The book of Micah contains a series of prophecies that took place during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1). This makes Micah a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah. Micah was a prophet of the Lord, and he was called to preach to the people of Samaria (capital of Israel) and Jerusalem (capital of Judah) by denouncing their corruption. This corruption was primarily seen in their practice of idolatry (1:7; 5:12-14) and injustice (2:1-2, 8-11; 3:1-3, 9-11; 6:10-12; 7:2-3). These sins were the opposite of loving the Lord their God (Deut. 6:5), and loving their neighbour as themselves (Lev. 19:18). In this book, the prophet Micah issues prophecies containing both bad news and good news – destruction and deliverance. This occurs by means of three prophetic pronouncements. These messages of judgment contain both the pronouncement of destruction (1:1-2:11; 3:1-12; 6:1-7:7) and end with the promise of deliverance (2:12-13; 4:1-5:15; 7:8-20).
- The First Prophetic Pronouncement: (1:1-2:13)
- The Second Prophetic Pronouncement: (3:1-5:15)
- The Third Prophetic Pronouncement: (6:1-7:20)
The First Prophetic Pronouncement: (1:1-2:13)
The prophet announcing the coming destruction on both Samaria (1:1-7) and Judah (1:8-16). Destruction, devastation, and disaster will come upon them. The reason for this pronouncement is because the powerful people of the land have taken advantage of the poor (2:1-5). In addition to this, the prophets preached a message that defended this behaviour, rather than denouncing it (2:6-11). Though destruction is coming, the gracious act of the Lord’s deliverance will take place. The prophet writes, “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the Lord at their head” (2:12-13). By means of God’s sovereign saving grace, a remnant will be restored and will be cared for by their Shepherd-King.
The Second Prophetic Pronouncement: (3:1-5:15)
The prophet’s second round of prophetic pronouncement is addressed to the leaders of the land (3:1-12). The rulers, prophets, and priests abused their leadership offices and instead of ruling over the people justly, preaching the word of the Lord to the people, and pointing the people to God, they satisfied themselves. This selfish conduct was in contrast to the spirit-filled conduct of Micah (3:8). After this Micah announces deliverance by means of a surprising turn of events in chapters 4 and 5. Micah describes a time in the future when the nations will come to the house of the Lord in worship, and it will be a time of peace (4:1-5). This great deliverance will come by means of a King. Born in the same insignificant location as King David, this future King will come in fulfillment to the covenant God made with David long ago (2 Sam. 7:14). This King “shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD” (5:4) and He will remove all evil (5:10-15).
The Third Prophetic Pronouncement: (6:1-7:20)
In chapters 6:1-7:7 Micah gives his final round of declaring Divine displeasure. The Lord issues His case against His people (6:1-2). He reminds them of His righteous acts of kindness toward them. He delivered them from Egypt, gave them the leadership of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, and delivered them from the hands of Balak (6:3-4). Sadly, the people did not do what the Lord required of them. They were focussed on offering to him outward actions of obedience, hoping that this would gain favour with God. This is not what God required. He does not want mere externalism, He wants our loyalty to Him. This is summed up by the words “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8). The prophet then proceeds to declare God’s just judgment on the people for their wickedness (6:9-7:7). The book concludes with a final word of hope announcing the great restoration that will take place. All of this is possible because of the greatness of God’s character, compassion, and covenant (7:18-20).