The Book of Micah
By Charles Box,
God Will Punish Samaria and Judah
– Micah One –
Micah was a prophet of God. He was contemporary with Isaiah in the eighth century before Christ. He prophesied in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. One of the most famous Old Testament verses is found in the book of Micah. Micah 5:2 says, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." This prophecy was quoted to Herod by the rulers of the Jews to provide guidance for the wise men from the east. Micah pointed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This is an important book because it was "the word of the LORD that came to Micah." (Micah 1:1) The prophet called upon the people to hear and hearken unto the message of the Creator. The prophet's teaching was designed to call people to repentance. He wanted the people to see how terrible their sins were in the eyes of God. The seriousness of sin is observed as God spoke to man from His holy temple. Judgment was coming because of the idolatry of the people. "For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth." (Micah 1:3)
Micah wrote to warn Israel of God's impending judgment upon the people of for breaking His covenant and turning to idolatry. He likewise gave a similar warning to Judah. They were just as guilty as Israel and would be judged on the same terms. God's justice and love are observed as He disciplined the nations and His own people. The prophet also gave proof that God is concerned about the spiritual restoration of His people. He is willing to receive them back if they repent. Micah pictured God as the sovereign Lord of the earth that controls the destinies of heathen nations and of His own people, Israel.
The Lord's word concerning Samaria and Jerusalem -- Micah 1:1-4:Micah's message came by revelation of God. It was given to him when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah. It was a message concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. The book of Micah is a part of the inspired word of God. Micah understood the message that he had received from God and he delivered it faithfully to the people. Micah gave the order for the entire population of Samaria and Jerusalem to listen careful to what God had spoken. Micah gave the picture of God calling the people of Israel and Judah into court as He accused them from His holy temple. God had made a covenant with Israel but that had not followed his covenant. He asked them and other nations to defend themselves for breaking His law.
God is a living God but many people pay no attention to Him. His coming judgment on these nations should be an example to the entire world. He came down and crushed underfoot every pagan altar. The pagan altars were called "high places." His judgment is described in the words, "And the mountains shall melt under Him and the valleys shall be cleft like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place." The Bible says of Hezekiah, "He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses." (2 Kings 18:4-6) God will come to punish sin and the nations should tremble.
The Lord's word concerning Jacob -- Micah 1:5-7: God's judgment was coming because "of the terrible sins of Israel, the descendants of Jacob. Samaria had led Israel to sin, and pagan altars at Jerusalem have made Judah sin. "The idol worship of Samaria was the ruin of the nation. God’s prophet boldly accused Israel of breaking their covenant with God. The leaders of the nation had not led the people to serve God. The leaders of the southern kingdom were also wicked. They and the nation lived in opposition to God. Israel had made an agreement to obey God but they did not keep their covenant.
The Lord promised to leave Samaria in ruins. It would be like an empty field where vineyards are planted. It would become just a heap of rubbish. God promised to throw down all their houses and to break all their images into pieces. He had been like a husband for Israel and Israel had acted like a spiritual prostitute. They had left the one true God to worship and serve all kinds of false gods. The result of serving these gods was that Israel made images and did all kinds of evil and sinful things. The Assyria army would take away Israel into captivity and claim her wealth for her own.
Micah wept over God's judgment -- Micah 1:8-12: Samaria's wickedness had spread even to Jerusalem. It was so heart breaking to Micah that he said, "I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and virtually naked; I will make a wailing like the jackals and a lamentation like the ostriches." Sin always spreads and always has a destructive effect on others also. Micah shared God's feeling concerning the horribleness of the sins of the people. Micah made use of word pictures with the name of the cities near Jerusalem. The message was "do not tell" God's message in this city that its name sound like "tell." Do not weep in a city where the name sounds like "weep." Do not roll in the dust in a city where the name means "house of dust." It was the custom of that day to roll in the dust to show complete despair and helplessness. Years before David said "Do not tell it in Gath" after Saul and Jonathan had died. (2 Samuel 1:20) He did not want the Philistines to be happy about their victory over Israel.
Micah likewise felt deep pain that the Assyrians would rejoice in their victory over Israel. These people would be taken away in nakedness and shame. Their enemies would have no concern for them. Their God cared and they did not even appreciate His concern. No one would step forward to neither assist Israel nor protect Judah. Trouble would come instead of any good news. The people became bitter and had no hope. These people hope for peace and help and none would come because they had left God. God would use the wicked nation of Assyria to carry out His judgment against His people.
God's nature demands anger against sin -- Micah 1:13-16: God said, "Get the war chariots ready, you people of Lachish. You led Jerusalem into sin, just as Israel did." Lachish was a strong city about four miles from Micha's home. The army that was there, even with their strong chariots, could not defend the land against the Assyrians. The army of Assyria was being sent by God to punishment His disobedient people. The people in Lachish had trusted in the army instead of God. Now the army will provide no help. In our own self-centeredness we forget about our need for God. As a result of God's judgment upon them Lachish will have nothing left.
