"The Twelve"

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Micah means "Who Is Like Yahweh" but carries the implication of "one dedicated to Jehovah the incomparable God" (K&D). The title given to this book is Crisis and the Christ since the burden of the book deals with the spiritual crisis of Israel, while foretelling of the Messiah and thereby offering hope in the divine promise. The bulk of the prophecy addresses social injustice and the spiritual infection of Israel. Micah serves as an attorney testifying and leveling evidences against Israel for her crimes against God.

Coming from a productive agricultural area (Moresheth; cf. Micah 1:1, 14), Micah did not engage in much discussion concerning political matters, rather his main focus centered on concern for suffering people.

Topics: Punishment/Retribution (1-3); Promise/Restoration (4-5); Pardon/Repentance (6-7)

People in positions of social and political power and influence were abusing the poor and incapable:

  • False prophets → riches
  • Princes → cruelty, violence, corruption
  • Priests → sordid gain, greed
  • Landlords → lorded over the poor, took advantage of widows
  • Judges → bribes
  • Businessmen → deceitful scales and weights
  • You can’t trust anyone! Even in your own household!

Judgment on the People (1:2-2:13)

  1. Samaria (2-8)
  2. Judah (9-16)
  3. Cause of Judgment (2:1-11)
  4. Promise of Future Restoration (2:12-13)

Judgment on the Leadership (3:1-12)

  1. Princes (1-4)
  2. Prophets (5-8)
  3. Prophets cry “peace” yet they should be speaking judgment
  4. Promise of Future Judgment (9-12)

Sin characterized the chosen people. Approximately 1/3 of the book exposes the sin of Micah’s countrymen. Every segment of this covenant society had become corrupted; a word from the Lord was mandatory.

ESV Micah 3:8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.

Injustice an Indication of Covenant Infidelity

The prophets do not call for mere behavioral modification. Their indictments are not merely ethical, social, or even moral, they are indictments against covenant faithfulness. Social injustices are therefore seen as evidence of spiritual infection, illness, impurity. The whole book emphasizes the integral relationship between true spirituality and social ethics. Do not lose sight of the heart of such indictments.

Justice is presently absent, but is promised to come. As an attorney, Micah issues a legal case against Israel concerning their covenant. Notice the courtroom terminology:

“hear” → 1:2; 3:1, 9; 6:1, 9

ESV Micah 1:7 All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces, all her wages shall be burned with fire, and all her idols I will lay waste, for from the fee of a prostitute she gathered them, and to the fee of a prostitute they shall return.

ESV Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

ESV 1 Kings 16:29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. 31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.

ESV Micah 5:14 and I will root out your Asherah images from among you and destroy your cities.

ESV Deuteronomy 23:17 "None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute. 18 You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.

Key Verse

ESV Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Judgment and Justice

Justice is terribly lacking and the Lord promises to act in judgment. He also points to an even greater dealing with justice as He alludes to the justice that will follow His judgments. This ultimately finds its ground, hope, and fulfillment in Christ.

ESV Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

ESV Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.

ESV Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

ESV Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

ESV Isaiah 38:17 Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.

ESV Jeremiah 31:31 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

ESV Jeremiah 50:20 In those days and in that time, declares the LORD, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

ESV Psalm 130:3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

ESV Isaiah 43:25 "I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

ESV Ezekiel 18:30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?

ESV Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

ESV Matthew 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Christ

The thought of justice brings to mind a just ruler and king. Though David has long since past, Micah clearly anticipates a greater David! The origins of this greater David are anchored in Bethlehem just as David. However, the greater David is from “days of old”—He is anchored in the ancient promises made to David and precedes David.

ESV  Micah 2:12 I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. 13 He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the LORD at their head.

ESV  Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. 3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. 4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. 5 And he shall be their peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; 6 they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land and treads within our border.

ESV  Micah 7:14 Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, who dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.

 

ESV Micah 7:8 Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.

ESV Psalm 30:1 A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple. I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

ESV Isaiah 42:7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

ESV Isaiah 49:9 saying to the prisoners, 'Come out,' to those who are in darkness, 'Appear.' They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture;

ESV Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Chapter Summaries

Ch. 1: Yahweh is a witness against Israel because of her rebellion; Micah laments for coming judgment

Ch. 2: Woe to those who plan and do evil; Indictments, a call to righteousness, and assurance

Ch. 3: Israel's leaders rebuked and false assurance denounced

Ch. 4: The promise of days to come of peace, righteousness, and Yahweh's dominion over all the nations

Ch. 5: Yahweh's Ruler and Shepherd to come from Bethlehem; Vengeance upon the disobedient nations

Ch. 6: God's indictment against Israel; A call to humility and a righteous heart; God's justice will avenge

Ch. 7: Micah's convictions and expectancy upon Yahweh; The gracious character of Yahweh will prevail

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