Micah, whose name means “Who is like the Lord?”, hints at how he feels about his Creator God. In the last few verses of his book he states, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity…he will have compassion upon us…wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” KJV There are several other passages in Micah that have become favorites over the ages. We will see by the study of this book that there is indeed no one like our God. Whereas Jonah was the reluctant prophet, who ran away from his duties, Micah was reluctant, but obedient to the distasteful task of warning God’s people and calling them back to God, even in their darkest hours.
Memory Text: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 KJV
Any reading or recitation of this verse sounds like a song in my head. The words to the verse were put to music and became a Scripture song I learned in my college years. I can see why the Psalms were a favorite way of memorizing Scripture. They should all be “music to our ears”, so to speak.
By the way, a companion verse to Micah 6:8, as cross-referenced in my Bible, is Deuteronomy 10:12, which says, “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” KJV
These passages are similar in that they both point to the close relationship, based on love, that God longs to have with His people.
Sunday: Agony of the Prophet’s Heart
The northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen, and Micah saw that unless Judah repented, as even wicked Ninevah was able to do in our study of Jonah last week, the kingdom in the south would also be overcome by invading armies. As a matter of fact, Micah was the first biblical prophet to predict Jerusalem’s destruction. “Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.” Micah 3:12 KJV These words were of such importance that Jeremiah quoted them in Jeremiah 26:18.
The thought of this destruction was a source of great tension and agony for Micah, but he had no choice but to announce the bad news. He had no pleasure in speaking these terrible things that would happen to the beloved city of Jerusalem.
It seems to be the lot of many of God’s prophets to preach unpopular messages and do difficult things. Moses was oppressed with the enormity of his task of leading God’s people to the Promised Land. (Numbers 11:10-15) Elijah felt like he was the only one left worshiping the true God, and it made him fearful for his life. (I Kings 19:14) Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and certainly many other messengers of God suffered immensely, both physically and emotionally, for their faith.
Personal Thought Question: As we near the end of this earth’s history, am I willing to suffer for the cause of proclaiming the Lord’s return, even the unpopular elements of the message? As Christ told us in the Beatitudes, “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad [if you are persecuted for His sake]: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:12 KJV Jesus knew we wouldn’t always be received well by those in the world, and even by other Christians, especially in the trauma-filled final days. But the message needs to be given.
Monday: Those Who Devise Iniquity
“Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.” Micah 2:1 KJV Not only do they practice sin, but it’s premeditated sin. They lie in bed plotting how to commit their sinful acts. Micah goes on to list their fraud, violence, greed, and pride as the evils that are leading to their ruin.
The reign of Ahaz brought appalling conditions of sin to the southern kingdom. It was to the point that many who were formerly against idolatry were being persuaded to take part in worshiping heathen deities. False prophets were leading people astray by boasting that the Lord was still with them, despite their sinful ways. They blasphemously proclaim in Micah 3:11, “The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us.” KJV
Thought Question: Does belonging to a Bible-based church in the last days make us feel entitled with a special status that prevents us from partaking of the “sins of the world” and feeling the same punishment as those around us? In other words, do we feel that we are “above” certain temptations?
Tuesday: A New Ruler From Bethlehem
One of the most famous of all Messianic prophecies is found in Micah 5:2. [“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting.”] Even the Bible experts in King Herod’s palace knew the import of this verse, when they alerted the wise men to where the new king would be born. (Matthew 2:4-6)
These verses about a Messiah were meant to give hope and strength to God’s people to help them survive the horrendous times ahead. The hint that this king was “from everlasting” should have been recognized as pointing to God himself. Jesus said of himself in John 8:58, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
The thought of a God who takes upon Himself our humanity should be a life-changing experience. The value this gives to our lives should give purpose and meaning to our existence.
Wednesday: What Is Good
After each day of creation, God declared what He had made “good”. Now God expresses what He considers good about His people. Micah 6:8, which we have already examined as our memory text, is a concise summary of God’s will for His people and encompasses all teachings of what true religion should be. These are the three things God is looking for in our lives–justice, kindness, and humble obedience. With these fruits of the Spirit present, we can be assured that God is by our side and others will see and be drawn to our religion, a “good” religion.
Thursday: Into the Depths of the Sea
Micah ends his book with tender words, filled with hope for God’s people. He speaks of God, delighting in mercy and having compassion on us. As our lesson puts it: God moves “from judgment to forgiveness, from punishment to grace, and from suffering to hope” quite regularly throughout the book of Micah.
If God was so willing to forgive Israel and Judah, if He was so intent upon warning them and wooing them back numerous times, will He not also do all He can to save us and finally hurl our sins into the depths of the sea if we ask Him to, just as Micah said He would someday?
Final Thought: Today as we are surrounded with difficult circumstances and painful experiences, we wonder why God allows all this to happen. How do we make sense of this chaotic world we live in? Our only hope is in trusting the Lord, who promises to end it all at some point in the future. By dwelling on God’s love, His perfect sense of justice, and all He has done to save us–even giving up His own precious Son–we can gradually learn to hope, be grateful for the blessings we do have, and praise God, regardless of our present situation.
Next week (May 25) our focus is on Habakkuk.