Micah was a Judean from Moresheth. He preached at the same time as Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea. While Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea were in the Northern Kingdom, and Isaiah was in the city of Jerusalem, Micah was in a rural area in the southwest part of Israel. His job was to preach about injustice and oppression of the weak. He also gave a most significant prophecy, that of foretelling the birthplace of the coming Messiah (Micah 5:2). Micah’s name means “who is like Yahweh?”
Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham (750-732), Ahaz (736-716) and Hezekiah (716-687) (1:1). Jotham was considered a good king and yet he did not remove the idolatrous high places from his kingdom. Ahaz was a wicked king (see 2 Kings 16:2-4) with pro-Assyrian foreign policies. It was during his reign that the Assyrians overthrew the Northern Kingdom. Hezekiah was one of Judah’s best kings. He withstood Assyria’s king, Sennacherib, when he tried to siege Jerusalem in 701 BC (2 Kings 18:13-19:36).
In his ministry, Micah (as Amos did in the Northern Kingdom) cried out for social justice. He prophesied of God’s judgment of the powerful because of their oppression of the weak (Micah 2:1-13) and of Israel’s rulers for their not being faithful to God’s will and His laws (Micah 3:1-4). But God also gives hope in Micah 2:12-14, Micah 4:1-7, and especially in Micah 7:8-20 when Micah speaks of God’s character and His faithfulness to fulfill His promises. The book of Micah closes with:
Micah 7:18-20 Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob And mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.
Three Well-Known Verses
Micah 3:12, 5:2, and 7:6 are quoted elsewhere in the Bible:
- When one of the elders of the people quoted the prophet Micah (Micah 3:12), Jeremiah’s life was spared.
Jer 26:18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, And the mountain of the temple Like the bare hills of the forest.”‘
- In answering Herod’s question about the birthplace of Jesus, the priests and scribes quoted Micah 5:2.
Mat 2:5-6 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet [Micah]: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.'”
- When commissioning his disciples the first time, Jesus quoted Micah 7:6
Micah 7:6 For son dishonors father, Daughter rises against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household.
Three Things to Note in Micah
- Micah 4 is one of the most important biblical descriptions of the future glory of Israel
- Micah 6:8 clearly tells of the God’s desire for social justice, which is “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
- Micah 1:2, 3:1, and 6:1 all introduce major sections of the book with the word “hear.” That should remind us of God’s repeated exhortation, “he who hath an ear, let him hear” (Matt 11:15, 13:9, 43, Mark 4:9, 23, 7:16, Luke 8:8, 14:35, Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22, 13:9) and the reason, because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
OUTLINE OF MICAH
I. The Superscription, 1:1
II. A Message of Destruction for Samaria and Judah, 1:2-2:13
A. The Revelation of the Coming Judgment, Micah 1:2-16
B. The Reasons for the Coming Judgment, 2:1-13
III. A Message of Doom and Deliverance, 3:1-5:15
A. Doom: The Coming Judgment, 3:1-12
1. Judgment on the leaders, 3:1-4
2. Judgment on the false prophets, 3:5-8
3. Judgment on Jerusalem, 3:9-12
B. Deliverance: The Coming Kingdom, 4:1-5:1
1. The glories of the kingdom, 4:1-8
2. The suffering that precedes the kingdom, 4:9-5:1
C. Deliverance: The Coming King, 5:2-15
1. His first coming, 5:2-3
2. His second coming, 5:4-15
IV. A Message of Denunciation, 6:1-7:10
A. God’s First Indictment, 6:1-5
B. Israel’s First Reply, 6:6-8
C. God’s Second Indictment, 6:9-16
D. Israel’s Second Reply, 7:1-10
V. Epilogue: Blessings for Israel, 7:11-20
How is Micah different from other prophets?
The warnings of judgment that Joel, Amos, and Obadiah prophesied fell on deaf ears. Three times Micah said to the people, “hear…” and the people did just that. They heeded Micah’s warnings. Similar to Jonah, whose preaching brought repentance to a whole city, Micah prophesied and the people repented. Micah made a difference. Judgment was postponed for a century.
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