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Micah

June 3, 2009

Background

I. Introduction Micah 1:1-2

II. The Near Future of Israel Micah 1:3-2:13

  1. What Will Happen                   Mic. 1:3-16
  2. Why It Will Happen                       Mic. 2:1-11
  3. Hope                                                 Mic. 2:12-13

III. The Present State of Israel Micah 3:1-12

  1. Leaders                       Mic. 3:1-4
  2. Prophets                         Mic. 3:5-7
  3. Sin                                 Mic. 3:8-12

IV. The Lord’s Plan for Israel’s Future Micah 4:1-5:15

  1. He Promises                Mic. 4:1-8
  2. He Preserves               Mic. 4:9-13
  3. He Prepares                 Mic. 5:1-5
  4. He Protects                  Mic. 5:5-9
  5. He Purifies                   Mic. 5:10-15

V. A Dialogue between the Lord and Micah Micah 6:1-7:20

  1. The Lord Speaks                                     Mic. 6:1-5
  2. Micah is Humbled                                  Mic. 6:5-8
  3. The Lord Continues to Speak            Mic. 6:9-16
  4. Micah Laments and Trusts God         Mic. 7:1-10
  5. The Lord Confirms                                   Mic. 7:11-17
  6. The Lord’s Goodness and Faithfulness    Mic. 7:18-20

Background

What we know of Micah comes from his prophecies. He was a contemporary of
Isaiah during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah over Judah. Exact dates
vary by scholar but if Isaiah prophesied between 760-673 BC, Micah prophesied
between 738-698BC or about 40 years during Isaiah’s 60 plus years and during
the collapse of the northern kingdom, Israel, in 722 BC and their subsequent
exile to Assyria.

Therefore, there is much similarity in the messages of Isaiah and Micah. Micah
is considered a minor prophet only because his writings were not as extensive
as the major prophets and because he lived in Moresheth-gath instead of Jerusalem.
Moresheth-gath is located about 30 miles SW of Jerusalem and midway between
Gath and Lachish, just east of Libnah. Micah would have been an observer of
Sennacherib’s invasion into Philistia and Judah in 701 BC.

One can speculate that during this period of God’s warnings to Judah that
He sent Isaiah to prophesy to the aristocrats in Jerusalem and Micah to prophesy
to the common people in the country. Micah definitely was in the middle of God’s
discipline toward Judah and much aware of God’s punishment of Israel for their
failure to acknowledge the Lord God as God Almighty. Therefore, Micah speaks
with much credibility. He also speaks distinctly. Today we would say he lacked
tack by speaking short and to the point. We need not guess what the Lord said
through His Prophet, Micah. He is very clear.

He prophesied to both Israel and Judah [Micah 1:1] and was quoted by Jeremiah
100 years later [Jer. 26:18]. Therefore, Micah’s prophetic influence radiated
beyond his immediate locale. The fact that he prophesied concerning the northern
kingdom, Israel, means his influence probably extended to Samaria.

Introduction                                           Micah 1:1-2

Micah means ‘Who is like the Lord” which gives us insight into his character
and allegiance. He was a righteous man and, therefore, God appointed him as
one of his special spokesmen. As stated in the Background, he lived and ministered
in Moresheth, about 30 miles SW of Jerusalem in a valley known for agriculture,
the same valley [but not the same area] where David slew Goliath. Micah prophesied
during the reigns of Judah’s kings Jotham [good], Ahaz [evil], and Hezekiah
[good]. Micah not only heard the Word of the Lord, he saw the Word of the Lord.
What was in his heart was also in his mind. Cause and effect, consequences for
ones behavior, became evident and real. Therefore, he calls all people [even
you and me] to listen to what the Lord has revealed to him. Perhaps Micah’s
revelation came during a pilgrimage to worship at the temple in Jerusalem and
comparing what he saw and heard in his heart with Isaiah.

