Sermon preached by Joshua Dykes at the Flushing Church of Christ on May 7th, 2023
Good morning! It is good to be back with you here in Flushing. I hope all of you have had a good morning so far, and have been encouraged by the songs we have sung, prayers we have said, and the communion we shared. It is always a blessing to worship on the first day of the week, and I am just so happy that I get to be worshiping with my fellow saints in Flushing.
If you have your Bibles with you this morning, I invite you to turn to Micah 7. Again, we will be in Micah 7, and I want us to focus in verses 8-10 of this chapter. Micah 7:8-10… it reads:
“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her; Now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets.” (Micah 7:8-10 NKJV)
Jehovah is no fool, rather it is His enemies who are. In the Old Testament, the enemies of God’s people are fooled on several occasions. Whether it be He (with Moses and Aaron as His chosen instruments) leading the Hebrews across the Red Sea, only for the Red Sea to swallow up their enemies, the Egyptians. Or His providence shown through David, a small shepherd boy, slaying the Philistine giant, Goliath. God can fool His enemies. During Micah’s time, the nation of Assyria was growing more and more powerful. And because of Israel’s wickedness, God was going to allow Assyria to be the instrument for Israel’s demise. However, the Assyrians, who are wicked themselves, ought not be too haughty or proud. The time for their demise and destruction was to also come.
In this very passage, we have a glimpse of the gospel. This passage in particular is messianic in nature, and it points to the hope that we see within the New Testament. To make this study applicable as well as educational, I have divided this sermon into three different sections. In the first section, I will list the “Three Truths Concerning God’s Enemies.” After we have discussed the nature of God’s enemies as well as how He deals with them, we will then talk about “The Temporary Sting of Death.” We will see how physical as well as spiritual death is harmful to us, and how it is an enemy of God. And lastly, we will finish the sermon by considering and looking at “The Eternal Triumph of Christ.” So, will all of this being said, let us dive into our lesson for this morning.
Three Truths Concerning God’s Enemies
In my study of this passage, I have found that there are three truths concerning the enemies of God and His people. You may remember in a lesson I presented several months back, here in Flushing, that I talked about “God’s Pattern of Judgement.” There is a pattern to God, but there are also patterns to God’s enemies. These three truths and patterns of God’s enemies are not universal. These truths are only true if we are talking about His enemies triumphing over God’s people. These three truths are these:
- They Rejoice for a Time (v.8)
- They Taunt Both Us and God (v.10)
- They Face God’s Justice (v.9-10)
Let us analyze for a moment each of these truths. And I want us to analyze these truths in the context of a story found in Judges 16, when Samson was captured by the Philistines as a result of his sin.
This is the first truth- the enemies of God and His people rejoice for a time. There exists a moment of happiness for the enemies of God, though it is short lived. When God’s people are suffering, or it seems that God’s people have experienced a defeat, the enemies rejoice. When the strong man, Samson, broke his Nazarite vow, in Judges 16:20, the Lord had departed from Him. He had lost his strength and the Philistines, who were enemies of God and Israel, had captured him. In the midst of their victory over Samson, we see their pride and arrogance, and how they rejoice over Samson. Read with me Judges 16:23-24.
“Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice. And they said: ‘Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy!’ When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said: ‘Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, the destroyer of our land, and the one who multiplied our dead.’ So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, ‘Call for Samson, that he may perform for us.’”
Note here how the enemies of God are rejoicing because of their victory over Samson! Now, it wasn’t actually their gods who delivered Samson into their hands, rather it was Samson’s sin. However, the Philistines are happy and merry because one of Jehovah’s people has been delivered unto them. This is the nature of God’s enemy. He is happy once a man of God has to face the consequences of sin.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4, it is written that love does not rejoice in iniquity, but it rejoices in the truth. Your enemy is happy when you fall from God’s grace, and it is because your enemy hates you and hates God. God’s enemies love lies. And the enemies rejoice when one departs from truth and turns to the lies that exist in sin. The Philistines had to have been so happy that Samson had cut his hair, for Samson disobeyed God and had separated himself from the safety and power that God had provided him. There is another enemy of God. We will talk more about it later. An enemy that rejoices over the power that it holds over those who have separated themselves from God as a result of their sins.
The second truth is this: the enemies of God taunt us and they taunt God. In Micah 7:10, it is written,
“Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the LORD your God?’”
God’s enemies do not believe in, or do not not want to believe in, God’s sovereign presence. And if bad things happen to God’s people, or if God’s people are overtaken by temptation and sin, then the enemy boasts in the fact that it was they, not God, who had victory over you. The enemy taunts God and mocks Him by asking “Where was He when I defeated you?” “If He is really your God, then He must be weak if I was able to triumph over one of His people.” We know from history that Micah is saying this as a warning to the Assyrian king Sennacherib. And Sennacherib, according to 2 Kings 18, makes many mockeries against God. But, going back to the book of Judges 16, if you read verses 25-27, you see how the Philistines make a mockery over Samson. They force him to be in the midst of the people in the Temple of Dagon. And he is forced to stand there and “perform” while the Philistines mock him. Though they do not mock God directly, they credit their victory to their false gods in verses 23-24, which is a mockery of one the One True God. In Deuteronomy 4:25, we read that idolatry provokes God to anger. It is the action of giving glory due to God, but to an inanimate object. It is a taunt and mockery of God.
