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Micah

 Micah Bible Walk

Theme: Condemnation, Judgment, Future Deliverance

September 2008

Theme

  • Micah proclaimed God’s plan to bless Israel and all the world through Israel, and thus to fulfill his promises to Israel and the world. Micah’s prophecy follows three main topics: 1. God’s indictment or condemnation of Judah and Israel, 2. God’s judgment that will come because of their sins, and 3. God’s future ruler who, in the last days, will forgive and deliver all Israel. The indictment was because of Israel’s deliberate apostasy, her idolatry, her social injustice, and her corrupt people and leaders including the prophets and priests. Though Micah was weighed down because of the sin and judgment, he watched expectantly for the Lord and waited for the God of his salvation.

Key Verses

  • Micah 1:5, All this is for the rebellion of Jacob And for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?
  • Micah 4:1, And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it.
  • Micah 5:2, But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you one will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.
  • Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
  • Micah 7:18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.

Author

Micah (Micah 1:1, 14 and Jeremiah 26:18)

  • Micah was an unknown prophet from Moresheth. Moresheth was about 20 miles SW of Jerusalem, probably near Gath and in foothills of Judah east of the Philistine plain. Micah 1:14 is the only mention of Moresheth. Micah was God’s prophet to Judah during the reigns of Jotham (750-733 BC), Ahaz (735-715 BC), and Hezekiah (729-686 BC) (Micah 1:1). The kings reigned for a total of 64 years. Whether Micah ministered for that long is unknown. Assyria was the dominant foreign power during Micah’s ministry. Micah’s contemporary prophets were Isaiah to Jerusalem and Hosea to Israel, the northern kingdom.

History

  • Idolatry, Assyria, and Judah’s kings.
    • Throughout the pre-exile history of Israel, the rejection of God as Lord and the rejection of God’s word with the resulting idolatry and spiritual, social, and finally national disintegration characterized God’s people. The prophets proclaimed God’s anger and judgment because of this. But along with this proclamation they also clearly announced God’s unchanging promises and love for Israel with the result that in the future he will forgive Israel and restore her to her land and her blessings.
    • Assyria was a power under King Tiglath-Pileser III (r. 745-727 BC), also known as Pul. At this time God’s prophets’ ministries were under the shadow of Assyrian domination. About 740 BC Judah, Israel, and Aramaea formed a coalition to resist Assyria. This coalition failed. In 734 BC Israel (Pekah) and Syria (Rezin) fought against Judah in order to force Judah, ruled by Ahaz, into another coalition against Assyria. Ahaz refused. Instead, Ahaz went to Assyria for help. This was the background for Isaiah 7-9. Assyria defeated both Israel and Syria. Micah names three kings of Judah: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Along with the specter of Assyria hanging over them, each king had to deal with rampant idolatry.
    • Jotham (r. [750] 740-731 BC) was the eleventh king of Judah and son of Uzziah (2 Kings 15; 2 Chronicles 27). He was co-regent with his father and then king. He was a good king, but was not able to root out the idolatry of the people. Isaiah and Micah were prophets during his time.
    • Ahaz (r. [735] 731-715 BC) was the twelfth king of Judah, and when besieged by Israel and Syria he asked and received help from Assyria, to whom he became a vassal. Ahab openly brought idolatry into Jerusalem (2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28; Isaiah7). He was an evil king.
    • Hezekiah (r. [729] 715-686 BC) was the son of Ahaz and a godly and reforming king. Hezekiah became king of Judah in 715 BC. Though he was anti-Assyrian, he did not revolt against Assyria until later and Judah was spared destruction. Later, when Sennacherib (r. 705-681 BC) came to power in Assyria in 705 BC, Hezekiah revolted against him. Sennacherib invaded Judah in 701 BC (2 Kings 18-19; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36-37). Hezekiah built the famous water tunnel and reservoir that preserved water for Jerusalem when she was under siege. Soon Hezekiah became sick and God healed him and added 15 years to his life. Soon after, he foolishly showed his wealth to Babylon’s king Merodach Baladan. (2 Kings 18-19; 2 Chronicles 29-32; Isaiah 36-37). 
    • Hoshea (r. 732-722 BC), the last king of the northern kingdom, Israel, is not mentioned by Micah. He paid a heavy tribute to Assyria and was destroyed. But in about 724 BC he revolted against Assyria. Assyria, under Sargon II (r. 721-705 BC), then defeated and exiled Israel in 721 BC. The people were uprooted and moved to various parts of the Assyrian empire. This massive defeat and destruction would be repeated by Babylon against Judah about 135 years later (2 Kings 17).