The people of Mareshah were important people that ran away from the Assyrians and hid in order to spare their lives. They were like David hiding in the cave of Adullam as he ran from Saul. (1 Samuel 22) It was time to shave their heads and be bald as they started their distress and mourning. They would mourn because their children and other citizens would be taken away into captivity. God did not want to punish the people of Samaria and Judah. He wanted them to obey His laws. But they refused to honor and serve Him. The result was that they would face the severe punishment of which Micah spoke.
Let us arise with hearts filled with repentance and serve God. You must become a child of God and stand strong in the faith. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17); believe in Jesus (John 8:24); repent of sins (Romans 10:9-10); and be baptized into Christ (1 Peter 3:21). After baptism give Satan a fight!
A Promise of Punishment and Hope
– Micah Two –
Micah chapter two describes the sins of covetousness and the sin of pride among God’s people, Israel. God hates all sin; He especially hates premeditated sin. The people to that Micah spoke to were guilty of the sin of devising iniquity. Their greed and covetousness caused them to oppress their brethren. God had freed Israel from oppression but now they abused and enslaved each other. Many do their evil deeds under the cover of night. The evil of Micah's day was in broad day light and even in the courts of the land.
Micah gave us some deep insight into the nature of sin. Some do not practice sin because it is not in their power to sin. They are not in the place where they could commit the sin. The "faithfulness test" comes when it is our power to sin but we honor God anyway.
The people devised iniquity against God. As a result of the iniquity that they devised against God, He would bring disaster upon them. The pride of the people or their haughtiness led to their rebellion against God. The evils of the people would bring God's judgment upon them. The people would be brought low and they would no longer walk haughtily. The judgment that would come on Israel would be that they would be conquered by Assyria. Their land would be taken from them just as they had taken the land from others.
Sadly, the people looked at the words of God's prophet as mere babbling. He preached for around twenty years with little or no results. Finally during the reign of Hezekiah the leaders and the people finally repented. Micah exposed both the sins of the people and the lies of the false prophets. Following the message that he delivered for God would bring the people peace, rest, and restoration to the Creator. The remnant of Israel would enjoy God's promises of restoration.
Punishment for evil doers -- Micah 2:1-3: God told these people that they were doomed for their premeditated sins. God hates all kinds of sins but He especially hates planned sins. The people of Israel and Judah would lie on their bed at night making plans to do evil. When the morning came they followed through on their corrupt devices because the opportunity to do so was there. The evil person meditates on evil while the righteous "delight in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." (Psalm 1:2) The evil was plotted, planned and performed by a people full of greed and all kinds of evil.
These evil people, much like Ahab and Jezebel, would by violence and dishonesty take a person field. These inheritances were not for sale but they would "grab any field or house that they wanted; they cheated families out of homes and land." These fields would be taken by violence just as Naboth was murdered so that Ahab might have his vineyard. (1 Kings 21:1-16) God warned the people that their evil would bring His judgment upon them. He said, "Behold, against this family I am planning a disaster from which you cannot remove your necks, nor will you be able to walk erect; for it will be an evil time." A failure to repent would cause both Israel and Judah to be punished by foreign nations for the purpose of correcting their wrongs.
Ruined because of continual sin -- Micah 2:4-5: A lack of repentance brought God's most sever judgment against Israel. When that day of judgment arrived it would be a sorrowful day. Sad songs would be sung in which the people would lament the fact that they had been ruined by their sins, "Ruined! Completely ruined! Remember, these people had in evil ways taken this land from others. Now God will remove the land from them! He will divide their fields to the rebellious Assyrians, their captors. These sad songs are like the lament in Psalm 137. "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
These rebellious people would never again have a plot of land like they had enjoyed in the past. God said, "You will never again own property among the Lord's people." The reason that they would have no more inheritances is because there shall be no inheritances to divide. Someone else will own that land. There will be no courts left to do titles or to determine ownership of the land. There will be no one to cast lots for the land as in the days of Joshua. All the land would belong to their enemies. Sin always brings horrible consequences.
A rebuke for sin -- Micah 2:6-11: The people did not like to hear God's prophet giving such unpleasant predictions. They said to the man of God, "Do not preach, say the prophesying false prophets; one should not babble and harp on such things; disgrace will not overtake us." The Old Testament events dealt with by Micah were very similar to New Testament predictions by Paul. He wrote by inspiration, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:3)
These people claimed that the Lord did what He did to Israel just because He was angry. However, He wanted it understood that they were very mistaken about that matter. God always blesses those that do right and punishes those that do evil. The people had become God's enemies because they had "stolen clothes right off the backs of unsuspecting people as they passed by." They were so heartless that they took houses belonging to women in the land and cheated their children out of the inheritance that comes from the Lord. Those that are greedy of material gain often take advantage of those who cannot protect themselves. These crooks were not fit to dwell in the land that God had given His people. "The very place where these gains were made was polluted with the corruptions of idolatry and for that reason the nation was doomed to be overthrown." Israel did not want to hear the message of God's prophet. He said, "The only prophet you want is a liar who will say, "Drink and get drunk!"
