Judgment Against Israel and Judah
Comments for Study 1
Memory Verse: 2:13
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I. The Time of Micah's Call (1:1-16)
* See the drawing "The Prophet Micah Preaching" by Dore to the right.
>1. Who is Micah? (1-2)
* Micah 1:1-2 "The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah--the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, O peoples, all of you, listen, O earth and all who are in it, that the Sovereign LORD may witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple."
* "Micah" -Micah means "who is like the Lord". Little is known about Micah except the facts in the book that bears his name and Jeremiah 26:18. Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos were contemporary prophets. There is a slight chance that Obadiah may have also been a contemparary prophet. Jonah was a generation before Micah and Elisha a generation before Jonah. See introduction for more information.
* "Moresheth" -Moreseth means inheritance of Gath.” The prophet Micah pictured his home as a bride receiving a going away gift from Jerusalem, her father, a warning of exile for Jerusalem’s leaders and thus separation from their neighbors (1:14). The city was apparently located near Philistine Gath and is usually identified with tell ej-Judeideh about twenty-two miles southwest of Jerusalem and nine miles east of Gath. Recently, this identification has been questioned. This may be the Gath Rehoboam fortified (2 Chron. 11:8). It may be Muchrashti of the Amarna letters. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "Jotham... king of Judah" -Jotham (740-736 B.C.) was the son and successor of Uzziah. Jotham is known as a godly king. When his father became a lepor because of sin Jotham acted as king in his stead. Thus Jotham's reign as king started in 750 B.C., ten years before his father died. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years. His mother’s name was Jerusha. The sixteen-year period given for his reign may include the time that he acted as regent for his father, Uzziah. Jotham evidently was an effective ruler. His reign was marked by building projects, material prosperity, and military successes.
* "Ahaz... king of Judah" -Ahaz (736-728 B.C.) was not a godly king. Even from a human and historical point of view he was not a good king. Ahaz, whose name means “he has grasped,” was the son and successor of Jotham as king of Judah and the father of Hezekiah. Ahaz participated in the most monstrous of idolatrous practices (2 Kings 16:3). Isaiah gave counsel to Ahaz during the Syro-Ephraimitic crisis, when Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, joined forces to attack Jerusalem. The prophet Oded rescued some captives from Israel (2 Chron. 15 and 28). Ahaz refused the prophet’s advice and appealed for help to Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria (Isa. 7). That appeal and the resulting entanglement had unfortunate results religiously and politically in that Ahaz surrendered to Assyrian domination. He even placed an altar made from a Syrian model in the Temple (2 Kings 16:11). Ahaz suffered the final humiliation of not being buried in the royal tombs (2 Chron. 28:15).
* "Hezekiah, king of Judah" -Hezekiah (727-699 B.C.) was a godly king perhaps more than any other king of Judah and Israel including David. Hezekiah began his reign when he was twenty-five years old. At this time in history, the nation of Assyria had risen to power. Hezekiah’s reign can best be understood against the background of Assyria’s military activities during the years Hezekiah served as king of Judah. When Ahaz succeeded Jotham as king of Judah, he began pro-Assyrian policies by making Judah a vassal to Assyria. Ahaz’s political involvements with Assyria brought idolatry and paganism into the Temple (2 Kings 16:7-20).
* These three kings are recorded in 2 Kings 15:32-16:20 and chapters 18 to 20.
* "Hear" -The Hebrew for this word introduces prophetic addresses. Also in 3:1 and 6:1 where it is translated "listen" in the NIV and "hear" in the KJV.
>What was his vision about?
* "The word of the LORD" -Divine law (the principles God established when he made the universe) has been revealed to mankind through seven mediums: nature (Psalms 19:1), conscience (Rom. 2:15), stone tablets (Exodus 24:12), Jesus the living Word (John 1:14), the entire scriptures (Rom. 15:4), on man's heart (Heb. 8:10), and Christian's as living episteles (2 Cor. 3:2-3). The word of the Lord that come to prophets is described this way, "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:19-21)
* "the vision" -Vision is an English word translated from the Hebrew work "hazon". These days vision has many meanings. The use here and in many other places in the Bible has to do with the Lord God's revelation to man. One definition of a vision is, "A prophet's ability to see the revelatory nature in the meaning of a historical event."
