Micah was from Moresheth-Gath, in southwest Judah. He prophesied during the reigns of kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah. He predicted the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions that would cause the fall of both Samaria (capital of the northern kingdom of Israel) and Jerusalem (capital of the southern kingdom of Judah). He showed how the sins of idolatry, rebellion against the God of the covenant, corruption and exploitation of the vulnerable would lead to God’s inescapable and painful judgment. The form of the oracles delivered by Micah was that of a lawsuit where Micah is the prosecutor and the surrounding mountains are the silent judges. The faithless rulers and false prophets in Jerusalem would be judged for perverting justice. Yet God graciously includes the promise of the birth of the coming Messiah — a ruler for Israel “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” who will come out of Bethlehem. Micah adds the assurance that God will forgive and restore His people as He keeps His covenant promise to Abraham. Who is a God like Yahweh – Holy, Righteous and Forgiving?
PRESENT JUDGMENT / FUTURE DELIVERANCE — WHO IS A GOD LIKE YAHWEH?
DESPITE PERVASIVE COVENANT DISLOYALTY WHICH BRINGS NECESSARY JUDGMENT, YAHWEH STANDS ALONE AS A GOD OF FORGIVENESS
AND LOYAL LOVE WHO WILL YET DELIVER HIS PEOPLE AND PROVIDE THE SHEPHERD-KING TO REIGN IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE
Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? ”
3 ORACLES OF PROMISED JUDGMENT AND FUTURE DELIVERANCE
Each introduced by a call to attention: “Hear” – 1:2; 3:1; 6:1
(:1) INTRODUCTION: THE BURDEN OF THE PROPHET
I. (1:2 – 2:13) ORACLE #1 — WHO IS A HOLY GOD LIKE YAHWEH – AWESOME IN JUDGMENT
A. (1:2 – 2:11) PROMISED JUDGMENT –
THE SINS OF IDOLATRY AND REBELLION AND EXPLOITATION BRING INESCAPABLE AND PAINFUL DESTRUCTION
B. (2:12-13) FUTURE DELIVERANCE —
EXPECTATION OF THE REGATHERING OF ISRAEL AND THE REIGN OF THE MESSIAH – THE SHEPHERD-KING
II. (3:1 – 5:15) ORACLE #2 — WHO IS A RIGHTEOUS GOD LIKE YOU – DEMANDING AND IMPLEMENTING JUSTICE?
A. (3:1-12) PROMISED JUDGMENT —
THE LORD WILL TURN HIS BACK ON HIS EVIL HOLY CITY WITH ITS EVIL RULERS AND FALSE PROPHETS WHO PERVERT JUSTICE
B. (4:1 – 5:15) FUTURE DELIVERANCE –
JUSTICE WILL REIGN SUPREME IN THE COMING KINGDOM UNDER THE SHEPHERD/KING = THE MESSIAH
III. (6:1 – 7:20) ORACLE #3 — WHO IS A FORGIVING GOD LIKE YOU – COMPASSIONATE IN LOYAL LOVE?
A. (6:1 – 7:6) PROMISED JUDGMENT —
THE LORD BRINGS INDICTMENT AGAINST HIS PEOPLE FOR UNJUSTIFIED PERSISTENCE IN WICKEDNESS AND EXPLOITATION AND VIOLENCE
B. (7:7-20) FUTURE DELIVERANCE –
THE PROPHET EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S FUTURE BESTOWAL OF FORGIVENESS, RESTORATION AND BLESSING
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• To make us more sensitive to injustice around us and teach us to practice justice and kindness towards others.
• To expose religious hypocrisy.
• To enlighten us regarding future events in God’s prophetic program regarding both the First and Second Comings of Jesus Christ.
• To instill fear where judgment is appropriate and hope where restoration is appropriate.
• To appreciate the uniqueness of our God.
• To celebrate God’s immutable faithfulness to His covenant commitments.