A promise of Hope -- Micah 2:12-13: The subject quickly changed as the Lord predicted the restoration of the remnant of Israel to their homeland. He promised, "I will gather them, just as a shepherd brings sheep together, and there will be many." These promises were practically fulfilled when the Jews were brought out of Babylon. Later the complete fulfillment came through Jesus and His spiritual kingdom. In the fold of God these people are safe under the shepherd's eye and under His care. They shall make great noise as a very large flock or herd would do. God's powerful promise said, "I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely collect the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture. They shall swarm with men and hum with much noise." (Micah 2:12)
God promised that He would use Cyrus and the Persians to break down the gate and to lead His people out of bondage. Likely it seemed to them that God had deserted them or cast then off. Instead He will claim them as His own, be their head, and help them through all the difficulties as they return home during the deliverance. It was God that gave deliverance and blessed Israel as they returned home. It is likewise God that blesses us and gives us deliverance from sin when we allow Jesus to be Lord of our life.
Let us arise with hearts filled with repentance and serve God. You must become a child of God and stand strong in the faith. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17); believe in Jesus (John 8:24); repent of sins (Romans 10:9-10); and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism be strong in the service of the Lord!
You Hate The Good and Love Evil
– Micah Three –
God had a cause against the leaders of His people. Instead of leading in a godly way they were very violent and wicked. God spoke to all the people, but leaders have both a special accountability and responsibility to God. God said of the leaders, you "hate the good, and love the evil." The leaders were just pushing the people deeper and deeper into poverty, consuming them like cannibals eating the flesh of people. This figure should have awakened the conscience of the people.
Sadly those leaders and the people remained in their sins. When they cried out for help God did not and would not hear them. (Psalm 66:18, Proverbs 28:9) If you are living in sin and cry out to God for help with some difficulty you should only expect silence. The promise to the obedient is that God will make His face to shine upon His people. (Numbers 6:24-26) Here the prophet says concerning this disobedient people, "God will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them."
Micah expressed God's anger against the false prophets that spoke to His people. These false prophets said they brought peace and comfort to God's people when in fact they brought neither. God said, "The sun shall go down over the prophets." The false prophets would be carried into captivity. The day of restoration that would give comfort to others would be a day of darkness and calamity to them. Micah, God's true prophet, was contrasted with those false teachers. He was full of power by the Spirit of the Lord. He was on God's side. He spoke of and he spoke by the power of God. The Old Testament prophets had the job of exposing sin. Micah was no different. The warning from Micah could easily be spoken to the people of our day. "The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us?" (Micah 3:11) The leaders and the people had a false confidence. Judgment was coming and they felt that they were right with God when that was not the case at all. The people of Judah responded to the preaching of Micah. A great revival came in the days of Hezekiah.
The sins of the princes -- Micah 3:1-4: In a simple, but very sad statement God said, "They love evil and hate good." Micah encouraged the leaders to listen to God. The princes were unjust and godless people that consumed others. Under such conditions they could never expect the Lord to answer their prayers. They would cry to Him but He would not hear because of their wickedness. You cannot continue to practice evil deeds and expect the Lord to answer your prayers. It is a sad commentary on a nation when the leading men of that nation, whether religious men or politicians are corrupt. These men are people that should have known how to act with good judgment, but in this case they had taken advantage of the unfortunate people for years.
The leaders were not righteous examples to the people. They preferred to do evil instead of what was right. Their mistreatment of the people caused God to say, "You skin my people alive. You strip off their flesh." This is the same picture as of Micah 2:8 when an innocent person passed by and they robbed him of his cloths and possessions. These wicked rulers devoured the goods, and livelihood of their brethren. The idea of breaking their bones was that of a bear or a lion attacking a defenseless lamb. They were very greedy for themselves and did not care who they hurt in the process. The time would come that God would bring judgment upon those wicked people. They would cry in vain for mercy. "Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard." (Proverbs 21:13) Their wickedness put them in such a horrible spiritual state that God would not hear them.
The sins of the prophets -- Micah 3:5-8: The prophets declared peace when there was no peace. The very ones that should have helped the people walk with God caused them to err. These false prophets only served themselves. They were lying prophets that promised security for anyone that gave them food, but disaster for anyone that refuses to feed them. God promised a time of judgment to come upon Judah and Israel. It would be a time when he would take away prophetic abilities. Instead of being a time of spiritual light there would be darkness.
The false prophets had been selfish and abusive. God promised them that the time would come when they would have no message from Him. They would be in darkness. Simply stated God's message to the false prophet was, "You will live in the dark, far from the sight of the sun, with no message from me." (Micah 3:6) The false prophets would blush and cover their mouths because they had nothing to say. Micah, in contrast with the false prophets, was God's faithful prophet empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. It was by inspiration of God that Micah declared to Israel and to Judah their sins.
The sins of the leaders of Jerusalem -- Micah 3:9-11: In a scathing rebuke Micah wrote about the injustice of rulers and love of money of prophets. He said, "You leaders accept bribes for dishonest decisions. You priests and prophets teach and preach, but only for money. Then you say, "The LORD is on our side. No harm will come to us." (Micah 3:11) Micah urged the heads of the Judah and Israel to heed the message of God. These people had been so evil and then they even said they would not be judged for their actions because God was with them.