* A vision is an experience in the life of a person, whereby a special revelation from God was received. The revelation from God had two purposes. First, a vision was given for immediate direction, as with Abram in Genesis 12:1-3; Lot, Genesis 19:15; Balaam, Numbers 22:22-40; and Peter, Acts 12:7. Second, a vision was given to develop the kingdom of God by revealing the moral and spiritual deficiencies of the people of God in light of God’s requirements for maintaining a proper relationship with Him. The vision of prophets such as Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and John are representative of this aspect of revelation. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "concerning Samaria and Jerusalem" -Samaria became the capital of the northern kingdom in 881 B.C. less than fifty years after Israel split in two when Solomon died. (1 Kings 16:23) Jerusalem was make the capital of Israel by David in 1003 B.C. and remained the capital of Judah after the split in 930 B.C..
* "the Sovereign LORD may witness against you" -The Lord was going to witness against Samaria and Jerusalem. He wanted all the world to hear what he had to say about them because during the day of the Lord's wrath the same would happen to them.
* "witness against you" -A witness is a person or group of persons who speak about the actions, character, and words of another person or group of persons.
* "Sovereign LORD" -Sovereign here is Adonai. LORD is YHWH. Together they speak of the personal God of the covenant with Israel as their master and owner.
>Who was it to?
* "O earth and all who are in it" -All the earth was to hear what the Lord had to say about Samaria and Jerusalem and their impending judgments. With this Micah saw the far future for all nations and wanted to tell them, "What you will see concerning these two will happen to you." The nations are to know that the day of the Lord is at hand, when God will call the nations to account. The judgement against Samaria and Jerusalem is a foreshaddow of the future judgment of all nations.
Romans 2:5-11 states the same principle but on an individual level. It says, "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism."
As far as the judgement of nations Joel a generation earlier wrote in 3:1-2 "In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land."
And Isaiah, Micah's contemporary wrote in 41:1-6 "Be silent before me, you islands! Let the nations renew their strength! Let them come forward and speak; let us meet together at the place of judgment. Who has stirred up one from the east, calling him in righteousness to his service? He hands nations over to him and subdues kings before him. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow. He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before. Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD--with the first of them and with the last--I am he." The islands have seen it and fear; the ends of the earth tremble. They approach and come forward; each helps the other and says to his brother, "Be strong!"
Over a hundred years after Micah, Ezekiel wrote in 38:17-23, "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD."
* "the Lord from his holy temple" -The Lord has a temple in heaven. (Rev. 11:19) The Lord gave the Israelites first the tabernacle and then a temple as the place where they could go to him and offer prayers, sacrifices, and hear his word. (1 Kings 6:11-13, 8:10-12, 27-53) The tabernacle was replaced with a temple at Shiloh by Samuel's birth and remained until the Philistines burned it down just before the start of his ministry. (Joshua 18:1, 22:12; Judges 18:31, 21:19, 1 Samuel 1:3, 24, 4:3-4; Psalm 78:60; Jeremiah 7:12-14) David laid Jerusalem's temple foundation and Solomon, his son built it. The Babylonians burnind it down, but Ezra rebuilt it. Herod expanded Ezra's temple. In 70 A.D. the Romans completely destroyed it. Very soon it is going to be rebuilt.
* See the carving of Assyrian warriors armed with slings from the palace of Sennacherib to the right.
>2. Who did Micah say was coming? (3-4)
* Micah 1:3-4 "Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads the high places of the earth. The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope."
* "The Lord is coming from his dwelling place" -Micah foretells of the Lord Jesus' second coming. This Old Testament expression describes the Lord's intervention in history (26:21, 31:4, 64:1-3; Psalm 18:9, 96:13, 144:5)
* "he comes down and treads the high places of the earth" -The high places of the earth were often turned into places of idol worship as far back as Babylon in Nimrod's time. See also Amos 4:13.
