Micah is one of the prophets, so before we study we need to be able to answer: What is a prophet? Very basically, a prophet is God’s mouthpiece at that time, speaking for God, having been given the message from God, through the Spirit. The prophet’s main role is not prediction nor social reform, but declaration of the Divine will. God speaks! His will is not a secret! Much of a prophet’s message is a ‘reminder’ or a call back to faithfulness to God.
So Micah is a prophet, a contemporary of Isaiah (though Isaiah’s ministry started before Micah’s and lasted longer). Micah’s ministry took place between 735 and 710BC; during the Assyrian attacks, but prior to Sennacharib’s seige.
The word of the Lord which came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and which he saw regarding Samaria and Jerusalem.Micah 1:1
Prophet, seer, one who “sees.” Micah saw the word of the Lord as it came to him. Micah was from a poor rural area, near the Kings Highway. Naturally we see his heart for the poor–a reflection of God’s heart for the poor. He moved about quite a bit, preaching all over–not remaining in Moresheth. This is most likely a collection of his thoughts written after the preaching took place.
Both Isaiah and Micah speak mainly of sin and impending consequences if there is no repentance; both were keenly aware of what happened to Israel, and are now tasked with warning Judah. And both speak beautifully of the coming Messiah, our true hope.
Micah is mentioned by Jeremiah–this is not common among prophetic writings. Jeremiah, writing a century later, implies that Micah had a lasting impression on Jerusalem. See Jeremiah 26:18-19; Jeremiah quotes from Micah 3:12. Micah also influenced Amos; compare Micah 2:6 to Amos 2:12 and 7:10-16.
The Back Story
Before we dive into the text, let’s read 2 Chronicles 26-30 to get a clear picture of the time in which Micah is preaching. Remember Qohelet saying “do not be shocked…” in Ecclesiastes 5:8.
Did you notice Ahaz, and his great lack of wisdom!!! Defeated by Damascus, so he worships their gods saying “because the gods of the king of Aram helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.”
Q: wasn’t he just acting like a normal human? In what ways do we do similarly? We see worldly people succeed so we let go of a virtue, or add to God’s revealed word, or say simply “well since it works, I’ll do it, regardless….”
God shows His anger, 28:25; 29:10: 30:6-9. His anger is righteous, He hates sin and impurity. He hates what it does in the hearts of His people. This is what makes the Gospel so beautiful. (This is a great moment to open up Psalm 75)
We see the call in chapter 29: “Do not be negligent.” In our own time we hear this call through Christ as well, as we are devoted (Romans 12, Acts 2) and as we are zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11-end); and we trust Him to be our fortitude (Romans 15) and to “lead us into the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 These. 3:5, a beautiful prayer to keep close to your heart.)
Sing psalms! 2 Chron 29:29-30 “David and Asaph the seer.” Remember Psalm 73 that we spent time in while studying Ecclesiastes? It was not Asaph’s only psalm.
The kings reigning before and during Micah’s ministry were back and forth–worshipping God, not remembering God, even sacrificing their own children to false gods. Building up high places and making idols, tearing them down and reopening the Temple for true worship. As we embark on the book of Micah, it is helpful to remember, that typically as the leader strayed from God, so did the people. When Hezekiah made reforms there was great joy among the people. This is a foretaste of the joy Jesus wants for all His people. “That My joy may be in them, and their joy may be made full.”
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash