiness is secure, and that they shall never see corruption. Their hearts become wedded to the world. When God chastens them with the rod of correction, and takes away one earthly blessing after another, by His bereaving hand, they are ready to adopt the language of Job, "Naked came I," etc. The voice of affliction naturally tends to turn the thoughts of the afflicted upon the most serious and solemn subjects. When the world appears vain, other things appear weighty and important. When temporal things lose their lustre, eternal things will assume their importance, and fix the whole soul in solemn reflections and anticipations. The day of adversity is the day to consider. This is one of the natural and salutary effects of Divine corrections. How often do afflictions prepare the way for awakenings, convictions, and conversions! Eliphaz very reasonably says, "Happy is the man whom God correcteth."


1. That the voice of affliction is the voice of God. The men of wisdom who see and know the name of God; that is, those who know and love the character, perfections, and govern merit of God; will hear, understand, and obey the voice of the rod of His wrath, which is His most solemn, imperious, and impressive voice.

2. To refuse to hear the voice of affliction will be highly displeasing to God.

3. By refusing to hear it, men will expose themselves to still severer marks of the Divine displeasure. Afflictions, bereavements, and fiery trials often follow one another in quick succession. One affliction seems to be the presage of another.

4. The afflicted never know when God calls to them by the voice of His rod, but that it is the last call He will ever give them, before He calls them into eternity.Improve the subject —

1. If God appoints every affliction for the purpose of instructing the afflicted, then He can instruct those who are the most unwilling to be instructed.

2. If the voice of affliction be instructive, then all persons must be beneficially instructed, unless they use great efforts to prevent it.

3. If God Himself instructs the afflicted by the voice of His rod, then they never can have any excuse for not hearing His instructions.

4. If it be a point of wisdom in the afflicted to hear the instructive voice of the rod, then it argues want of wisdom in them to refuse to hear it.

5. If afflictions are instructive, then the afflicted are always in a peculiarly trying and dangerous situation. They must receive, or refuse to receive instruction.

6. This subject calls upon all to hear the voice of providence, which crieth to the nations who are now groaning under the rod of affliction and calamity.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

There are three things which a Christian may meet with which are unspeakable.

1. An unspeakable sorrow, so that he cannot make language of it.

2. Unspeakable mercy.

3. Unspeakable joy.There is not a grain weight of affliction in the cup which infinite wisdom doth not think fit should be there. There are some Christians that are forced to bless God more for their crosses than for their mercies. The cross of a Christian has two faces — an outward and an inward face. From this exhortation to Israel notice —


1. It is a singular and remarkable step of the goodwill of God, when He doth manifest the meaning of a rod to a person or people.

2. The Christians of old have taken much pains to know the voice of the rods that they meet with.

3. It is exceeding anxious for a Christian to be under a silent rod; to be under such a dispensation that he knows not the language of it.

4. It is exceeding hard for a Christian to profit by a rod till once he take up the meaning of it.

5. A Christian may be long under a rod before he know the voice and language of it.

6. When a Christian wins apprehension of the meaning of his rod he should at once go about to answer it. How may a Christian gain the meaning of his rod? By making serious application to the throne of grace, that God would give light concerning it. If the rod was timed to thee, when the heart was under much distance from God, that probably is the meaning of the rod — to draw thee nigh again. We may also know the rod by reflecting on the manner and circumstances of the rod, and by observing the mind of the Lord in Scriptures; and by studying the circumstances associated with the rod; and by considering what are the Divine designs in sending rods. It is easier to bear a rod patiently which is for the trial and exercise of our predominant grace, than to bear a rod patiently that is for the mortification of our predominant idols. There is ordinarily some analogy between our crosses and our sins.


1. Many think the cross speaks wrath when it speaks love. Some think that love and the rod cannot be together at all.

2. Some think that God can never answer their prayers while He is afflicting them.

3. Some begin to dispute their interest when they meet with a rod or sad dispensation.

4. It is a great mistake of the voice and language of God's threatening rod for a person to think religion but vanity and an empty thing under the cross.

5. Another mistake is, to dispute the fellowship a Christian hath with God.


1. If the rod call for the mortifying of a particular lust and idol, it is incumbent to sit down, and bring up your hearts to a spiritual detestation of such an idol.

2. If the voice of the rod be to stir up a grace, then study to know that there is as much spiritual advantage in the real and spiritual exercise of such a grace as ye can lose by all the rods ye can meet with.