* The Lord Jesus is creator. (John 1:1-4) When he comes the world will be changed. Elsewhere in the Bible prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel say that there will be a great earthquake in Jerusalem when he comes and mount Zion will be lifted higher than any other mountain. (Isaiah 29:6; Ezekiel 38:19; Revelation 6:12, 8:5, 11:13) On it will be the new Jerusalem. This says other mountains of the world will be brought down at that time as well. (Hebrews 12:22-24; Revelation 14:1)
* "mountains melt" -Psalm 97:1-5 "The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth." Nahum 1:5-6 "The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it. Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him."
* See the Old Testament covenants to the right.
* Micah 1:5-7 "All this is because of Jacob's transgression, because of the sins of the house of Israel. What is Jacob's transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah's high place? Is it not Jerusalem? Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations. All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used."
* "All this" -The judgment against Samaria and Jerusalem.
* "Jacob" -Jacob is the name given by his parents. (Genesis 25:26) Later the Lord God changed his name to Israel. (Genesis 32:28) Jacob is the patriarch of Israel and is used here to mean all his descendants. Jacob's descendants became the two nations whose capitals were Samaria and Jerusaelm (the subject of the judgement).
* "Jacob's transgression" -Transgression in the Bible means "a breach of the Mosaic Law" and a violation of the covenant that was established between Israel and the Lord at Mount Sinai. In short transgression is sin.
* "is it not Samaria... is it not Jerusalem" -The Lord says that Jacob's sins were because of the religious and civil leaders. Their disobedience and idolatry lead others to the same sins. Jesus calls them blind guides leading people to the pit. (Matthew 15:13-14)
* "I will make Samaria a heap of rubble" -When Assyria attacked Samaria they completely destroyed Samaria and all of its inhabitants were taken into captivity. Samaria, the northn kingdom was destroyed in Micah's lifetime in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17:6) Assyria attacked Judah in 701 B.C. but Jerusalem was miraculously saved by the Lord. In our time the northern tribes are called the lost ten tribes of Israel because their descendants have been hidden amongst the nations.
* "All her idols will be broken to pieces" -The first sin mentioned is idolatry. Idolatry is a symbol of a lack of love and trust in the Lord.
* "into the valley" -Samaria was built on a hill (1 Kings 16:24)
* "the wages of prostitutes" -The second sin mentioned is shrine prostitutes. Ungodly religion often deals with sex outside of the marriage between one man and one woman. (Exodus 34:15-16; Judges 2:17; Eze. 23:29-30) False religions profit on such sins. In the end Samaria's profit from shrine prostitution was used in Assyria's temples.
>3. What was Micah response to the news?
* Micah 1:8-9 "Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. For her wound is incurable; it has come to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself."
* "Because of this I" -Micah was not pleased with the destruction of the northern kingdom even though he dispised their sins. Micah had compassion for the sinner while hating the sin.
* "I will go about barefoot and naked" -Micah went about with symbols of sincere morning.
* "her wound is incurable... it has reached" -Sins and the results of sins are portrayed as wounds that cannot be healed. Sin is like cancer that spreads through the whole body till the person dies. Early stages of cancer can be treated and even stopped. Stage four cancer is the last before death and cannot be cured.
>Where was the message to be proclaimed? (10-13)
* Micah 1:10-13 "Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah roll in the dust. Pass on in nakedness and shame, you who live in Shaphir. Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; its protection is taken from you. Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem. You who live in Lachish, harness the team to the chariot. You were the beginning of sin to the Daughter of Zion, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you."
* "Gath" -Gath means "winepress" in Hebrew. There were several in Palestine. The most famous Gath was the leading city of five leading cities of the Philistines. For short intervals in Israel's history Gath was under Israel's control. (Joshua 11:22; 1 Samuel 7:12-14; 2 Kings 12:17; 1 Chronicles 18:1) King Uzziah a generation before Micah destroyed Gath's walls. (2 Chronicles 26:6) Amos, also a generation before Micah says its near destruction should be noted by the Israelites. (Amos 6:1-2) Around 711 B.C. during Hezekiah's reign and Micah's ministry, Sargon II, the king of Assyria, conquered and destroyed the city. After that the Bible mentions Gath as a dead city. (Jeremiah 24:20; Zepheniah 2:4; Zechariah 9:5-6) The population around Gath appeared and disappeared with different nations contolling it up till World War I.