These leaders abhorred right judgment. This attitude resulted in a perversion of all fairness in dealing with others. They had made "cruelty and murder a way of life in Jerusalem." Jeremiah 5:31 gives the same description, "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" Micah tells us that the prophets are false prophets for the love of money. "They even pretended to believe that the Lord would preserve them from all harm in spite of their inconsistent lives."
Frightful judgment against Jerusalem -- Micah 3:12: The evils of these people had brought things to such a point that both Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed. "Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest." (Micah 3:12) God told those evil leaders, "because of you, Jerusalem will be plowed under and left in ruins. Thorns will cover the mountain where the temple now stands."
These are the words quoted in Jeremiah 26:18 "Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest." In those days the people repented and changed their lives, and so the execution of this threat was prevented, and did not come at that time. It is the wickedness of those that preside in the nations that bring them to ruin.
Let us arise with hearts filled with repentance and serve God. You must become a child of God and stand strong in the faith. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17); believe in Jesus (John 8:24); repent of sins confess (Acts 17:30); confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10); and be baptized into Christ. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism give Satan a fight! (Revelation 2:10)
Learning the Ways of God
– Micah Four –
The mountain of the Lord's house that was established in Jerusalem was the church of Christ. Isaiah and Micah were contemporary. God inspired both of them to write and identical message. Isaiah wrote, "The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:1-4) With the eyes of a prophet Micah sees God's word going forth from Jerusalem to bring men and women to salvation.
The Savior resolves conflict between individuals and nations. The Messiah and His message changes the hearts and actions of people. Micah wrote, “Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." This is not a peace where people have been beat down with the sword but the peace where people have been lifted up with the gospel. In the church or kingdom of God people will be free from ignorance because "He will teach us His ways." In the kingdom or church there will be perfect peace because "Neither shall they learn war anymore." There will be freedom from want because "everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree." And all fear will be gone because "no one shall make them afraid." You will enjoy great blessing and peace if you live your life for the Lord.
In most cases the prophet first talks about the physical kingdom of Israel and the makes application to the spiritual kingdom or church. However, Micah talked about the church and then moved to discuss the restoration of physical Israel. God promised to take the lame and outcast and make a nation out of them. There would be glory for the nation, but it would only follow severe pain. A part of the pain that the nation would experience had to do with a lack of leadership. They had no king or counselor to direct the way. Many nations would oppose Israel but God would deal with the enemies of His people. The Lord promised that when he restored the Jews form Babylon that He would give them power.
The Lord house established in Jerusalem -- Micah 4:1-3: The Lord promised that His kingdom would be established in the last days or latter days. "But in the latter days it shall come to pass that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains; and it shall be exalted above the hills, and peoples shall flow to it." (Micah 4:1) Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17 both refer to that same time when the church or kingdom of Christ would be established. The last days refer to the last days of the Jewish dispensation spoken of in Daniel 2:44. "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." People from many nations will flow into this kingdom. Concerning the birthday of the church Acts 2:5 says, "And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven."
People from many nation gladly receive the word, are baptized and are added to the church. (Acts 2:41, Acts 2:47) Those that make up the kingdom are those that have accepted and obeyed the law of the Lord. This law is elsewhere called the gospel, the faith or the truth. Those that are saved will be those that are willing to obey God. "He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (Hebrews 5:9) Micah said that in the kingdom "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah 4:3) This is not a prediction that carnal warfare will cease after the kingdom of Christ is established. The Christian dispensation is strictly religious. Christians will not resort to the material sword for any benefit. The sword that they will use is the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17)
Walking in the name of God -- Micah 4:4-5: Here God describes the spiritual safety and the security that a citizen of Christ's kingdom will enjoy. "But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it." (Micah 4:4) Citizens in the kingdom of Christ find rest and they are able to live in peace. This is a certain promise because it is a solemn promise of the Lord All-powerful.
Christians make a genuine commitment to God. Other people may follow their gods, but Christians will always follow the Lord our God. Even though people from every race will be in the kingdom the majority of mankind will never follow God. Some will follow their gods and their wicked life styles but Christians will honor the Lord our God.
The Lord will redeem His people -- Micah 4:6-10: Many times the prophets of God talked first about the physical kingdom of Israel and then moved to talk about the spiritual kingdom, the church. Here Micah reverses the order. He had first talked about the spiritual kingdom or church and now he moves to discuss the restoration of physical Israel from captivity. God gave several predictions through Micah concerning the return of Israel from bondage. "That day" is a well-known term in the Bible. Context usually has to be considered to determine what day is meant. Here it is easy to see that the day under consideration was the time of the return from captivity. God said of the remnant that would be brought back, “I will gather my people, the lame and the outcasts, and all into whose lives I have brought sorrow." The Almighty had used the heathen nations to inflict the chastisement on His disobedient people. God said, "The lame and the outcasts will belong to my people and become a strong nation."