James Boice: The minor prophets largely convey a message of God’s judgment . . . in Micah’s case the message of judgment was heeded, repentance followed, and the disaster was postponed for a century. . . In coming to Micah we should be encouraged to learn that one man did make a difference. . . The preaching of Micah about the impending judgment of God bore fruit during the reign of King Hezekiah, whose story is told in 2 Kings 18-20. . . Hezekiah’s was not the only reign during which Micah prophesied. In fact, he tells us at the beginning of his book that the Lord spoke to him during three succeeding reigns: those of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The first two reigned for sixteen years each. So at the very least, assuming that Micah began his work in the very last months of Jotham’s reign and that the revival came in the very first months of Hezekiah’s reign, Micah preached for sixteen years without succeeding. It is more likely, indeed highly probable, that there were twenty or twenty- five years of work before the awakening. . . Never give up.
J. Vernon McGee: For many this is the favorite of the Minor Prophets. The writing is pungent and personal. Micah was trenchant, touching, and tender. He was realistic and reportorial — he would have made a good war correspondent. There is an exquisite beauty about this brochure, which combines God’s infinite tenderness with His judgments. There are several famous passages that are familiar to the average Christian. Through the gloom of impending judgment, Micah saw clearly the coming glory of the redemption of Israel.
Warren Wiersbe: Jeremiah 26:18 informs us that it was the ministry of Micah that encouraged the great reformation in Judah under the leadership of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:20). Society in Judah was rapidly changing from rural to urban. In defiance of the Law of Moses, wealthy investors were buying up small family farms and developing huge land holdings, which created serious problems for the poor. . .
Having come from a farming community, Micah championed the oppressed poor and rebuked the “robber barons” for their selfishness. Micah saw the coming judgment of the Northern Kingdom under Assyria (722) as well as the fall of Jerusalem and Judah under the Babylonians (606-596). He sought to call the Jews back to faithful worship of Jehovah and sincere obedience to His covenant, but they refused to listen. He pled for social justice and a concern for the helpless, but the people would not repent.
Morgan: The message of Micah centers around the subject of authority. The prophet arraigned and condemned the false authority of those who had departed from the true standards of government, whether princes, prophets, or priests. This the prophet did by showing the influence of prostituted power and the judgments which resulted: “Zion – ploughed; Jerusalem – heaps; the mountain – the high places of a forest.” The hope of the nation, according to this prophecy, was in the coming of a Ruler to Israel. The great central statement of the prophecy is this, “This man shall be our peace,” and the restoration of order that would follow the coming ruler: the mountain of the Lord’s house established; from Zion, instruction going forth; from Jerusalem, the Word of the Lord. Then the nations around would flow in and share in the blessing. In His establishment all false confidences are to be destroyed (5:10-15).
JUDGEMENT FOR SIN (Ch. 1-2)
Judgment (Ch. 1)
False Prophets (Ch. 2)
JUDGEMENT AND SALVATION (Ch. 3-5)
Leaders Condemned (Ch. 3)
Kingdom of God (Ch. 4)
Deliverer from Bethlehem (Ch. 5)
COVENANT CONTROVERSY (Ch. 6-7)
Israel’s Guilt (Ch. 6)
Hope for Israel (Ch. 7)
Doug Goins: Micah’s prophesies in this little book focus on two characteristics of God: the fact that he is a God of justice and judgment, but also a God of mercy, hope and grace. He is a God who delivers his people from the hopelessness of moral failure. Micah emphasizes God’s undeserved grace, and keeps repeating the fact that God’s salvation, his initiative in saving us, is unstoppable. God finishes what he starts in saving his people. We clearly see this in the theme verse at the end of the book:
” Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love” (Micah 7:18).
Now if that is true, and Micah was convinced it was, then in response, our lives as God’s covenant people ought to reflect his character. We ought to relate to people the way God does. Our lifestyles should reflect fairness toward others in human relationships; loving, steadfast, covenant- loyalty to God and a willingness to walk humbly and thoughtfully before God. Perhaps the most famous verse in Micah, chapter 6, verse 8, sets forth what God requires of us.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?