And the third truth is this: The enemies of God will face His justice. Now, we have to understand this – both the friends and allies of God will experience His justice. However, it works to the benefit of some, but to the downfall of others. Micah 7:9 reads…
“I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.”
Brothers and sisters, Micah had to bear the wrath of God. He had sinned against God, and therefore He had to face a punishment. We will talk about the punishment for sin shortly, but he was not exempt from it. However, Micah understood that God provides a way of escape to those who desire to leave the darkness of sin. God not only provides the way of escape, He “pleads our cases for us!” But it is different for the enemies of God, for the ones who desire to stay in their sin and to continue making a mockery of Him. The latter half of verse 10 reads…
“My eyes will see her (the enemy); now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets.”
God takes vengeance upon His adversaries (Nah. 1:2), and the ones who provoke His anger face the full, all-consuming nature of God’s wrath. In Judges 16, Samson understood the nature of his sin as a result of breaking the nazarite vow. He understood that he had to face a consequence. But he wanted to do one final act, and that was to deliver a crushing blow to God’s enemies – the Philistines. In Judges 16:28-30, we read of his prayer to God, and God gives him the strength to knock over the pillars of the Philistine temple killing all who are inside. And though all who are in the temple are killed, only one man there went out in an admirable way, and that was Samson. He killed more by destroying the temple than he did in His entire life! And in Hebrews 11:32, Samson is mentioned in the Hall of Faith. He went out of this life victorious in God’s judgment, whereas the Philistines died as enemies.
The Temporary Sting of Death
I want us to spend a few minutes talking about the Temporary Sting of Death. The last two parts of my sermon for this morning are going to be much shorter than the first part. So don’t worry, I will help us get out on time.
Samson tasted the sting of death. Moses tasted the sting of death. David tasted it, Paul tasted it, and even Jesus Himself tasted it. Death is the final enemy of God, and we read of this 1 Corinthians 15:26. God has many enemies on this Earth and in the Spiritual realm of hell, but the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Everyone dies. The only two individuals we know of scripture to have not died is Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) – for reasons unknown to us, God saw it fit for these men to not see death. Death was permitted by God to be an instrument for our demise as a result of sin. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a NKJV). Death was allowed a victory over us because of our sins. There was only one individual who died because He was a perfect man and thus had to be the sacrifice for others’ sins, and that is Jesus Christ. We will talk more about Him in a minute. However, everyone who lives has an enemy, and it is in contrast to life.
In Psalm 55:4, the psalmist states…
“The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow.”
It was almost as if death was torturing and taunting the psalmist. Just as Samson was surrounded by the Philistines in the temple of Dagon, and the armies of Sennacherib against the city of Jerusalem, death had taken over the mind and soul of the psalmist. In Romans 7:24, Paul writes…
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Death rejoices in our defeat, and it loves when we can look back at ourselves and we can just consider how wretched we are. And it hopes that we will consider how hopeless and desolate our souls and attitudes are, and that we will just give in. But brothers and sisters, that is not what Samson did. That is not what David did, or Hezekiah, or Daniel, or many others in scripture who were guided by God. Our God fools the enemy. Those who ally themselves with God put themselves into powerful and caring hands.
The Eternal Triumph of Christ
And this brings me to the last part of our lesson for this morning- The Eternal Triumph of Christ.
Death indeed does enjoy a victory over humanity, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), thus all will face a physical death. Nonetheless, its victory is short-lived for those who are in Christ. Death has power over us, but God conquered it through the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).
The only way to fool death is to rise from it! Christ did something that only deity could do and that was make Himself come alive again physically. However, through the power of God, we too can rise again in a spiritual sense. “Death is swallowed up in victory,” it is written in 1 Corinthians 16:54b. Therefore, our enemy should not rejoice over us. God has fooled it into thinking it won one over us, but in fact He gave us victory through Christ.
Because of Christ, we can be buried with Him in baptism in the element of water (thus dying to self), and we can rise again (Christ defeating death on our behalf) to live for Him (Romans 6:5-11). Christ rose once, and He is coming again! And we wait with anticipation for Christ to come again, and for death to be defeated once and for all for those who are in Christ.
If you are here this morning, and you have not been put into Christ, I urge you to give yourself to Him. Be washed of your sins, and let Him have victory in your life. God has fooled death, why don’t you become His friend today so you can have everlasting life? And if you are a Christian, yet your life is headed towards a path of darkness and destruction, please let God be a light to you. Repent and confess your sins so you have forgiveness and a renewed conscience. If you have any need, any need at all, please come forward as we stand and as we sing.