Jerusalem was to be the tower
for watching over God's physical kingdom. God had dominion over the same Jewish
nation at Jerusalem before. Now He will rule over the nation again.
While in captivity the Jews were in
sorrow. They were crying like a woman in childbirth with no king or counselor to
God gave two certain promises to His people. First He promised that they would go into captivity. "Keep on groaning with pain, you people of Jerusalem! If you escape from your city to the countryside, you will still be taken as prisoners to Babylonia." Second, god promised that when the time was right He would bring the remnant out of captivity. "But later I will rescue you from your enemies."
The heathens did not understand God's plan -- Micah 4:11-13: It is sad when people take pleasure in the misfortune of others. However, there were many nations that surrounded Israel that said, "We can hardly wait to see you disgraced." There are many today that would love to see the church of Christ disgraced in some way. But those nations were going to learn that the Lord would rescue His after the proper chastisement had been given.
The heathen nations misunderstood the Lord's dealings with His own people. They thought He had turned away from them. They now thought that they were and would enjoy God's favor. They were so mistaken about what God had in mind. He promised that He would gather them to grind them like grain. He would smash them to pieces. God called the Jews, "O Zion." This was a term of love and endearment that God used for His people. God promised complete devastation to those nations that He had used to chastise His people. He said to the Jews, "I will let you be like a bull with iron horns and bronze hoofs. Crush those nations and bring their wealth to me, the LORD of the earth." Let us learn that both individuals and nations are better off to follow God.
Let us arise with hearts filled with repentance and serve God. You must become a child of God and stand strong in the faith. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Romans 10:9-10), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21). After baptism give the Devil a fight!
The Messiah Will Come From Bethlehem
– Micah Five –
The sin of Israel had caused the nation to fall into disgrace. The enemies would now come and it would do no good for Israel to gather her troops because God had departed from her. The enemies would prevail and smite Israel. When they were taken into captivity the leaders of Israel would be treated shamefully. Their idolatry, dishonesty, acceptance of bribes and disregard for the poor would be punished severely. Lest the people should feel "total despair" for the nation the Lord promised the coming of the Messiah. God promised, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting." (Micah 5:2)
Jesus existed in eternity as a member of the Godhead. He came to this earth as the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16) The psalmist wrote of Jesus, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalm 90:2) Jesus existed even before Abraham. (John 8:58) He came to the earth as Savior of the world. (Matthew 1:21) He is head of His church, the spiritual kingdom or spiritual Israel. (Ephesians 1:22-23) Bethlehem signifies or means the house of bread. No place could be more fitting for the birth of "the bread of life" than this place. (John 6:48) At the fullness of time the Lord Jesus was born of a woman at Bethlehem. God provided spiritual restoration through the Messiah. The Messiah would bring peace, but more than that He is peace. (Ephesians 2:14)
Micah also pictured a time when Israel would go into captivity in Assyria. This captivity by the Assyrians would come shortly. At the end of seventy years a remnant of Israel would be restored to their homeland with God's blessings. At the end of the captivity God would raise up strong leaders to bring His people home. When God decided to bring the remnant home it would be a wide spread deliverance, like dew upon the ground or like rain upon the grass. His deliverance would not only be wide spread but it would also be strong, like a lion. When He delivered His people God would execute vengeance upon the nations that refused to hear His message. As the Jews were restored to their homeland God would cut off things that had separated his people from Him in the beginning. The Jews would not bring back idolatry with them as they returned from captivity.
Promises concerning the Messiah -- Micah 5:1-4: Zedekiah was the last king of the separate kingdom of Judah. He had been placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had even changed his name from Mattaniah to Zedekiah. Zedekiah constantly rebelled against Babylonian power. Jeremiah, speaking on behalf of the LORD, rebuked him because God had brought the Babylonian invasion because of the sins of the Israelites. (Jeremiah 32:3) Nebuchadnezzar personally led his army against Jerusalem. Jeremiah repeatedly communicated the Lord's message that resistance would result in disaster. Jeremiah was right. The city, its walls, the Temple and the great buildings were all destroyed. Everything of value and the best of the people were taken to Babylon. Zedekiah's sons and best friends were killed, right before his eyes and then his eyes were put out. He was taken to Babylon to die of old age in prison. There he fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel 12:13 that said that he would go to Babylon and die there, but never see it. Seventy years later the people would return as God preserved the nation through whom the Messiah would be born.
In a time when things seemed hopeless God gave the people renewed expectation by again promising the coming of the Messiah. What would happen to physical Israel was horrible. Destruction would come. However, what would happen for spiritual Israel was beautiful, the Savior would come. He would be born at Bethlehem Ephratah. Micah 5:2 is a prediction of the birth of Jesus. (Matthew 2:6) Just as deliverance would come for spiritual Israel when the time was right for the Savior to be born, likewise deliverance would come to Israel from Babylonian captivity when the time was right. The number that returned was "forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore." (Ezra 2:64) The Messiah would lead His people to salvation. Likewise God would raise up leaders to bring the remnant back from captivity. They were to do this in the name of the Lord or by His power.
