Micah is the prophesy of the fourth in the great quartet of eighth-century B.C. prophets, with Amos, Hosea,, and Isaiah, who preach against the idolatrous and unjust nations of their generation. Micah’s message is stern and uncompromising; judgement is to come soon for Judah.
Two key passages to look at:
Micah 6:8 – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 7:18 – “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.”
Observations about Micah
– Micah, called from his rustic home to be a prophet of God, leaves his familiar surroundings to deliver a stern message of judgment to the princes and people of
— Burdened by the abusive treatment of the poor by the rich and influential, the prophet turns his verbal rebukes upon any who would use their social or political power for personal gain.
— One-third of Micah’s book exposes the sins of his countrymen.
— Another third pictures the punishment God is about to send.
— And the final third holds out the hope of restoration once that discipline has ended.
— Through it all, God’s righteous demands upon the people are clear: “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8).
– Micah’s hometown of Moresheth Gath (1:14) was located about twenty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem on the border of Judah and Philistia, near Gath.
– Micah’s clear sense of prophetic calling is seen in 3:8 – “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”
– During the ministry of Micah, the kingdom of Israel continued to crumble inwardly and outwardly until its collapse in 722 B.C.
– The Assyrian Empire reached the zenith of its power and became a constant threat to Judah. This was done under the leadership of four of its strong kings.
1. Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 B.C.)
2. Shamaneser V (727-722 B.C.)
3. Sargon II (722-705 B.C.)
4. Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.)
– Babylon was still under Assyrian domination and would be until:
— It would rebel against Assyria in 626 B.C., some 96 years after the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 B.C.
— Then sixteen years later in 612 B.C., Babylon would overthrow Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians. (Approximately 150 years after God had spared the city of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah.)
— Thus, Micah’s prediction of future Babylonian captivity for Judah (4:10) must have seemed so unlikely at the time of his message.
– Micah exposes the injustice of Judah and the righteousness of Yahweh.
– About one-third of the book indicts Israel and Judah for specific sins including:
2. Bribery among judges, prophets, and priests
3. Exploitation of the powerless
– Another third of Micah predicts the judgment that will come as a result of those seven sins.
– The remaining third of the book is a message of hope and consolation.
— God’s justice will triumph and the divine Deliverer will come.
— True justice and peace will prevail only when the Messiah reigns.
– The “goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22) are illustrated in Micah’s presentation of divine judgment and pardon.
– Micah emphasizes the integral relationship between true spirituality and social ethics.
– Micah 6:8 summarizes what God wants to see in His people: justice and equity tempered with mercy and compassion, as the result of humble and obedient
relationship with him.
– The closing section of Micah describes a courtroom scene.
– God has a controversy against His people, and he calls the mountains and hills together to form the jury as He sets forth His case.
1. The people have replaced heartfelt worship with empty ritual, thinking that this is all God demands.
2. They have divorced God’s standards of justice form their daily dealings in order to cover their unscrupulous practices.
3. They have failed to realize what the Lord requires of man.
4. There can be only ne verdict—guilty.
– Nevertheless, the book closes on a note of hope. The same God who executes judgment also delights to extend mercy (7:18).
– No wonder the prophet exclaims in Micah 7:7 – “Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will
wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
Micah is the prophet of the downtrodden and exploited people of Judean society. He prophesies during a time of great social injustice and boldly opposes those who impose their power unto the poor and weak for selfish ends. Corrupt rulers, false prophets, and ungodly priests all become targets for Micah’s prophetic barbs.
Micah exposes judges who are bought by bribes and merchants who use deceptive weights. The pollution of sin has permeated every level of society in Judah and Israel. While the three major sections begin with condemnation, they all end on a clear note of consolation.
After sin is punished and justice is established, Micah 7:19 says, “He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast our sins into the depths of the sea
There are three major divisions in the book:
Micah begins his book by launching into a general declaration of the condemnation of Israel (Samaria) and Judah (Jerusalem). Both will be overthrown because of their rampant treachery. Israel was overthrown by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. while Judah was overthrown in 605 B.C. by the Babylonians.
In Micah 1:10-16, Micah uses a series of wordplays on the names of several cities of Judah in his lamentation over Judah’s coming destruction.
This is followed by some of the specific causes for judgment: premeditated schemes, covetousness, and cruelty.
Nevertheless, God will gather a remnant of His people (2:12-13).
Then the prophet systematically condemns the princes (3:1-4) and the prophets (3:5-8). He concludes with a warning of coming judgment.
Micah then moves into a two-chapter message of hope, which describes the re-institution of the kingdom (4:1-5), the intervening captivity of the kingdom (4:6 – 5:1), and concludes with the coming ruler of the Kingdom (5:2-15). The prophetic focus gradually narrows from the nations to the remnant to the King.
In His two controversies with His people, God calls them into court and presents an unanswerable case against them.
The people have spurned God’s grace, choosing instead to revel in wickedness. Micah concludes with a sublime series of promises that the Lord will pardon their iniquity and renew their nation in accordance with His covenant.