3. If the voice of the rod be that thou shouldst set about the exercise of a duty, then endeavour seriously that all impediments and lets to that duty be laid aside.

IV. WHAT OUGHT TO BE A CHRISTIAN'S DUTY WHILE HE IS WALKING UNDER A SILENT ROD. He should know God to be just, though he knoweth not for what He contends with him. He should be serious in making distinct supplications to God to know the meaning of such a rod. He should be serious to know the reason of God's keeping up His mind from him in such a rod. He should study to bring his heart into a tender and spiritual frame. Study to have thy heart most united to Christ when under a silent cross, for at that time thou art most ready to fall. Take notice of the following observations concerning the cross. If affliction be spun out to any length, the Christian may turn impatient. There are five sorts of blasphemy which one that is under a cross may fall into. It shows the want of a son-like frame if the cross hinders us in the exercise of our duties. Look upon your crosses as divine gifts. There are some peaceable fruits of righteousness that redound to a Christian who is rightly exercised under the cross. The most rare enjoyments of the Christian are trysted to the time of his being under a cross.

(A. Gray.)

In the presence of calamities let us say, "Speak, Lord, for Thy servants hear." This, in substance, is —

I. TO FEEL THE STROKES OF GOD'S HAND. If we feel the strokes of God's hand we shall shake off a certain state of indolence in which many of us are found, and be clothed with the sentiments of humiliation, and of terror and awe. We shall be softened with sentiments of sorrow and repentance if we examine their origin and cause. And if we discover the remedies and resources we shall be animated with the sentiments of genuine conversion.

II. TO TRACE THE CAUSES AND THE ORIGIN OF OUR CALAMITIES. Micah wished the Jews to comprehend that the miseries under which they groaned were a consequence of their crimes. We would wish you to form the same judgment of yours. The subject has its difficulties. Under a pretence of entering into the spirit of humiliation, there is danger of our falling into the puerilities of superstition. Temporal prosperity and adversity are very equivocal marks of the favour or displeasure of God. By some, the slightest adversity is regarded as a stroke of God's angry arm. It is better to form the criterion of our guilt or innocence, not by the exterior prosperity or adversity sent of God, but by our obedience or disobedience to His Word. But adversity is sometimes occasioned by crimes. This is apparent —

1. When there is a natural connection between the crimes we have committed and the calamities we suffer, God has placed harmony between happiness and virtue. Trace this harmony in the circles of society and in private life. An enlightened mind can find no solid happiness but in the exercises of virtue. The happiness procured by the passions is founded on mistake.

2. When great calamities follow upon great crimes.

III. TO EXAMINE THEIR CONSEQUENCES AND CONNECTIONS. Some calamities are less formidable in themselves than in the awful consequences they produce. There are calamities whose distinguished characteristic is to be the forerunners of calamities still more terrible.

1. One calamity is the forerunner of a greater when the people whom God afflicts have recourse to second causes instead of the first cause, and when they seek the redress of their calamities in political resources and not in religion. This is the portrait Isaiah gives of Sennacherib's first expedition against Judaea.

2. When, instead of humiliation on reception of the warnings God sends by His servants, we turn those warnings into contempt. Inquire how far you are affected by this doctrine. Do you discover a teachable disposition, or do you revolt against the Word of God's ministers?

3. When the anguish it excites proceeds more from the loss of our perishable riches than from sentiments of the insults offered to God.

4. When the plague fails in producing the reformation of those manners it was sent to chastise.

IV. TO DISCOVER THEIR RESOURCES AND REMEDIES. We found our hopes on the abundant mercies with which God has loaded us during the time of visitation. With the one hand He abases, with the other He exalts. We found our hopes on the resources He has still left our state to recover, and to reestablish itself in all the extent of its glory and prosperity. Frustrate not these hopes by a superficial devotion, by forgetfulness of promises and violation of vows.

(James Saurin.)

