Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.
Another minor prophet who prophesied during the chaotic reigns of the kings before the destruction of Israel and Judah, Micah, like most other prophets, talked largely about judgement/destruction of Israel and Judah, the idea of restoration of God’s people to God, and does not leave out the important task of prophesying about the Messiah as well. Micah 7:8 is a brief introduction to the next verse, which has stronger implications to that idea of falling and rising – sinning and forgiving, breaking and restoring – Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my caseand establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness [Micah 7:9].
In this verse, the prophet speaks of falling as a certainty, and together with the certainty of falling, the prophet speaks of the certainty of rising. This verse is crucial in linking falling and rising together – intricately together. Often, we have the tendency to speak of rising and falling as opposites – if we’re talking about rising, we wouldn’t talk about falling. If we’re thinking about falling, we wouldn’t think about rising. Even if we do, it would be about how to prevent falling when you’re rising. With amazing confidence, Micah declares that the rise will come.
Do not gloat over me, my enemy! – in the context of the political situation then, the term ‘enemy’ could refer to the Edomites [Psalm 137:7], or the Assyrians, or the Chaldeans, or the Babylonians. When will an enemy gloat over you? When you’ve fallen; when you’re pathetic; when you’re weak. In this world, the ‘law’ of the survival of the fittest is naturally seen in many instances – and as humans, it is natural to gloat at your enemy, whom you loathe, whom you battle with, who caused you misery, who you wish to be rid of – it is natural to mock them when they’re weaker than you. It is understandable. It is logical. It’s almost like a vicious cycle – today you gloat at me, tomorrow I gloat at you. But Micah doesn’t stand for this logic. Don’t gloat at me, he says, because while I’m fallen today, I will rise soon enough. It is a certainty. After you fall, you will rise. Because there’s God. While the world teaches us it’s natural to gloat at our enemies, the Bible tells us otherwise – Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice [Proverbs 24:17].
Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light – perhaps a unbelieving person will also believe that after falling from heights, the time to rise will come. It’s the nature of life that we’re so accustomed to – a life with ups and downs. But that wasn’t what Micah meant. He didn’t meant that because he had fallen, he will one day, naturally, rise again. Instead, to rise is a certainty even before one has fallen. We fall so that we can rise higher. If we find ourselves in dark circumstances, it is fine, because we can immediately think of rising again – because God is our light.
How dark are your circumstances today? Maybe they’re dire, maybe they’re manageable. The idea of light and darkness is an analogy often used in the Bible. Darkness do not exist – it is merely a term used to describe the absence of light. And if God is light, then if we find ourselves in dark circumstances – it is merely an indication that we need more of God’s presence to light up our lives. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned [Isaiah 9:2].
Though I have fallen, I will rise – this is a bold statement to make, but Micah says this with great faith and confidence. He will surely rise. Israel will surely rise again. Jerusalem will surely rise again. I can give you a hundred little reasons to why Micah was so confident. But I can also summarize those hundred little reasons into a single word – ‘God’ – “Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When men fall down, do they not get up? When a man turns away, does he not return? [Jer 8:4]
We have a tendency to strive to prevent ourselves from breaking apart. Brokenness. Yet, we fail to recognize that at times, complete failure is necessary. Sometimes, we need to fall down the cliff. Falling is a certainty in order to rise up higher. Sometimes, falling may be a good thing – especially if you have been stuck in stagnancy. Imagine you’re pulling a zipper, when you’re suddenly stucked in the middle. What would you do? If you keep trying to pull it forward, it probably wouldn’t tug – you’d at most spoil it. But if you try pulling it back first, you’ll discover when you pull forward again, that little spot that once trapped you would have disappeared. A lot of times we don’t realize we’re falling until we’ve almost hit the ground. Well, when you find yourself falling, remember Micah’s confidence and say ‘I will rise’. After all, God is here, and he is our light.
Micah wasn’t much different from the other prophets in that, after talking at length about judgement and destruction, about all the bad things that the people have done, they always end by talking about restoration, prophesying about a better future, and thus providing hope to the people. When you fall, you will rise. Think of them together, and that will provide you with some hope. When you rise, you will fall too – think of them together, and that will keep you down to earth. Falling is a certainty, but rising is a guarantee – because we have God. Because rising is a guarantee, the enemy’s gloats and slander will mean nothing to us, for, even if we’re down today, we will still rise up tomorrow.