* Gath should not be confused with modern day Gaza. Gaza is a different city south west of Gath. Since the Arab-Israel war in 1948 A.D. Gaza is used to describe the city and strip of land on the Mediterranean Sea. Gath was located within modern day Israel, not the Gaza Strip. In 1967 Israel regained control of Gaza during the six day war only to give the land up to "ensure peace". Gaza is now controlled by the Palestinians. Gath is still within modern Israel's boarder.
* See a picture of Blanche Garde, Tel Tzafit to the right from Israel free image collection project. Blanche Garde is the site of the remains of Gath. During the Crusader period, following the conquest of the land during the First Crusade, a small fortress, named "Blanche Garde" for the dramatic white chalk cliffs that guard its western approach, was built at the site as part of the Crusader encirclement of Fatimid Ashkelon. This site was subsequently captured by the Ayyubids, and served the basis for the Medieval and Modern village of Tell es-Safi, which existed until 1948. The ruins of the castle and the village can be seen on the site today. Portions of the exterior fortifications of the castle have been excavated in recent years.
* "Beth Ophrah" -Beth Ophrah is Beth-le-Aphrah in older translations. It means, place of dust.” Micah used this town in a wordplay to announce judgment on Judah. The house of dust would roll in dust, a ritual expressing grief and mourning. The location is uncertain.
* "Shaphir" -Shaphir is Saphir in older translations. Shaphir means beautiful town. Location is unknown. Micah is again using wordplay, "The beautifully adorned town will go about naked and be shameful."
* "Zaanan" -Zaanan means sheep country or outback.” Unidentified city in southern most Judah, probably identical with Zenan (Josh. 15:37). Micah is again using wordplay, "The outback town will come out."
* "Beth Ezel" -Beth Ezel means house of the leader or house at the side.” Micah again used wordplay to announce judgment on Judah. All support would be taken away from the house of the leader or the house beside. Location is uncertain.
* "Maroth" -Maroth means bitter or bitter fountain.” Town in the lowlands of Judah though the exact location is not certain.
* "disaster has come from the LORD" -Assyria was the tool of the Lord's discipline to Jerusalem.
* "even to the gate of Jerusalem" -Jerusalem was attacked in 701 B.C. but was delivered. Many towns in Judah were destroyed.
* "Lachish" -Lachish means obstinate.” Lachish was an important Old Testament city located in the Shephelah (“lowlands”) south-west of Jerusalem. It has usually been identified in modern times with the archaeological site called tell ed-Duweir. The same site has more recently come to be called tel Lachish. Lachish is also mentioned in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian records. The earliest reference to Lachish is in the Amarna letters (about 1400 B.C). It was evidently one of the important Canaanite cities of the time. The Hebrew army under Joshua’s command defeated the king of Lachish, killed him and conquered his city (Joshua 10:5, 23,32-33). Later, Lachish was apportioned to the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:39). The next Biblical reference to Lachish comes in 2 Chronicles 11:9, from the reign of Rehoboam who “fortified the city.” Lachish was also the city of refuge for Amaziah who fled there from Jerusalem to escape a conspiracy against him (2 Kings 14:19; 2 Chronicles 25:27). Lachish is perhaps most well known for the story of its siege and conquest in 701 B.C. at the hands of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (2 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36). Two later brief references appear (Jerermiah 34:7; Nehemiah 11:30). (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* See the Assyrian ramp built at Lachish, Israel to the right.
* "Daughter of Zion" -Daughter of Zion is a personification of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Zion is the mountain that Jerusalem was built on.
>What would be the means of the Lord? (14-16)
* Micah 1:14-16 "Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath. The town of Aczib will prove deceptive to the kings of Israel. I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah. He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam. Shave your heads in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourselves as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile."
* "you will give parting gifts" -Micah's hometown, Moresheth Gath was portrayed as a wedding gift given by a bride's father (Jerusalem) as she is given away. "Parting gifts" in Hebrew is translated "wedding gifts" elsewhere.
* "Aczib" -Aczib means deceptive like when in summer a river is dried up.
* "a conqueror against you" -The Assyrian King Shalmaneser conquered Israel. Ten years later the Assyrian King Sennacherib destroyed most of Judah's cities, a fulfilment of this prophecy. Only Jerusalem was spared by a miracle of the Lord. (2 Kings 18-19; and 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36 37) Later Babylon would take all of Judah into exile including Jerusalem.
