18Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. 19You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. 20You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.
Dr. Mike Bagwell said this:
Micah's ministry, it appears, bettered with age. His preaching, no doubt running parallel to his living, deepened and matured with time.
Many believe we can see such spiritual growth even in the great Apostle Paul's life and preaching.
If you're having trouble with this concept, think back to the life of Jacob. God even changed his name in accordance to his spiritual progress! At first he was the "supplanter," that's what Jacob means, really implying a "crook" or "thief!" Then, as the Spirit of God molded and shaped him, he began to live like "Israel," his new name! That is, one who is a "prince" of God! Or, as an old preacher said, one who is "princed" by God, really meaning "ruled" by God!
Looking at our walk as our ministry can we say that? We get a little better every day. I’d like to think we try. We get to the point where we try and demonstrate grace where perhaps a few years earlier we demonstrate judgement or ridicule or criticism.
Let’s look at the name of "God" used here. In Hebrew it is "El," a shortened form of Elohiym. Basically meaning "strength, power, might!" It is usually plural, emphasizing the Trinity we believe. But here it's singular.
So, our God is "mighty," even "almighty" or omnipotent, but also He is gracious and loving and kind and forgiving! So the very first question in that verse has a very simple answer. Who is a God like you? Anyone want to throw and answer out there….NOONE!
God is unique…there is simply no one like Him.
Here’s another really cool point. At least it was for me. The word sin or inquity and the word transgression is used in verse 18 and both are addressed individually. I found this interesting. I hope you will too. In verse 18 the King James uses the word iniquity instead of sin. So what is the difference.
Let’s try this one out…. Transgression refers to presumptuous sin. To transgress is to choose to intentionally disobey; transgression is willful trespassing. Samson intentionally broke his Nazirite vow by touching a dead lion (Numbers 6:1–5; Judges 14:8–9) and allowing his hair to be cut (Judges 16:17); When he did that was committing a transgression. It was an act of willful disobedience. He didn’t get up that morning and say “I’m going to get a haircut…if it kills me…(it did by the way)David was referring to this kind of sin when he wrote, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1). When we knowingly run a stop sign, tell a lie, or blatantly disregard an authority, we are transgressing.
Iniquity goes deeper. Iniquity refers to a premeditated choice; to commit iniquity is to continue without repentance. David’s sin with Bathsheba that led to the killing of her husband, Uriah, was iniquity (2 Samuel 11:3–4; 2 Samuel 12:9). Micah 2:1 says, “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.” In David’s psalm of repentance, he cries out to God, saying, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).
Simply put…If I choose in the moment to run a stop sign because no traffic is coming it is a transgression. If I plan on running that stop sign every time I come to it. It is iniquity.
Here’s another really cool point. At least it was for me. The word sin or inquity and the word transgression is used in verse 18 and both are addressed individually. I found this interesting. I hope you will too. The verb for “Pardons” as in pardons our iniquity is the Hebrew word nasa meaning to lift up and take far, far away. So might I suggest a simple memory trick to help us truly understand what God’s pardon means for us. When we seek forgiveness from God…think about NASA (you know the rockets, space shuttles etc.) Thinking of our sins being place on a rocket…lifting off and taken far away into outerspace to never be seen again.
Does that help?
This is God demonstrating His grace. If we could only adopt that thinking…our church would explode with people coming to get that kind of grace.