Book of Micah
|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS||
The ministry of Micah occurred during the reigns of Jotham (742–735 BC), Ahaz (735–715 BC), and Hezekiah (715–687 BC), although it is unlikely that he was active as a prophet during all of that time. He lived through a time of great change in Ancient Israel and Judah, and during his ministry the northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered and the people exiled by the Assyrian Empire.
Micah ultimately brought a message of hope despite judgement.
In Miach, God can be seen to have a character of
- Compassion and mercy, for example in Micah 7:18-20
- Who is a God like you, who pardons iniquity, and passes over the disobedience of the remnant of his heritage? He doesn't retain his anger forever, because he delights in loving kindness.
- He will again have compassion on us. He will tread our iniquities under foot; and you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
- You will give truth to Jacob, and mercy to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.
- Holiness, for example in Micah 1:2-4
- Hear, you peoples, all of you. Listen, O earth, and all that is therein: and let the Lord Yahweh be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
- For, behold, Yahweh comes forth out of his place, and will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.
- The mountains melt under him, and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like waters that are poured down a steep place.
- Justice, for example in Micah 2:3-7
- Therefore thus says Yahweh: "Behold, I am planning against these people a disaster, from which you will not remove your necks, neither will you walk haughtily; for it is an evil time.
- In that day they will take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, saying, 'We are utterly ruined! My people's possession is divided up. Indeed he takes it from me and assigns our fields to traitors!'"
- Therefore you will have no one who divides the land by lot in the assembly of Yahweh.
- "Don't prophesy!" They prophesy. "Don't prophesy about these things. Disgrace won't overtake us."
- Shall it be said, O house of Jacob: "Is the Spirit of Yahweh angry? Are these his doings? Don't my words do good to him who walks blamelessly?"
Micah brings a number of accusations against the people. These relate to both religious failures and social injustice
- Religious failures - The people are accused of empty ritual and superifical trust in the Temple in passages such as Micah 3:11
- Her leaders judge for bribes, and her priests teach for a price, and her prophets of it tell fortunes for money: yet they lean on Yahweh, and say, "Isn't Yahweh in the midst of us? No disaster will come on us."
- Social injustices - The people are accused of social injustice in passages such as Micah 2:1-2
- Woe to those who devise iniquity and work evil on their beds! When the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.
- They covet fields, and seize them; and houses, and take them away: and they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
Because of these failures, Micah reveals that judgement is coming with invasion by foreign forces in passages such as Micah:8-16
However, Micah gives a picture of hope that a remnant will remain and under a new Davidic king, repentant nations will have a part in a new kingdom. An example of this hope can be seen in Micah 5:2-4
- But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, being small among the clans of Judah, out of you one will come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
- Therefore he will abandon them until the time that she who is in labor gives birth. Then the rest of his brothers will return to the children of Israel.
- He shall stand, and shall shepherd in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh his God: and they will live, for then he will be great to the ends of the earth.
Micah in the light of the New Testament
Like other contemporary prophets, Micah revealed the eventual coming of an ideal king, who would rule with peace and wisdom. This prophecy finds its fulfilment in Jesus.