* "Mareshah" -Mareshah means “place at the top” and was in southern Judah.
* "the glory of Israel" -The Lord God himself is called the glory of Israel. (1 Samuel 15:29) He will come to Adullam in judgement. As with most prophecies there are multiple fulfillment. In Micah's time the king of Israel would go there to hid as David had done centuries earlier.
* "Adullam" -Adullam means sealed off place.” City five miles south of Beth-shemesh in Judah, probably modern Tell esh-Sheikh Madkur. Joshua conquered it (Joshua 12:15), though no story of its conquest appears in the Bible. David lived in a cave near there. Micah uses this to say Judah's current king would go there to hide from an stronger invading king.
* "they will go from you into exile" -Jerusalem's satellite towns are portrayed as children who were to be attacked and destroyed while Jersalem was spared when the Assyrians came. A generation later in 586 B.C. all of Judah including Jerusalem was taking into captivity by the Babylonians.
>What can be learned about the Lord?
* When leaders sin often those they love and those that depend on them for protection hurt the most from their sin.
* The Lord warned Judah's leaders who lived in Jerusalem again and again that they should repent. They did not listen and now Judah's small cities would feel the pain of Jerusalem's sin.
* Numbers 14:18 "The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
* Deuteronomy 5:7-10 "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments."
* Numbers 14:18 and Deuteronomy 5:7-10 are meant as deterrents to idolatry.
II. Lamentation for Coming Destruction (2:1-13)
>4. What were the people like in Micah's time? (1-2)
* Micah 2:1-2 "Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning's light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance."
* "who plan iniquity" -It is one thing to fall to a sudden temptation. It is another thing to plan sin. However, both are the signs of a heart needing healing and cleansing.
* "because it is in their power to do it" -And old saying is, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely." Often people in positions of power use their seat selfishly and to others harm. Even when David, a man who had been after God's heart sinned with Bathsheba he used his kingly power to have her husband killed in battle.
* Jesus taught his disciples, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28)
* "covet" -Covet is the third sin Micah mentions Jerusalem's leaders committed.
* "defraud" -Defraud means to deprive of a right, money, or property by fraud.
* "a fellowman of his inheritance" -When Israel entered the promised land each family received land that was to be passed down to each generation. The Lord made several laws to ensure this. A great sin was to take from a man the land the Lord had given him.
* Leviticus 25:10, 13 "Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan... In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property.
* Every generation in every part of the earth the wealthy oppress the poor. Even when the wealthy appear generous to the poor, the generosity they show does not change their exuberant lifestyle. The wealthier a person is the less generous they often are. When a wealthy person gives beyond hurt to himself, then that man is truely great. Jesus, who is worthy of glory, honor and praise gave up his throne in heaven and became the lowliest of mankind to save us from sin and death.
* "Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" (Mark 10:23)
>What was the Lord's response to these sins? (3-5)
* Micah 2:3-5 "Therefore, the LORD says: "I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity. In that day men will ridicule you; they will taunt you with this mournful song: 'We are utterly ruined; my people's possession is divided up. He takes it from me! He assigns our fields to traitors.'" Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the LORD to divide the land by lot."
* "You will no longer walk proudly" -The sinners were proud of their sin. They thought they were beyond harm. They thought that had it all planned out.
* "I am planning disaster against this people" -No one can excape the Lord's wrath. Sin is punished. Sometimes in this life. Even those who sins are forgiven has had their sin punished in the body of Jesus Christ.
* "my people's possession is divided up" -The Lord gave the Israelites the promised land and he will take it away. When Job's possessions were stolen and his children died he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." (Job 1:21)
* "traitors" -The treacherous Assyrians who will capture the land.
* "you will have no one in the assembly of the LORD" -The oppressive rich will be cut off from the promise land.
>5. What did the false prophets say to Micah? (6)
* Micah 2:6 "Do not prophesy," their prophets say. "Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us."
* "their prophets" -False prophets were telling Micah to shut up.
* Every generation has had true prophets and false prophets. Jesus said, "By their fruit you will recognize them."
* Deuteronomy 13:1-3 "If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul."
