This is how the final chapter of Micah begins, “Woe is me!” Much of this chapter, as with previous chapters, pictures the lawless attitudes of those around the prophet. His words of lament describes aspects of life today. “The godly has perished from the earth,” he writes, and “there is no one upright … put no trust in a neighbour; and have no confidence in a friend” (Micah 7:2,5). Family life in Israel had broken down, “the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother” (verse 6). It was similar in the previous chapter, the “inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth” (6:9).

However, and this is remarkable, as with all the so-called minor prophets, the final message God gives them ends with a triumphant picture of ultimate blessing. This must have been a source of great encouragement to each prophet, as it is to those who read God’s word today.

Micah says, “But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me” (7:7). That is the power of a positive faith, this is the spirit we need and may need more and more, especially if we feel overwhelmed by events and we are tempted to cry, “Woe is me”.

The last verses indicate final blessings for God’s people, blessings for those who maintain their faith and who have sought repentance after failure. “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance … he will again have compassion on us” (verses 18,19).

May He have compassion on us too, for none is perfect, but if we, with Micah, “wait for the God of my salvation”, we can also say, “my God will hear me”.