The Near Future of Israel                         Micah 1:3-2:13

What will Happen                                   Micah 1:3-16

Verses 3-4 describe the suddenness and the power of the Lord coming to judge
Israel’s sin. The terrain changes, the heart and soul of the earth is revealed,
and a cleansing is taking place. These verses are probably a metaphor describing
the conquest of Samaria and Judah by Assyria under Shalmaneser [784-721 BC]
and Sennacherib [705-701BC] respectively. The cause of this devastation is sin,
worshipping idols and failure to worship in one’s heart to the one true Lord
God, the God of Israel. Note that even if Israel is split, God considers them
as one.

Therefore, judgment is pronounced against Samaria and the northern kingdom,
Israel. Samaria is laid bare, destroyed. Her idols and places of worship are
destroyed. Their “temple wages” will become the spoils of another
“pagan” nation, Assyria in this case.

Because of what will happen to Samaria, Micah also knows the same is destined
for Judah. Micah is not silent but bold and outrageous in his attempt to give
the Lord’s message to the people of Judah [vs. 8]. Micah realizes the people
are not listening and so they are not prepared in their hearts or in their cities
to resist disaster from the Lord’s hand. Lachish, evidently, was a source of
and influential in promoting pagan worship as being acceptable together with
worship in Jerusalem. In other words, their philosophy was to worship all gods
because we cannot be sure there is only one God. As a result of Judah disobeying
God’s first four Commandments, Micah exhorts them to mourn because their [Judah’s]
children will be exiled.

Our culture today is saddled with the same philosophies, that there is more
than one way to heaven and that there is more than one God. The most effective
way to combat that falsehood is to know the history of Israel, God’s chosen
people. Such a philosophy and practice is an abomination to God and He deals
with it. God is loving, full of mercy and grace, and patient. But God is also
just, righteous, and holy. He does not tolerate continuous unrepentant sin.
He punishes such. We are wise to evaluate our hearts against God’s Word. We
must acknowledge and confess our sin, repent, and worship Him as Lord God Almighty.
We must serve the Lord as did Micah and not as Samaria or Judah.

Why it will Happen                                             Micah 2:1-11

Judah has an opportunity to repent but they evidently refuse to listen to
the Lord through Micah. They may acknowledge Micah’s righteousness but they
don’t wish to follow him or heed his warnings. Therefore, Micah proceeds to
pronounce God’s woe and judgment on them. They refuse to repent and continue
to practice their oppression, deceit, and fraud on their fellow man. They are
in love with themselves and express no love for their fellow man or God. Therefore,
God has no choice but to remove them from their land. They are unworthy of possessing
God’s gift, His Promised Land.

The same is true for us. If we refuse to follow His Word and refuse to worship
Him as Lord and Savior, we are unworthy to enter His Promised Land, heaven.
We are no longer His Children and can not inherit His riches. He has not condemned
us as much as we have condemned Him. In modern terms, we have divorced God by
choosing to live in adultery. Think about it.

Micah’s prophecies are not popular. “Their prophets” is an open
term and could mean the false prophets in Israel/Samaria or the false prophets
of the rich and powerful which Micah has just finished criticizing in verses
1-5. My preference is both. Micah seems to consider Israel and Judah as one
nation, Jacob, in verse 7 when he challenges the false prophets saying God is
within His right and sovereignty to punish evil. In fact, Micah’s words encourage
the righteous because they see God as righteous and just.

Micah continues to point out the sins of Israel. They rob one another of their
wealth, drive women [widows] from their homes, and listen only to those who
support their actions and lifestyle. Therefore, they have defiled God and their
land and will be removed.

Hope                                                                    Micah 2:12-13

But Israel will be gathered together once again. It will be a remnant of those
cast out which will become many. They will be led by the Lord, their Shepherd
and King, their Messiah and Savior. What Micah envisions is the coming of the
Lord as Savior and King, Christ’s First and Second Advents with the flocks representing
His Children, the Church, and restored/redeemed Israel.

The Lord is a God who judges sin. He is also a God of love and mercy. He blesses
those who seek to follow Him, removing their sin, cleansing them, and calling
them His Righteous Children, His Sheep, gathered together and led out into the
peaceful pasture of eternal life. Are you one of His sheep? Do you know His
voice? Is He your Lord God, your Shepherd?