>What was the Lord's reply? (7)
* Micah 2:7 "Should it be said, O house of Jacob: "Is the Spirit of the LORD angry? Does he do such things?" "Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright?"
* Micah is speaking verses 6-7a. Verse 7b-13 are the Lord's reply.
* "Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright?" -The beginning of the Lord's reply. His words are good only to the upright. They are judgement against the godless.
>How did the Lord point out that the people are not upright? (8-11)
* Micah 2:8-11 "Lately my people have risen up like an enemy. You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without a care, like men returning from battle. You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever. Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy. If a liar and deceiver comes and says, 'I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' he would be just the prophet for this people!"
* "like an enemy" -Sinful actions are making one like an enemy of God.
* "like men returning from battle" -War plunder is taken from the victor's enemy.
* "You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes" -Homes of peace and safety.
* "Get up, go away!" -To exile.
* "plenty of beer and wine" -2 Timothy 4:2-5 "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
>6. What does the Lord promise about the remnant of Israel?
* Micah 2:12 "I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people."
* "I will surely gather all of you" -The Lord himself will do this.
* "Jacob... the remnant of Israel" -A very small amount of Jews were prophesied to return to the promised land.
* Ezra 9:13 "What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this."
* Acts 15:13-18 "When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things' that have been known for ages."
* Romans 11:5-6 "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace."
>Who leads them?
* Micah 2:13 "One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the LORD at their head."
* "Their king" -Jesus is our king.
* "the LORD at their head" -Jesus is the Lord.
* "they will break through the gate and go out"
>What could this be referring to?
* After the captivity enforced by Babylon from 605 to 581 B.C. Jews began returning to Jerusalem in Ezra's time (538 B.C.).
* After the second captivity enforced by Rome in 70 A.D. Jews have returned to Jerusalem in my lifetime. (1948 A.D.)
* Half way through the seven year tribulation period to come the Antichrist will betray a treaty made with Israel three and a half years earlier and enter the temple setting up an idol in his image. The Israelites will either quickly leave Jerusalem or be put in prison and/or death. Then all Israel will recognize that Jesus is the Messiah and return to him. At the end of the seven year tribulation Jesus will come again, destroy the Antichrist and his armies, and bring Israel back to Jerusalem.
III. The Leaders Condemned (3:1-12)
>7. What did Micah tell the leaders? (1)
* Micah 3:1 "Then I said, 'Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Should you not know justice,'"
* "elders of Jacob" -All the leaders are addressed. Though often Jacob refers to both kingdoms of Israel, here Micah is only addressing Judah, the southern kingdom. Micah was a prophet to Judah.
* "rulers of the house of Israel" -The rulers are included too.
* "Should you not know justice" -Most of the rulers in Micah's time were not just. They were corrupt. When God questions us he wants us to examine our hearts and give a truthful answer.
>Instead what where they like? (2-3)
* Micah 3:2-3 "you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; who eat my people's flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?"
* "hate good and love evil" -The civil and religious leaders in Micah's day took bribes. They were selfish. They did not serve the people. They lorded their authority over others. They were brutal to their enemies even though they were Israelites; often betraying family and friends.
* "tear the skin... " -The series of vivid and cruel description shows the way the leaders treated the very people God wanted them to help and protect.
* Amos 5:15 "Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph."
* Romans 12:9-13 "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
>How are some like this even today?
* Leaders should know justice. Jesus said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45)
* Go to any news outlet anywhere in the world and you will see story after story of religious and civil leaders who are corrupt.
>Will the unrepentant by able to escape the consequences of their sinful ways?
* Micah 3:4 "Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done."
* Deuteronomy 31:16-18 "And the LORD said to Moses: "You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them, and on that day they will ask, 'Have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not with us?' And I will certainly hide my face on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods."
* Isaiah 1:14-17 "Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."
* Want the Lord to hear your prayer? Come to his with a humble and repentant heart. In a parable about two men, a self righteous and another man Jesus said of the latter, "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:13-14)
>8. What kind of prophets did the people want? (5)
* Micah 3:5 "This is what the LORD says: "As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim 'peace'; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him."
* "prophets who lead my people astray" -A prophet delivered the word of God to people. False prophets have always been active, even to this day.