Protection for God's people -- Micah 5:5-7: The children of Israel would spend seventy years in captivity as promised by the Almighty. God promised that He would raise up, "seven shepherds and eight princes among men." This is a prediction that the Lord would not allow His people to be retained forever in exile by the Assyrians. He would raise up men to lead Israel back home. Among those leaders were Ezra and Nehemiah. The name Nimrod appears in connection with Assyria because the nations can be traced back to him. (Genesis 10:9-11) God's people would be taken into this horrible captivity, but when the time was right He would deliver them and preserve the nation through which the Messiah would be born.
A few of Jacob's descendants would survive being carried into captivity. They would be scattered among the nations. God said that they would cover the earth like dew and rain. Sunshine, dew and rain all come through the bounty of God. The dew is a small thing and the gentle rain is a small thing but the influence of both is great. The remnant that would be brought back would also be small but because of the Messiah descending through them their influence would be great.
Power belongs to God's people -- Micah 5:8-10: Micah used a very vivid illustration to show the power of God among the nations. His people were not to be violent like a wild and strong lion among the nations. However, the remnant was likened to a lion in a flock of sheep to show the power of God among His people and among the nations. The enemies of God's people would be destroyed. He said, "Your hand will be lifted up above your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off." (Micah 5:9) Israel's worst enemies were those that led them into idolatry. The seventy terrible years in captivity cured the problem of idolatry among God's people.
Before their captivity the Jews had reached a point where they felt no need for God. They depended on their cavalry instead of God. God said, "I will cut off your horses on which you depend from among you and will destroy your chariots." In days of old God had warned, "But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way." (Deuteronomy 17:16) They would have no need of a cavalry or army because God would fight for them.
Purposing to remove iniquity -- Micah 5:11-15: God told them that they would not have nor need their fortified cities. It was not that cities were wrong but that those cities had been places where they had devoted themselves to the service of idolatry. It was also in those cities that the people decided that they did not need God to control their lives. Instead they felt that they were doing quite well on their own. God, not some fortified city, would be their protection. He would be their single focus for worship and service. God's desire was that the people seek help only at His hand. So we have the promise that He would cut off witchcrafts and sorceries and that there would be no more soothsayers.
God also told the people that idolatry would be cut off. The idea of serving a thing as a god that was made by your own hand is the height of nonsense. The people had not been content to worship the true and living God. He was invisible. They wanted gods that they could see so they made gods of wood, stone and metal. Isaiah wrote, "I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." (Isaiah 1:25) Obviously a grove of trees is not wrong but they even took certain groves and turned them into places of idolatrous worship. Their groves were symbols of false gods. Both the cities and the groves that had been used for idolatrous worship would be destroyed. God promised furious revenge to be poured out upon the nations that refused to obey Him and that led His people into idolatry.
Let us arise with hearts filled with appreciation for God sending the Savior. The most important thing in your life is to become a child of God and stand strong in the faith. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30) Confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism be strong in the service of the Lord! (Matthew 10:22)
God Had a Quarrel Against His People
– Micah Six –
It was God's desire that the entire world hear Him as He spoke about the controversy that He had against His people. He told Micah to speak as if He was in a court of law pleading God's side of the case. He wanted the people to understand what was right and what was wrong. God challenged the people to testify against Him and prove any bad thing that He had done against them. He asked them what He had done to have made them tired of Him.
God could not understand why they were so rebellious against Him. He had been so good to them. He had delivered them from the slavery of Egypt. He provided leadership through Moses, Aaron and Miriam. Even when Balak king of Moab hired Balaam to curse God's people, God turned his curse into a blessing. (Numbers 22-24) Still the people rebelled by not appreciating and honoring God. God had blessed His people from "Shittim unto Gilgal." "Shittim" was the place of Balaam's wicked counsel. "Gilgal" was the place of Israel's first encampment in the Promised Land. (Joshua 5:2-11) The Lord saved His people many times, but still they were ingrates.
God message seemed to somewhat get the attention of the people. Some asked, "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord?" They appeared to be willing to offer an immense number of sacrifices, or very expensive offerings or even to offer their own children. They said that they were willing to give anything that God wanted. There was really no need for them to ask what God required. He had shown them a long time before this. "And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul." (Deuteronomy 10:12) God wanted the people to love and obey Him, and to show justice and mercy to their fellow man!
The people were dishonest, deceitful, violent and full of lies. They would now see the words of Leviticus 26:26 fulfilled. "And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied." God warned them that they would sow but would not reap. The curses came straight out of Deuteronomy 26 and Deuteronomy 28. God was saddened that the statutes of Omri were kept. Omri was father of Ahab. It was he that had arranged the marriage of Ahab to Jezebel. Those were the two that brought Baal worship into Israel. Therefore the statutes of Omri were statues of Baal.