Do not be atheistical in the time of affliction. The "rod" means judgment. Sometimes judgment takes the form of chastening. We are not always to suppose that the rod means mere punishment, — an action of the strong upon the weak, or the righteous upon the wicked; the rod may be an instrument of education as well as of vengeance and of penalty. Do not suppose that the devil holds the rod. The devil is the weakest of all creatures; his is only the strength of boisterousness; there is nothing in it of abiding pith, stability, and power. Afflictions do not spring out of the dust. When the rod is lacerating your back, ask, What wilt Thou have me to do? When all things are dull and distressing and disappointing, say, This is the ministry of God; He is taking out of me some elements of vanity, which are always elements of weakness, and He is conducting me to the altar by a subterranean passage. We do not always go to the altar along a pathway of flowers; not always does God beckon us through a garden to follow Him to some chosen place of communion. Sometimes we are driven to the altar; often we do not want to pray; the soul will take no rest, and give none until a great, sweet, holy, burdened prayer has gone up to heaven by way of the cross. Is the rod lying heavy on your house now? Know ye the rod, and Him who hath appointed it; examine yourselves carefully and searchingly, and see if there be any wicked way in you, and drag it out: it will rot in the sunlight.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

Herein are three things. The people the Lord's voice crieth unto, and that is, unto the city. You have the exhortation to hear the voice of the rod. You have an argument to press you to do so. There is a rod of power and dignity, of discrimination, of direction, of government, of destruction. It is a rod of correction that we are to understand here. And we remark that when God visits the transgressions of His people with a rod, it is their best wisdom to hear the rod, and who hath appointed it.

1. God doth not steal upon a people with His judgments, but He first warns them before He smites them. He sometimes warns by His Word, and sometimes by His works and dispensations. By His judgments upon others, and by His afflictions upon themselves, He brings a lesser judgment to prevent a greater.

2. When God smites His own people He deals with them in the way of the rod.

(1)Because they are His own children.

(2)As they are children, He loves them, and He that spareth the rod hateth the child.

(3)God doth sometimes correct His people because of their folly.It may be said, Doth not God use the rod with the wicked too? There is a whipping rod, and a breaking rod; a whipping rod for the saints, and a breaking rod for the wicked. God's rod for His people only chastises "in measure." And His visitations are always seasonable.

3. God's rod is a teaching rod. What lessons does it teach; and how does it teach them?

4. This message is sent especially to the great cities and towns of a nation or people.

5. When God visits with a rod, it is true wisdom to hear it and the Sender. You must honour God in His dispensations. That is the way in which to get the best blessing out of the strokes, and to prevent further strokes.

(W. Bridge, M. A.)

The world is a place of punishment for sin, but it is not the place. Because God does not usually visit each particular offence in this life upon the transgressor, men are apt to deny altogether the doctrine of judgments. The Indian Mutiny was a rod of God for our nation, but it was an appointed rod. Hear this rod.

1. It would have been as well if we had heard this rod before it fell upon us. The wise man may hear God's rod before it smiteth. He that understandeth God's moral government knows that sin carries punishment in its bowels.

2. But the rod has fallen. What are the most glaring sins for which God is now visiting us?

(1)There are sins in the community that never ought to have been allowed. Such as public immorality.

(2)There are class sins.

(3)There are sins of trade.

(4)Sins in the relations between masters and workmen.

(5)Sins of illiberality, deceit, bigotry, lasciviousness, carnality, pride, covetousness, and laziness.

3. Hear ye the rod when it shall again be still.


Aaron, Ahab, Balaam, Balak, Beor, Ephah, Micah, Miriam, Omri
Bethlehem, Egypt, Gilgal, Moab, Shittim
Appointed, Assembly, Calleth, Calling, Calls, Cries, Crieth, Crying, Ear, Fear, Hark, Heed, Listen, Lord's, Meeting, O, Regard, Rod, Sees, Town, Tribe, Tribes, Voice, Wisdom
1. God's punishment for ingratitude;
6. for ignorance,
10. for injustice;
16. and for idolatry.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Micah 6:9

     8365   wisdom, human

Micah 6:9-16

     4438   eating
     5203   acquittal

God's Requirements and God's Gift
'What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?'--MICAH vi. 8. This is the Prophet's answer to a question which he puts into the mouth of his hearers. They had the superstitious estimate of the worth of sacrifice, which conceives that the external offering is pleasing to God, and can satisfy for sin. Micah, like his great contemporary Isaiah, and the most of the prophets, wages war against that misconception of sacrifice, but does not thereby
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Record of Two Kings
'In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. 24. And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria. 25. But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him. 26. For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

