Notes from Micah
Thank you all for coming to Bible study yesterday! We truly love you guys and appreciate you in our lives.
We studied the book of Micah which is probably most well know (if known at all) for its incredible prophecy of where Jesus was to be born, but it contains a lot of other great information as well.
So we’re in the book of Micah today, and Micah prophesied in Judah around 750-700 B.C. around the same time frame as Isaiah.
· Similarities with Hosea and Amos
· Judgment of sin against Israel and Judah
· Very interesting description of the millennial Kingdom
· Clear prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus Christ
1 The word of the Lord that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Hezekiah was one of the good kings and he’s mentioned in Kings and Chronicles and Isaiah (Ch. 36-39). He’s the guy that had Sennacherib king of Assyria (this took place after Jonah) surround Jerusalem after he had been on a rampage destroying cities left and right. But the angel of the Lord came and destroyed his army at night (Isaiah 37).
2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
So this is a theme throughout this book of Micah basically saying, “listen up!” Just like when Jesus often said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Micah has something important to say.
3 For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.
Why is the Lord coming down with such powerful description and imagery? Next verse.
5 For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?
Because of sin. God hates sin.
6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.
So the rest of this chapter is prophecy against Israel and Judah and finishes with Israel, the Northern Kingdom. Let’s go to verse 16.
16 Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.
This is a prediction of the destruction and captivity that Assyria would bring upon Israel in 722 B.C. Hosea foretells the same event (11:5) saying, “He shall not return to the land of Egypt; But the Assyrian shall be his king, Because they refused to repent.”
One thing about prophecy in the Bible that we really fail to appreciate is that this was foretelling future events that happened perfectly. That’s amazing. That’s no minor thing. That Assyria would take Israel captive, that Assyria would fall, that Babylon would fall, these are major events!
1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
Chapter 2 is more prophecy and judgment on Israel and describes specific sins that Israel was guilty of, and usually God does this for us. God doesn’t judge without warning, and look at the grace He even gives to unbelievers that they may turn to Him at any time in their life.
It’s like when Sodom and Gomorrah we’re destroyed, we’re told—hundreds of years apart—that the sins of Sodom were pride, oppression of the poor (Ezekiel 16:49-50), and sexual immorality. An article I read made a good point, or at least a reasonable conjecture, that pride was their sin of the heart that manifested itself in outward fornication.
A quote from the article said, “Pride is a fountain of many sins because it effectively is saying, ‘I want what I want, and I will have it regardless of what God says or the cost to someone else because I am better than they are and deserve it.’”
And I don’t think we need to go into Epstein thing, Tom Hanks, Bill Clinton, Hollywood, or any of that, but these people are in their mind the top of the world. They think they’re untouchable, so that extreme pride leads them to do whatever they want to do. Pride leads to a host of other awful sins.
So all that to say, here’s some specific sins that Micah is condemning. Verse 2:
2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
This is very reminiscent of the book of Amos and his judgment against the oppression of the poor. And again, this is what we see today. The ultra-wealthy stores like Target, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Costco, are seeing their biggest year ever, while small businesses are closing at record rates. It’s a major transfer of wealth going on from the small to the large.
3 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, against this family [the Israelites] do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil.
Their necks would be under a yoke of bondage.
4 In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath divided our fields.
Let’s go to chapter 3.
1 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
Just like verse 2 of chapter 1 where Micah calls the people to listen up, he now has another point to make that directed at the rulers of the people.
The rhetorical question, “Is it not for you to know judgment”, means that Micah is calling these guys out. He’s saying it’s their job to be just and fair. Skip down to verse 9 real quick and he kind of repeats himself to really emphasize this. “Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity [fairness].”
Same with our so-called leaders today. It is their job to do the right thing and to lead well. They do the opposite. Look at the next verse (2).
2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
That’s exactly what we see today. Everything that is good and wholesome is condemned. Like literally everything. And everything that is perverse and violent and destructive is praised! Look at anything on TV just for starters.
This echoes what Isaiah said (5:20), “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
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.
This is condemning those that take bribes, that sell fake prophecies for money like fortune tellers. These are false prophets that say they are prophesying because of God, therefore they won’t face any consequences.
See 2 Timothy 4:3 which fits today well.
12 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.
This is a very interesting verse and is quoted in Jeremiah. Micah foretells, and warns of the destruction of Jerusalem. Micah is prophesying in the time of Hezekiah remember, and Hezekiah was a good king (he blew it at the end, but was overall very good), and took this warning and repented and turned to God and God didn’t destroy Jerusalem…at that time.