The Present State of Israel                                                 Micah 3:1-12

Leaders                                                                          Micah 3:1-4

Chapter 3 begins Micah’s second oracle, second speech, or second compilation
of prophetic utterances. He begins by pointing out the sinful actions of Israel’s
leaders, the leaders of Israel and of Judah. Perhaps this prophecy came just
before the fall of Samaria and during King Ahaz’s reign in Judah. Israel’s leaders
knew what was right but did evil. They preferred to oppress and destroy people
instead of acting justly. There will come a time when they cry out to God [during
the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions and resulting exiles] but God will not
hear them.

Prophets                                                                     Micah 3:5-7

The Lord through Micah gives His attention to the false prophets. They speak
on behalf of themselves and not the Lord. They will say what others want to
hear as long as they are paid. Therefore, God has removed all their insight
and will prove that what they prophesize is not true, thus bringing shame and
disgrace upon them.

Sin                                                                                    Micah 3:8-12

Micah declares that he is God’s prophet, filled with God’s Spirit. His words
are just and powerful, declaring the sins of Israel. Micah directs his charges
against Judah and Jerusalem. Judah’s sins of injustice, deceit, lies, murder,
bribery, extortion, and pride/arrogance are and will be the downfall of Judah
and Jerusalem. They are destined for the same fate as Israel and Samaria.

The Lord’s Plan for Israel’s Future                                    Micah 4:1-5:15

This is actually part of Micah’s second oracle but I have separated it out
as a main heading because of its importance to the whole message. Micah prophecies
that there is little or no hope for the present but there is much hope for the
future. Such is God’s plan for Israel. But one must also read this section and
apply it to all people of God, His Church. Israel is God’s chosen people but
so is His Church. We who have placed our trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord can
expect to be treated in much the same way as He is dealing with Israel. God
is faithful, patient, and consistent in addition to being just, righteous, holy,
loving, and merciful. He is the same today and forever. When reading this passage,
substitute The Church and/or your name for Israel and the majesty of God’ plan
will be revealed to you.

He Promises                                                    Micah 4:1-8

Micah leaves the present to discuss the future. Jerusalem [Mt. Zion] and specifically
the Lord’s temple [Mt. Moriah] will be the center of attention for all people,
not just Israel. People from all nations will come to the temple to hear the
Lord’s teaching from His mouth. The Lord, Jesus Christ, will be King of Kings,
judge and ruler over all nations, and will establish peace among all nations.
Fear among and between people will not exist. All nations will be ruled by the
Lord but not all will necessarily acknowledge Him as God [see Rev. 20:7-10].
But Israel will acknowledge the Lord as King of Kings and as their God. Israel
didn’t do that in Micah’s time nor do they do it now, but they will do it in
Christ’s Millennial Reign [Rev. 20:1-6]. Personally this is an admonition to
come before the Lord and hear His Word. It’s our call to read the Bible and
pray daily.

In that day the Lord will gather the lame, the oppressed, and the exiles [Jew
and Gentile believers] to Jerusalem and will be their King forever, in Jerusalem
for the Millennial Reign and in the New Jerusalem for all eternity. Thus, the
glory of God is restored to all the earth through His People, Israel.

He Preserves                                                     Micah 4:9-13

In the meantime, Israel/Judah is destined to leave the Promised Land for Babylon
because they have rejected the Lord as their sovereign King and follow their
own evil ways. Israel is not considered a great nation anymore but as a weak
nation ready to be conquered by those surrounding her. The Lord’s plan is to
allow Israel/Judah to be removed from their land in order to preserve a remnant
which will rise again.

He Prepares                                                     Micah 5:1-5

Jerusalem will be under siege but their king will not be harmed. This could
refer to Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem which touched the stability of Hezekiah’s
kingship or it could refer to the siege of Nebuchadnezzar when King Zedekiah
was blinded and taken into captivity. Personally, I think the language fits
the first option more than the second option but scholars disagree. Nevertheless,
verse 1 is set apart in contrast to Israel’s coming King from Bethlehem, Israel’s
King of Kings, the Son of God. He has no beginning for He is eternal. He is
the beginning [alpha and omega], Creator God.