The Lord's Challenge to His People -- Micah 6:1-5: God called upon Israel to present any complaints that they might have against Him in the presence of everyone. Micah moved from his prediction of the remnant returning from the captivity to again discuss God complaint against Israel because of their unfaithfulness. He called upon Israel to defend her conduct before the whole world. The Lord's message to the people was, "Come and present your case to the hills and mountains." The Lord's complaint against Israel would be made just as publicly as any defense that Israel could make. The sad truth is that there is no defense that this ungrateful nation could make. God called upon His people to name any way that He had mistreated or wearied them. Of course they could name only good things that God had done.
Israel could offer no legitimate complaint against God. Instead they could only name things for which they should have been grateful. After 430 years in Egypt, a part of which time was spent in servitude, God brought them out as a free people. He gave them good leadership in the wilderness in the form of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Moses dealt with the application of God's Law. Aaron was the spokesman. Miriam encouraged the people with her songs. God likewise reminded them how He had turned the evil conspiracy of King Balak of Moab and Balaam son of Beor into something good for Israel. Near the end of the journey through the wilderness Israel was confronted by these two evil men. Balaam was a prophet that had become wicked. He hired out to Balak to curse God's people. However, God turned his curses into blessings. Each time he tried to curse the people God caused him to bless them instead. What complaint could Israel have against God?
God required true obedience -- Micah 6:6-8: Not many in Israel had any interest at all in being an honor to God. It seems, however, that some few in Israel asked, "What offering should I bring when I bow down to worship the Lord God Most High? Should I try to please him by sacrificing calves a year old? Will thousands of sheep or rivers of olive oil make God satisfied with me? Should I sacrifice to the LORD my first-born child as payment for my terrible sins?" We would all do well to remember that outward sacrifice means nothing if the heart remains corrupt. Israel did not need to ask or wonder what God required. He had previously said, "And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul." (Deuteronomy 10:12)
The requirements of God are simple, (1) See that justice is done, (2) love mercy and let it be a major concern in your life, and (3) humbly obey your God. The presence of these attitudes would then have allowed their animal sacrifices to have been acceptable to God. God showed man "what is good." The Law provided many shadows of the coming Messiah. This good should have kept Israel focused on God. Justice and mercy are valuable characteristics to God. Through the prophet Hosea He said, "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6) What could be more valuable than a humble walk with God where one prays, serves and watches. Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." (Luke 11:42)
God was displeased with cheating and violence -- Micah 6:9-11: A wise man will listen to and obey the voice of Jehovah. He is the Lord and it makes sense to respect His power. He has power to bless and He has power to punish. He especially appealed to Jerusalem to hear and learn from the chastening rod of the Almighty. God charged them with talking about honoring Him and at the same time storing up things gotten by dishonest means. "Are there not still treasures gained by wickedness in the house of the wicked, and a false measure for grain that is abominable and accursed?" Amos said the people want the worship to quickly be over so that they could get back to their dishonest business dealings. They said, "When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?" (Amos 8:5) God expects more than lip service and partial obedience!
God could not tolerate their wrong. "Can I be pure Myself, and acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights?" If God accepted or tolerated their evil deeds He himself could not be pure. The purity of Jehovah demanded punishment for their evil deeds. The purity of God led Him to say, "But I, the LORD, will punish you for cheating with weights and with measures." We often think "no one will find out." But God knew exactly about their deceitful weights and now they will face the deserved punishment.
Idolatry destroyed the nation -- Micah 6:12-16: God levied some serious charges against the rich. The charges were made not because they were rich but because of how they obtained the wealth. He said, "For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth." (Micah 6:12) These people were guilty of (1) violence, (2) lies, and (3) deceit. The people were also guilty because they failed to rise up and come to the aid of the helpless. Jeremiah wrote, "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jeremiah 5:31) God promised the common people punishment for their sins. "Because of your sins, I will wound you and leave you ruined and defenseless." Both the leaders and the people would feel the wrath of God.
God promised many sad lines of punishment that would be brought upon His disobedient people. "Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword." (Micah 6:14) God promised, (1) You will eat, but still be hungry, (2) You will store up goods, but lose everything, (3) You will be captured in war, (4) You will not harvest what you plant, (5) You will not use the oil from your olive trees, and (6) You will not drink the wine from grapes you grow. These things literally came true when the people were taken into captivity.
Sadly God promised, "For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people." (Micah 6:16) God said, "But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him. For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities." (1 Kings 16:25-26) Omri's legacy is one of great evil. "He must be remembered as the progenitor of four sovereigns whose capacity for evil was unmatched: King Ahab, King Ahaziah, King Jehoram, and Judah's Queen Athaliah." Omri evil had continued to Micah's day. He spoke of it in the present tense even thou this was at least 150 years after the time of Omri himself.
Let us arise with hearts filled with repentance and serve God. You must become a child of God and stand strong in the faith. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins, (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:27) After baptism give Satan a fight by keeping strong and faithful! (Revelation 2:10)
Micah's Prayer and God's Answer
– Micah Seven –
Micah could not find one good man among the Jews that would be merciful and good to their fellow man. At one time David wrote, "Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men." (Psalm 12:1) The "prince," the "judge," and the "great man” were all guilty. They did evil with both hands earnestly. They conspired to carry out all kinds of evil. Those that should have been godly leaders of the people were no less than a brier or thorn; pricking with injury those that came in contact with them.