August the Ninth God's Requirements
"What doth the Lord require of thee?" --MICAH vi. 1-8. "To do justly." Then I must not be so eager about my rights as to forget my duties. For my duties are just the observance of my neighbour's rights. And to see my neighbour's rights I must cultivate his "point of view." I must look out of his windows! "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." "And to love mercy." And mercy is justice plus! And it is the "plus" which makes the Christian. His cup
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

"On Conscience"
"For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience." 2 Cor. 1:12. 1. How few words are there in the world more common than this, Conscience! It is in almost every one's mouth. And one would thence be apt to conclude, that no word can be found which is more generally understood. But it may be doubted whether this is the case or no; although numberless treatises have been written upon it. For it is certain, a great part of those writers have rather puzzled the cause than cleared it; that they
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Fast-Day Service
BRIEF INVOCATION. O GOD, the God of heaven and of earth, we do this day pay Thee reverence, and meekly bow our heads in adoration before Thine awful throne. We are the creatures of Thine hand; Thou hast made us, and not we ourselves. It is but just and right that we should pay unto Thee our adoration. O God I we are met together in a vast congregation for a purpose which demands all the power of piety, and all the strength of prayer. Send down Thy Spirit upon Thy servant, that he, whilst trembling
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Micah's Message for To-Day
"Walk humbly with thy God."--Micah 6:8. THIS is the essence of the law, the spiritual side of it; its ten commandments are an enlargement of this verse. The law is spiritual, and touches the thoughts, the intents, the emotions, the words, the actions; but specially God demands the heart. Now it is our great joy that what the law requires the gospel gives. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." In him we meet the requirements of the law, first, by what he has
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 39: 1893

The Christian's Walk a Walk with God.
"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." Micah 6:8. The life of Enoch is descriptive of the Christian's life, and it is said that he "walked with God." Hand in hand with God, heart in heart, and life in life, is the true Christian way. In order to walk thus with God, we must be in agreement with him; for two can not walk together heart in heart unless they be in agreement. To be agreed
C. E. Orr—How to Live a Holy Life

The Social Test of Religion
Religion Must be Socially Efficient The teaching of Jesus dealt with three recalcitrant forces, which easily escape from the control of social duty and become a clog to spiritual progress: ambition for power and leadership, and the love of property, have been considered. How about religion? Is it a help or a hindrance in the progress of humanity? Opinions are very much divided today. No student of society can neglect religion as a social force. What did Jesus think of it? DAILY READINGS First
Walter Rauschenbusch—The Social Principles of Jesus

The Foundations of Good Citizenship.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.--Ex. 20:1-17. Parallel Readings. Hist. Bible I, 194-198. Prin. of Politics, Chap. II. Lowell, Essay on "Democracy." Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image. Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Honor thy father and thy mother. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou
Charles Foster Kent—The Making of a Nation

A Godly Reformation
'Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. 3. He in the first year of his reign, in the first mouth, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. 4. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Balak's Inquiries Relative to the Service of God, and Balaam's Answer, Briefly Considered.
"Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with, thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first born for my transgression; the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?--He hath shewed thee, 0 man, what is good: And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" As mankind are
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

An Ox in the Congregation
Friday, July 10.--I rode to London and preached at Short's Gardens on "the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" [Acts 3:6]. Sunday, 12. While I was showing, at Charles' Square, what it is "to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God" [see Micah 6:8], a great shout began. Many of the rabble had brought an ox, which they were vehemently laboring to drive among the people. But their labor was in vain; for in spite of them all, he ran round and round, one way and the other, and at length
John Wesley—The Journal of John Wesley

The Pioneer's Influence Upon a Nation's Ideals.
ABRAHAM, THE TRADITIONAL FATHER OF HIS RACE.--Gen. 12:1-8; 13:1-13; 16; 18, 19; 21:7; 22:1-19. Parallel Readings. Hist. Bible I, 73-94. Prin of Pol., 160-175. Jehovah said to Abraham, Go forth from thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, to the land that I will show thee, that I may make of thee a great nation; and I will surely bless thee, and make thy name great, so that thou shalt be a blessing, I will also bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will
Charles Foster Kent—The Making of a Nation

Second Sunday after Trinity Exhortation to Brotherly Love.
Text: 1 John 3, 13-18. 13 Marvel not, brethren, if the world hateth you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

