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!