Times were so treacherous that God warned them not to trust friends, counselors or even their own wives. God had warned, "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you." (Deuteronomy 13:6-11) The only one that can be trusted and looked up to in all situations is God.
While in Babylon Israel should patiently endure the punishment being meted out because of sin. Even though the people were facing physical punishment God wanted it to be a time of spiritual renewal. The walls were broken down, the city and the land was desolate, but under Cyrus, after seventy years in captivity the Jews were restored to their homeland. God did not forget the Jews in this strange land. Micah prayed for God to bless and deliver His people. God would do marvelous things in restoring His people to their home land. Many, in fear, would turn to the Lord for salvation. Gratefulness for the promised future for Israel caused Micah to offer strong praise to God for His greatness and goodness. Micah knew that the people could count on God to be faithful to His promises.
Israel was very corrupt -- Micah 7:1-7: The people of Israel were incredibly wicked, but Micah still had strong confidence in God. He was dreadfully sad with the conduct of God’s people. He described his feelings with a vivid word picture. He felt like someone coming to glean in a vineyard only to find that the last grape had already been picked. There was nothing left to eat; no grapes or any of the delicious figs. He searched for good and honest people and found none. He only found those that wanted to take advantage of others and even to kill them. The people did evil with both hands. Judges and leaders demand bribes, and rulers cheated people in the court. These people planned to do evil and God especially hates a conspiracy to do wrong.
The best of them was worse than a thorn patch. The day of God's Judgment and their punishment had come. They would now face perplexity and confusion. The prophet warned them not to believe anyone, even a close friend or advisor. They were even warned to be careful what they said to their wife. He warned that sons think that their fathers are fools. Daughters refuse to obey their mothers. "A man's enemies are the people who live in his own house now." Similar things would take place in the gospel age. (Matthew 10:34-36) Micah advised the people not to trust their nearest kin but to trust in God. He said, "But as for me, I will watch for what the Lord will do. I will wait for God, who saves me."
Israel turned back to God -- Micah 7:8-13: The nation of Israel had fallen exceedingly low. After a time of repentance and spiritual growth God would raise them up again. Things might have been dark but a brighter day was coming. God would continue to punish Israel until proper punishment had been made for sins. After that He would make things right for His people and punish the cruel nation that had been so harsh to His people. God punished Israel for her sins and after a time of repentance on the part of the people He pleaded their cause against their enemies. This would cause them to understand that God always does what is right. The cruel nation that had punished Israel would be ashamed for ever asking, "Where is your God?"
The time would come when the captivity would end and Israel would be restored. At that time the walls of the cities would be rebuilt and the borders of their country would be much wider. The fulfillment of this promise is recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The remnant would come from Assyria, Egypt and from all over the earth. The heartbreaking thing is that the people would suffer greatly because of their sins before this time of restoration came.
Micah's Prayer and the Lord's Answer -- Micah 7:14-17: Micah prayed that God would rule and lead His people. He requested that God would "let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old." Years before the Assyrians had taken these places, but at the end of the captivity Israel would be allowed to live there again. God would again take care of His people after they have gone through the terrible time of captivity. The Almighty brought Israel out of Egypt and He would deliver them out of Babylonian confinement. In delivering those from Egypt He did tremendous things and He would do great things for His people again.
When God brought the remnant back they were a comparatively small group of people. However, the heathen nations would see what God did for Israel and they would be ashamed. They would recognize that their armies were helpless against the power of the Almighty. They would be in shock. They would be like deaf and dumb people that can neither speak nor hear. The fear of the Lord God would cause these nations to come trembling before Him, crawling out of their fortresses like a snake out of its hole. These nations would lick the dust or face total humiliation. They would be forced to respect the supremacy of the true and living God.
There is no God like the true God -- Micah 7:18-20: Micah said that there is no God like the true and living God. God chose Israel to be His people, the people that He would use to bring the Messiah into the world. He forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage! God will not always be angry with His people, because He delights in mercy and loving-kindness. "The most wonderful feature of God's treatment of his unfaithful people is His willingness to forgive them." The expression, "He will subdue our iniquities" has special reference to how their idolatry was cured by captivity. God loved these people. He loved to be kind to them. He trample on their sins and threw them in the sea.
Micah knew that Israel could depend upon God because of the promises that He had previously made. "Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old." (Micah 7:20) God had promised to the patriarchs that He would build a great nation through whom the Messiah would be born. God had specifically made these promises to Abraham and to Jacob or Israel. God would "perform the truth to Jacob." He would keep the promises that He had first made to Abraham and later renewed to Jacob. (Genesis 12-25) Our God is a faithful God; He is full of loving-kindness and mercy.
Let us arise with hearts filled with repentance and serve God. You must become a child of God and stand strong in the faith. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Romans 10:9-10), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37) and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism be strong in the service of the Lord!