* "if one feeds them, they proclaim 'peace'" -Claiming to give God's word while only wanting profit has always been at the heart of false prophets. The best way to get people to give money is to give the message they want to hear.
* "they prepare to wage war against him" -The ungodly, the sinner doesn't want to hear the truth when it deals with repentance and obedience. Even those who hear the word and accept it sometimes reject it later when hardship or trouble come. Jesus' parable of the seed of four soils illustrates these types of people.
* 2 Timothy 4:1-5 "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
* Jeremiah 6:13-14 "From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace."
* Jeremiah 8:10-11 "Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace."
>How does God respond to messages that don't have the need for repentance? (6-7)
* Micah 3:6-7 "Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God."
* "seers" -The older word for Prophet.
* "diviners" -Diviners is a person who divines, soothsayer, and/or a prophet.
* Saul had experience this. He wanted a message from God. However, the message was already given, "Repent." Saul didn't want to obey this. So he sought another message. One that would give him victory and save face before his army and the nation. The Lord could not and would not help him since he didn't accept and obey the first message, "Repent". Saul was to wait for Samuel to make a sacrifice and kill all the people and animals of the enemy. Saul did neither. So later the Lord would not and could not accept his message. (1 Sam. 9:25-10:8, 13:8-15, 28:15-20)
>Why are all in the need for repentance?
* Romans 3:9-18 "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
* Romans 3:22-24 "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
>9. How did Micah receive the strength to preach the truth? (8)
* Micah 3:8 "But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin."
* "as for me" -Micah is talking about himself. This also refers to the Messiah.
* "I am filled with power" -The Holy Spirit gives power.
* "the Spirit of the Lord" -The third person of the triune God; Father, Son, and Spirit.
* "to declare to Jacob his transgression" -One of the main message of the prophet was to point out sin. A good example is Nathan pointing out David's sin with Uriah and his wife. Other messages of are hope, encouragement, judgement, and especially the the Messiah, the Lord God of Israel.
* Isaiah 48:16 "Come near me and listen to this: "From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there." And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit."
* Mark 1:9-11 "At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
* Luke 4:17-21 "The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
* Acts 2:1-4 "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."
>Because of this was he afraid to speak even to the leaders? (9-10)
* Micah 3:9-10 "Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness."
* "Hear this" -When the Holy Spirit is on us we are not afraid to speak the Lord's words. The number one fear of most people is to speak in public. Sometimes is seems the number one fear of believers is to tell others about the Jesus they claim to love and claim that others need to know.
* Preaching the Lord's word to people who don't want to hear it and who are even prone to violence against the messenger is a test of faith.
* Luke 12:11-12 "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."
>10. How did the leaders and false prophets go on sinning and yet believed that they were still God's special people? (11)
* Micah 3:11 "Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, "Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us."
* "her priests teach for a price" -A growing trend among congregations and in general those God has called to teach is to expect to get paid for thier efforts. I see many web sites that sell their writings. Why do they sell? There are several reasons. One is selfishness. Another is that often people are less inclinded these days to support those who work for the Lord's people. I have chosen not to sell what is offered on this site. Instead the offered items are free while asking for a donation. What is the result? No one has donated anything even after over two years of making a way for people to donate. This isn't because people don't visit the site. One to two hundred people visit the site daily with over thirty percent of which are return visitors.
* "Yet they lean upon the LORD" -A person cannot go on sinning and expect the Lord to save them from the consequences of sin. Sin separates us from God. Being seperate from God is to be in the kingdom of Satan. Satan hates his subjects. How can a person want to stay in the kingdom of Satan and sin and yet expect the Lord to bless them? That would be saying God will allow them to sin.
>What is the result of such self deception?
* Micah 3:12 "Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets."
* The destruction of Jerusalem occurred in 586 B.C. This verse was quoted a century later by Jeremiah.
* Jeremiah 26:17-19 "Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, "Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: "'Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.' "Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the LORD and seek his favor? And did not the LORD relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!"
* 2 Kings 18:1-6 and 2 Chron. 29-31 records Hezekiah's repentance and Judah's deliverance.
>Do some religious people today believe the same?
* False religion is deceptive. False piety is deceptive. Self righteousness is deceptive.