Very similar with Jonah. God sent Jonah to prophesy against Nineveh and to warn them, but they repented and turned to God so they were saved, but not forever! Just like here, Jerusalem was saved at that time, but later Babylon came and wrecked it and then in 70 A.D. Roman army led by Titus came and wrecked Jerusalem again. Josephus, Jewish historian, said that the Roman army drove a plough over the courts of Jerusalem to show its destruction.
Jesus said in Matthew 24, “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
So that’s an interesting part of prophecy that we see fairly often that it isn’t always fulfilled and satisfied all at once. Prophecy often has multiple examples of its fulfillment.
Let’s read Micah 3:12 one more time then jump about a 100 years later to Jeremiah 26 to see how this is quoted. Let’s read Jeremiah 26:13-19.
Another interesting thing about this verse, Micah 3:12, is that the Masoretes—a jewish organization from the 6th to 10th century that compiled and gave us the Masoretic text, the basis for the Old Testament of the KJV—put these 12 minor prophets together as one book. They marked this the middle verse of these prophets. I’m sure that bit of trivia will come in handy ALL the time…
So now let’s go to chapter 4 and we see a very clear division in this book. We jump from judgment against Israel for their many sins to the distant future and what looks like the millennial Kingdom of Christ.
Now, especially for these first 4 verses there are varying interpretations. For example, some people see these verses as describing the whole time of Jesus Christ’s first coming until the end. But when you look at the very close parallel in Isaiah chapter 2, I just don’t think that’s correct.
1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
So Christ will sit on the throne in Jerusalem it seems, and people from all over will travel there.
2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
People will be eager to learn from the Lord and see Him. And remember that Jacob was renamed Israel so when we see Jacob used this way it’s referring to Israel the nation.
3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
This is both beautiful and very interesting. If this is talking about the millennium, then Jesus will be judging nations, or settling disputes. That there will be no war is a great thing.
4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.
This is a proverbial statement describing perfect peace and security.
So again, if these 4 verses describe the millennium, let’s look at the main section of Scripture that describes this in Revelation 20:1-10.
So there’s a LOT of stuff in those 10 verses, and a lot of questions, but the main thing I want to focus on is the 1,000 year reign of Christ where the devil is chained. Here’s the three main views on that.
· Premillennialism (the most common view) says that the 2nd Coming will be about the start of the millennial reign on earth.
· Post-millennialism says that the church, through spreading the gospel to all nations, will usher in this 1,000 years of peace and then we’ll have the 2nd coming.
· Amillennialism basically means no millennium, but they say they believe in a millennium just not a literal thousand year millennium, and that we’re in it now, and that the devil is currently chained up (Matthew 12:29).
I humbly suggest that the second two views are stupid, and that the first view is most likely correct :)
Let’s go back to Micah.
10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.
This is another amazing prophecy over 100 years away about the Babylonian captivity.
Chapter 5 has a wonderful prophecy that was perfectly fulfilled as they always are.
1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
This could refer to Nebuchadnezzar and his siege on Jerusalem but I’m not sure. This verse should have gone with the previous chapter. The next verse though, is hugely important.
2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though 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 from of old, from everlasting.
Jesus is eternal and He would come from Bethlehem. This is an amazing prophecy we can see perfectly fulfilled. This was written at least 700 years before the birth of Christ. That’s incredible.
So let’s go to Matthew 2 and read verses 1-6.
What I find so incredible about this, and maybe it’s not that incredible, but these priests and scribes knew the Scripture really well! They had it solid, scripture was their full time job basically, and yet they ignored the prophecy when they were in Jerusalem just 5.5 miles away from Bethlehem!
But we can’t be too critical because look how much of Scripture that we ignore because it’s hard, uncomfortable or inconvenient. Look what we read earlier in Revelation 20. It’s coming, of that we can be absolutely certain.
1 Hear ye now what the Lord saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.
Chapter 6 is God pleading with His people.
2 Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord's controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the Lord hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.
3 O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.
4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
God is saying, if you have anything against me let’s hear it! I sent you people to help and guide you and delivered you from Egypt. Let’s go to verse 8.
8 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?
It’s easy to add complications to Christianity, but this goes back to our first Bible study and the verse I love, Genesis 5:24, “And Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him.”
Here in Micah 6, we are told what pleases God.
· To do justly. Literally, “adhere to justice.”
o To give God His due. To love God.
o To love your neighbor.
· To Love mercy.
o Not only to do what justice requires, but also what mercy, kindness, benevolence, and charity require.
· How? To walk humbly with God. Part of the reason people reject God is it requires humility. It requires confessing to God that you are a sinner. It requires we acknowledge God as the supreme one, the Almighty, the Eternal King of Kings.
God is in charge, not us, because we were bought with a price.
Chapter 7 has some great verses I want to wrap up with that should be an encouragement to us when we go through trials. Let’s go to verse 7.
7 Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.
9 I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.
10 Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.