This morning we will look at the book of Micah.
The Book of Micah is the sixth of the 12 minor prophets. It records the sayings of the prophet named Micah, whose name means "Who is like Yahweh?"
The book has three major divisions, chapters 1-2, 3-5 and 6-7, each introduced by the word "Hear," with a pattern of alternating announcements of doom and expressions of hope within each division.
Micah reproaches unjust leaders, defends the rights of the poor against the rich and powerful, and preaches social justice; while looking forward to a world at peace centered on Zion under the leadership of a new Davidic monarch.
This sounds very much like the first verse of Isaiah.
1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Isaiah and Micah ministered at the same time.
HEAR – that is a clue in Micah that we are jumping into the first of the three sections. This section covers chapters 1, 2 and 3. It is an indictment on the people of Judah, especially the rich and the powerful.
Micah talks about the overwhelming judgment that is to come, and what he describes is a judgment against people who think that they are special.
Is this not Jerusalem???
We think this way about our own country. Or we think that way about our race. Or we think about that about our family.
We are special. We might sometimes fall to the wayside, but God will have mercy on us and we won’t be punished too badly. We’ll be forgiven.
But these two cities will be brought down in severe judgment.
And in verse 9
9 For Samaria’s plague is incurable;
it has spread to Judah.
That simple declarative statement, “for her wond is incurable,” must have been a shock to those who heard it. These people had been brought up with the belief, the fond belief that however much God might punish Israel for her sins, he would never actually allow her destruction, much less bring it about himself.
And here is God announcing the full and complete destruction on these two capital cities.
So, what are the problems in these people?
Some evil we stumble into. Temptation comes, and you yield to it. That’s bad enough, but this is evil that is planned. This is premeditated, carefully thought out and well planned evil.
This is wonderful imagery about “Those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because they have the power to do it.”
In Micah’s day, wealth consisted largely of real estate, and the people had a mania about accumulating houses and land. The people often gained property by manipulation and deceit, not through financial negotiation.
This is irony. The people are guilty of taking the land of others by force and deceit. But what is about to happen is that the Assyrians are going to come in and take everyone’s land. And the wealthy who have taken other people’s land, the Assyrians now take their land, and
But what is that cycle we see so often – sin, repentance and deliverance. Judgment and hope.
And that brings us to 2:12-13
Now we come to Micah 3:1
What does this mean to us? When we see the word “Hear,” or “Listen” addressed to the people, in Micah it means we are starting a new oracle or sermon.
The first thing Micah says in this second sermon is to reach out and try to reason with the people.
But Micah gives up quickly…
In this chapter, the first sin of the people is false religion, or false prophets.
The people did not trust the true faith of Micah, but they trusted simply the prophets they paid to tell them what they wanted to hear.
The other sin that Micah attacks is the belief that money talks
Where is the hope of this? We have the cycle of doom and hope – and the hope starts in Micah 4:1
The Mountain of the LORD
This is reminiscent of Isaiah
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
And remember – these words are flexible
Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.
Let’s skip to Micah chapter 5, and find a familiar passage:
Who is this in reference to?
Jesus Christ. Born in Bethlehem. A small, tiny little place near Jerusalem.
Now, the next verse makes you wonder – are we talking about jesus?
It is not unusual for the Bible to speak of two futures – the distant, distant future way over the horizon – meaning Jesus – and the more immediate needs, “he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land.
Our hope, sometimes, is in the ultimate future, that sometimes is far beyond our immediate needs and concerns.
In the last chapter of Micah, we see a wonderful example of doom and hope.
This is doom and gloom at its worst.
But then comes hope at its best.