The Life of Mr. Hugh Binning.
There being a great demand for the several books that are printed under Mr. Binning's name, it was judged proper to undertake a new and correct impression of them in one volume. This being done, the publishers were much concerned to have the life of such an useful and eminent minister of Christ written, in justice to his memory, and his great services in the work of the gospel, that it might go along with this impression. We living now at so great distance from the time wherein he made a figure in
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"All Our Righteousnesses are as Filthy Rags, and we all do Fade as a Leaf, and Our Iniquities, Like the Wind, have Taken us Away. "
Isaiah lxiv. 6, 7.--"All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Not only are the direct breaches of the command uncleanness, and men originally and actually unclean, but even our holy actions, our commanded duties. Take a man's civility, religion, and all his universal inherent righteousness,--all are filthy rags. And here the church confesseth nothing but what God accuseth her of, Isa. lxvi. 8, and chap. i. ver.
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"To what Purpose is the Multitude of Your Sacrifices unto Me? Saith the Lord,"
Isaiah i. 11.--"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord," &c. This is the word he calls them to hear and a strange word. Isaiah asks, What mean your sacrifices? God will not have them. I think the people would say in their own hearts, What means the prophet? What would the Lord be at? Do we anything but what he commanded us? Is he angry at us for obeying him? What means this word? Is he not repealing the statute and ordinance he had made in Israel? If he had reproved
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Greater Prophets.
1. We have already seen (Chap. 15, Nos. 11 and 12) that from Moses to Samuel the appearances of prophets were infrequent; that with Samuel and the prophetical school established by him there began a new era, in which the prophets were recognized as a distinct order of men in the Theocracy; and that the age of written prophecy did not begin till about the reign of Uzziah, some three centuries after Samuel. The Jewish division of the latter prophets--prophets in the more restricted sense of the
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Mothers, Daughters, and Wives in Israel
In order accurately to understand the position of woman in Israel, it is only necessary carefully to peruse the New Testament. The picture of social life there presented gives a full view of the place which she held in private and in public life. Here we do not find that separation, so common among Orientals at all times, but a woman mingles freely with others both at home and abroad. So far from suffering under social inferiority, she takes influential and often leading part in all movements, specially
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The Soul.
Man as we behold him is not all there is of man. He is a wonderful being. He stands in the highest order of God's creation. He Is A Compound. Man was created a physical and spiritual organism. He possesses an animal and a spiritual life. Thus he is connected with two worlds. The physical creation is termed the "outward man," and the spiritual, the "inward man." "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." 2 Cor. 4:16. "For we know
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

Meditations against Despair, or Doubting of God's Mercy.
It is found by continual experience, that near the time of death, when the children of God are weakest, then Satan makes the greatest nourish of his strength, and assails them with his strongest temptations. For he knows that either he must now or never prevail; for if their souls once go to heaven, he shall never vex nor trouble them any more. And therefore he will now bestir himself as much as he can, and labour to set before their eyes all the gross sins which ever they committed, and the judgments
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Effectual Calling
'Them he also called.' Rom 8:80. Q-xxxi: WHAT IS EFFECTUAL CALLING? A: It is a gracious work of the Spirit, whereby he causes us to embrace Christ freely, as he is offered to us in the gospel. In this verse is the golden chain of salvation, made up of four links, of which one is vocation. Them he also called.' Calling is nova creatio, a new creation,' the first resurrection. There is a two-fold call: (1.) An outward call: (2.) An inward call. (1.) An outward call, which is God's offer of grace to
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Books of the Old Testament as a Whole. 1 the Province of Particular Introduction is to Consider the Books of the Bible Separately...
CHAPTER XVIII. THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT AS A WHOLE. 1. The province of Particular Introduction is to consider the books of the Bible separately, in respect to their authorship, date, contents, and the place which each of them holds in the system of divine truth. Here it is above all things important that we begin with the idea of the unity of divine revelation--that all the parts of the Bible constitute a gloriously perfect whole, of which God and not man is the author. No amount of study devoted
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

"He is the Rock, his Work is Perfect. For all his Ways are Judgment. A God of Truth, and Without Iniquity, Just and Right is He.
Deut. xxxii. 4, 5.--"He is the rock, his work is perfect. For all his ways are judgment. A God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he. They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children. They are a perverse and crooked generation." "All his ways are judgment," both the ways of his commandments and the ways of his providence, both his word which he hath given as a lantern to men's paths, and his works among men. And this were the blessedness of men, to be found
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

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