Israel will not be a factor among the nations until their King is born and
until “the rest of his brothers” [The Church] join up with Israel
[see Rom. 11:13-25]. This happens when Christ comes to rule the earth, the Millennial
Reign. Some will interpret verse 3 to be the restoration of Israel as a nation
and the “brothers” as Israelites living in other countries. That is
a reasonable interpretation but I prefer my first interpretation because verses4-5
paints a beautiful picture of His Church and His Kingdom during the Millennial
Reign. As Christians today, our strength is in the Lord, our Lord’s name is
majestic, and He is worthy of our worship. We are secure in Him and able to
witness of Him to all people without fear because He has assured us of eternal
life with Him and has given us peace, forgiveness of sin, and a restored relationship
with God through His Son, Jesus Christ the King of Kings. What we as Christians
experience now is not available to the nation of Israel but it will be when
Israel accepts Christ Jesus as their Savior and Redeemer, their King. Today,
individual Jews can know the peace of God by accepting Jesus Christ as their
Redeemer but Israel, as a nation, is still abandoned by God awaiting their hearts
to soften and repent.

He Protects                                                                  Micah 5:6-9

Israel, Judah in this case, will be protected from the Assyrian thrust by
Sennacherib in their land. But exile is still very real and they will end up
being scattered among the nations. This is God’s plan for protecting and hiding
His fruitful remnant. This remnant will rise to prominence in these foreign
cultures. Just as Daniel rose to prominence in Babylon, God’s people will rise
to prominence in the nations and communities in which they live. We see this
today in the fields of finance, communication, science, business, and the arts.
World War II was caused by a conflict between egos and pride. Wars cease when
humility reigns in the hearts of men. True humility begins at the feet of Jesus
in worship.

He Purifies                                                                  Micah 5:10-15

A time is coming when Israel’s armies will no longer exist, their culture
will be destroyed, and their false religious practices will be wiped out. God’s
wrath will be poured out upon all nations who refuse to obey God. This was partially
fulfilled when Judah was conquered by Babylon but a more complete fulfillment
and destruction will come at Armageddon just prior to Christ’s millennial reign.
God’s plan is to purify Israel and purify the earth so He can rule in Righteousness.
We are to be given a taste of heaven on earth prior to a New Heaven and a New
Earth.

The Lord’s plan is in motion. God’s plan of getting our attention through
using discipline is active. His Son has come and has died for our sin. His Son
has returned to heaven but promised to return as King of Kings. And we who acknowledge
our sin before God, repent, and place our hope in Him live with His Presence
and His Peace in our hearts. We have been redeemed, we have been restored,,
and we have been secured unto eternal life with Him. Praise God for His love
and mercy toward those who seek Him, who desire to be His Children and called
by His Name, Israel.

In Chapters 4-5, God is:

  1. Promising a glorious future for His People.
  2. Preserving His People from His full wrath.
  3. Preparing His People to receive His Savior and King.
  4. Protecting His People from evil.
  5. Purifying His People unto Righteousness.

Thus, these two chapters represent the apex of Micah’s prophecy.

A Dialogue between The Lord and                                      Micah Micah 6:1-7:20

These two chapters are written in a different style from the previous five
chapters. They begin with “listen to the Lord” but it moves back and
forth from the Lord to Micah. Micah personally responds to the Lord on behalf
of himself and/or Judah [Israel]. Some scholars argue that these two chapters
were written by someone else. But to me this is an effective way to close his
message. It’s like the Lord saying:

  1. This is the situation.
  2. This is what I desire.
  3. This is what will happen.
  4. Now wait and have faith.

In between are Micah’s responses. He has done his job as the Lord’s prophet
and now places his trust in God and rests.

The Lord Speaks                                                                        Micah 6:1-5

The Lord challenges Judah [Israel] to defend their actions and attitude against
His accusations. Israel has been acting as if the Lord doesn’t exist or care
so the Lord defends who He is by reminding them of what He has done for them.
He miraculously redeemed them out of Egypt, blessed them on their journey, and
brought them into the Promised Land. In other words, the Lord is saying “Remember
My faithfulness and loving-kindness toward you”.