Key People and Places

  • The people are noted in points 3 and 4 above. The cities mentioned here are those which will come under the coming attack by the Assyrians.
    • Micah the prophet (Micah 1:1)
    • Samaria (Micah 1:1) was the capital of the northern kingdom. It was located in central Palestine, 42 miles north of Jerusalem and 25 miles east of the Mediterranean Sea. King Omri (r. 885-874) built Samaria and named it for Shemer who had owned the land (1 Kings 16:21-28). Omri, and evil and wicked king, was the father of King Ahab (husband of Jezebel).
    • Jerusalem (Micah 1:1). Jerusalem was an old city 14 miles west of the Dead Sea and 37 miles east of the Mediterranean. It was on a rocky plateau 2550 feet above sea level. Jerusalem was founded by the Amorites and Hittites (Ezekiel 16:3, 45). Melchizedek, the king priest in Abraham’s day was a king of ancient Jerusalem (Genesis 14:18). Jerusalem was a Canaanite city at the time of Joshua’s conquest (Joshua 10:1-5). David captured the city from the Jebusites and made it his religious and political capital of Israel (1 Chronicles 11:4 and 2 Samuel 5:7). David built his headquarters on Mount Zion where the Jebusites had a fort. Because the city was in central Israel, its location helped to unify the people. The geography of the city also made it easily defended. The name is in an Egyptian writing of the 1800s BC and in the Tell-el Amarna letters (1300s BC).
    • Gath (Micah 1:10) was one of the 5 royal cities of the Philistines.
    • Beth-le-aphrah (Micah 1:10) was a Philistine city.
    • Shaphir (Micah 1:11) is a city probably in Judah or Philistia.
    • Zaanan (Micah 1:11) was in the lowland plain of western Judah.
    • Bethezel (Micah 1:11) was probably a town in southern Judah.
    • Maroth (Micah 1:12) was in the Philistine plain.
    • Lachish (Micah 1:13) was a famous city 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem and 15 miles west of Hebron. It was a royal Canaanite city. Joshua captured this city on the day he fought against the five Amorite kings who had attacked Gibeon. It was during this battle that God caused the sun and moon to “stand still” (Joshua 10). The Lachish Letters are notes written about Nebuchadnezzar’s attack on Lachish and Jerusalem in 586 BC.
    • Moresheth-gath (Micah 1:14) was in the Judean lowlands probably near Gath.
    • Achzib (Micah 1:14) was the name of two towns, one in Galilee and one in Judah.
    • Mareshah (Micah 1:15) was a fortified city in the Judean lowlands.
    • Adullam (Micah 1:15) was a city in the lowland Judah. It was southwest of Jerusalem and between Lachish and Hebron.

Key Words and Phrases

  • Lot (Micah 1:7)

Overview Outline

  • Condemnation and judgment, Micah 1-3
  • Coming kingdom and king, Micah 4-5
  • LORD asks and Israel answers, Micah 6-7

Chapter Titles

  • Micah 1, The Lord is coming to judge
  • Micah 2, Sins are many and varied
  • Micah 3, Condemnation of rulers, prophets, priests
  • Micah 4, The Lord will reign in the last days
  • Micah 5, Ruler from Bethlehem
  • Micah 6, The Lord’s case against Israel
  • Micah 7, Micah will watch and wait

Trace the Theme

  • Micah proclaimed God’s plan to bless Israel and all the world through Israel, and thus to fulfill his promises to Israel and the world. Micah’s prophecy follows three main topics: 1. God’s indictment or condemnation of Judah and Israel, chapter 1 (e.g. Micah 1:2; 6:2), 2. God’s judgment that was coming because of her sins, chapters 2-3, 6 and 7 (e.g. Micah 2:1-2; 3:1, 5, 9, 11; 6:10-12; 7:2-6), and 3. God’s future ruler who, in the last days, will forgive and deliver her, chapters 4, 5, 7 (e.g. Micah 4:1-7; 5:2, 4:7-9; 7:7, 11, 18). The indictment was because of her deliberate apostasy, her idolatry, her social injustice, and her corrupt people and leaders including the prophets and priests. Though Micah was weighed down because of the sin and judgment, he watched expectantly for the Lord and waited for the God of his salvation.

Key Verses

  • Micah 1:2, Hear, O peoples, all of you; Listen, O earth and all it contains, And let the Lord God be a witness against you, The Lord from His holy temple.
  • Micah 1:3, For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.
  • Micah 1:5, All this is for the rebellion of Jacob And for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?
  • Micah 2:1, Woe to those who scheme iniquity, Who work out evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, For it is in the power of their hands.
  • Micah 3:2 (NASB95) 2 “You who hate good and love evil, Who tear off their skin from them And their flesh from their bones.
  • Micah 3:5, Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray; When they have something to bite with their teeth, They cry, “Peace,” But against him who puts nothing in their mouths They declare holy war.
  • Micah 4:1, And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it.
  • Micah 4:7, “I will make the lame a remnant And the outcasts a strong nation, And the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on and forever.
  • Micah 5:2, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
  • Micah 5:4, And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth.
  • Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
  • Micah 7:18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.
  • Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. 20 You will give truth to Jacob And unchanging love to Abraham, Which You swore to our forefathers From the days of old.

Key Doctrines

  • Rejection of God and God’s word—spiritual apostasy (Micah 1, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • Spiritual and national leadership (Micah 3, 4)
  • Collapse of culture and society including family and business (Micah 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7)
  • The Messiah—his birth, deliverance of his people, and his rule (Micah 4, 5, 7)
  • Walk through Israel’s history ( Micah 6:4-5).
  • Social sins such as violence, lying, deceit (Micah 2, 3, 6)
  • Leadership failure (Micah  3, 7)

So What? Take Home Lessons for Us

  • What kind of a leader am I—at home, family, job, church, country?
  • What are my cultural values? Sanctity of life, honesty, work ethic, help my neighbor, God in life and culture, personal freedom and responsibility, marriage and family, one’s nation or the global nation, patriotism, national defense, producer or simply a consumer—do I add to the society or simply take, and others?
  • Do I willingly sin and then excuse myself like the people of Micah’s time?
  • Do I listen to God speak in his word?
  • Do I pay attention to God’s communicators of his word today?
  • What is my attitude to Israel—past, present, and future?
  • Who is my God? Is he a god of my own making or is he the biblical God?