Micah is Humbled                                                                     Micah 6:5-8

Micah does remember and is humbled before the Lord wondering just what he
can do to respond properly to God. The Lord has enacted offerings of thanksgiving
and a blood sacrifice for atonement but that is of no value if one does not
act justly, love mercy, and walk with God. The festivals, offerings, and sacrifices
God implemented were for the purpose of changing man’s heart. If man does not
repent and humble himself before God, all the sacrifices he makes are of no
value. God wants our hearts [see I Sam. 15:22, Psalm 15:15-17].

The Lord Continues to Speak                                               Micah 6:9-16

Micah announces the Lord again, specifically to Jerusalem where Judah’s leaders
reside and rule. They have engaged in and approved of dishonest business practices
including violence, lying, and deceit. Therefore, God is removing His blessing
from them and giving it to others. In case they don’t understand the severity
of their disobedience and sin, God says they are no different than Omni or Ahab,
previous kings of the northern kingdom of Israel renown for their wickedness.
This is a very severe accusation by God against Judah and is the reason God
has chosen to turn them over to other nations. They no longer are worthy of
God’s blessings.

Micah Laments and Trusts God                                          Micah 7:1-10

Micah is literally flattened by the Lord’s judgment and feels as if he has
failed. He feels alone, like Elijah, and senses all is lost. Judah will continue
to decline and deteriorate with respect to obeying and acknowledging God. The
shedding of innocent blood, evil, extortion, bribes, and oppression will continue.
They will become more confused with respect to what is right and what is wrong
resulting in a degradation of trust even among family members. Dysfunctional
families were one of the indicators Jesus spoke of when describing the Last
Days in Matthew 24-25. It is a key defining element of a decadent culture.

The tone changes in verse 7 to one of personal trust and hope in God. Micah
acknowledges that the Lord’s accusations are correct and that He has every right
to exercise His righteous judgment upon Judah. But Micah also knows that God’s
purpose is to redeem and restore Israel and, therefore, pledges to remain faithful
and place his trust in God for his salvation and the salvation of Israel.

As a result, Micah seems to be speaking on behalf of Israel beginning with
verse 8. Verses 8-10 acknowledge God’s righteous judgment and acknowledge Israel’s
sin. Even though Israel’s enemies will gloat over the fact they have trampled
Israel and their God, Israel trusts the Lord as their light. What Micah experiences
in his heart in verse 7 will one day be experienced in the heart of Israel.

The Lord Confirms                                                              Micah 7:11-17

The Lord confirms His revelations previously given to Micah and proclaims
that Jerusalem’s walls and Israel’s boundaries will be restored. Jerusalem’s
walls have been rebuilt but we have yet to see Israel’s boundaries expand to
God’s original promise to Abraham and Moses. But that day will come when God’s
wrath is poured out on earth and when Christ comes to rule in the Millennium.
God will show them His wonders, all people will see His return to earth and
be ashamed, and Christ will reign over all nations. [Phil. 2:10; Rev. 1:7-8;
Zech. 12:10; Is. 45:23]

In the meantime, we who believe in the Lord are to remain faithful and shepherd
those who have placed their trust in God [vs. 14].

The Lord’s Goodness and Faithfulness                          Micah 7:18-20

Micah praises God for forgiving their sin and for showing mercy to Israel.
God is compassionate and loving toward His People, faithfully restoring them
as His People. Praise God!

So what is the Lord telling us in these last two chapters? Consider this:

  1. The Lord is just and judges sin.
  2. The Lord forgives sin and is faithful to those who seek His Will and obey His Word.
  3. The Lord is good, full of compassion, mercy, and loving-kindness.
  4. The Lord can be trusted to keep His Promises.

In addition, we have here a picture of a believer in prayer at the feet of
Jesus [Micah and the Lord]. Note the intimate fellowship between the two. Note
the submission of the servant to the Lord. Note the acknowledgment of the Lord’s
Will. Note the answers to prayer and confirmation by the Lord. And note the
final praise and adoration of the Lord by His servant. Seek to mold your own
prayer life to be similar to that of Micah.

Trust in the Lord.

Rest in Him, and

Praise His Holy Name.

Amen!

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