The Message of Micah the Prophet

Micah the Prophet (740 - 670 B.C.)

Introduction

Micah (which means in Hebrew "Who is like the LORD?) was born in Moresheth Gath, a small town in southern Judah.  His prophetic ministry spanned the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.  He was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah, Amos and Hosea.


Micah's prophecy is only seven chapters long in the bible.  But it's pregnant with spiritual and prophetic riches.  With startling clarity and accuracy, the diminutive prophet foretold the impending destruction and fall of both Samaria and Jerusalem as God's judgment against his rebellious, wicked people.  What is particularly striking about Micah's testimony is that he lived to see the destruction of Samaria come to pass in 722-721 B. C.  But it was not until 150 years later that his prophecy pertaining to Jerusalem's fall and destruction was fulfilled, 586 B.C.  See Jeremiah 26: 17, 18; 52.  These stunning fulfillments demonstratively attest to the divine inspiration and authenticity of Micah's prophecy.   We can place complete confidence in the bible and "the prophetic word made more sure."  2 Peter 1:19, NASB.

Precise Prediction of Messiah's Birthplace and Coming


The most important and amazing prediction that Micah made concerned the birthplace of the Messiah, the Christ. "But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, you are little to be among the clans of Judah; [yet] out of you shall One come forth for Me Who is to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from ancient days (eternity)."  Micah 5:2, Amplified.  700 years before the fact, Micah predicted the precise birthplace of the Messiah!  That's the equivalent of being able to get an accurate local weather forecast today for the year 2712!  Amazingly, the historic record in Matthew 2:1 and Luke 2:1-8 record that Christ was indeed born in Bethlehem of Judah just as Micah had predicted 700 years before.

God's divine word was spoken from the prophet's mouth, and his almighty yet unseen hand is on the events of history, guiding and directing the affairs of man.  It's good to know that there is an infinitely powerful, all-knowing Power Who works invisibly behind the curtain of what we call unknown.  Yet He does, through his prophets, occasionally make known to us the secrets of the future so that we can be prepared for what surely will come to pass.  "Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.Amos 3:7, NKJV.  He gives his servants the prophets advance notice to pass on to his people so that they can be ready for what God is going to do.     

Hope in the Midst of Destruction and Doom

Micah's message of Messianic hope was couched in the midst of prophecies of impending disaster for God's people.  They strayed away from the worship of the only true God to serving idols which were not gods.  They oppressed the poor and afflicted, reducing them to grinding poverty and homelessness, and sexploited their women, using them as prostitutes and taking the ill-gotten booty to pay for the service of the pagan temples they worshiped at.  They practiced immorality with impunity, and the righteous God would no longer countenance their perversity and rebelliousness.  The rulers and princes were immoral, covetous, and disdainful of uprightness.  And self-serving prophets prophesying in the name of the LORD emboldened both rulers and people in their sin with their false visions of prosperity and smooth-sounding lies.  

Indeed, times were treacherous for the pure in heart who still sought after the heart of God and did his holy will.  Micah boldly called sin by its right name and fearlessly denounced the popular sins of his day, calling his countrymen's attention to God's righteous wrath and his fearful judgments which would swiftly and surely come.  He was a real spiritual leader, and did not shirk away from his assignment despite the challenges and personal peril:  

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. 

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,
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.'
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.
Micah 3:8, NIV 

It was in the midst of this gross spiritual decline, God through Micah offered a branch of hope.  That hope resided in the coming of Messiah, the One Who would lead his people in righteousness and restore faithfulness in Zion.  In stark contrast with the licentious and power-hungry kings before Him, He would sit on David's throne as a righteous judge.  Disaster at the hand of their enemies was coming because of their sins; but the promised Deliverer would come one day and lead them back to repentance, righteousness, justice and truth.    

Hope in the Last Days:  The End of Evil and the Restoration of Messiah's Eternal Rule

The LORD's faithful promise was not just for Micah's time, but for all time.  He says:

In the last days
the mountain of the LORD's temple
will be established as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.
Many nations will come and say,
'Come, let us go up into the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.'
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Micah 4:1-3, NIV.
The compassion and mercies of God to all the peoples and nations of the earth is everlasting.  There is no other God like Him.

Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
You will be true to Jacob,
and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged
on oath to our fathers in days long ago.

Micah 7:18-20, NIV

Applications

Social and moral conditions of our times parallel those of Micah's society.  A day does not pass without some report of crime, excess, greed, corruption and immorality in quarters high and low.  Human trafficking and abuse have proliferated, and the most vulnerable in society - women, children and the elderly - are the ones most victimized.  Grinding poverty is extending its grip over single-parent households and even former middle-class households.  The gap between the haves and the have nots is wider than ever, and the wealth of the rich almost invariably comes at the expense of the poor, with no relief in sight.  Worldly prosperity, power and influence have blinded the eyes of the rulers and guardians of the people, and many are the victims of the result injustice and oppression.  False prophets of peace and prosperity placate the masses with their smooth messages that comfort the sinner in his sin, but condemn the righteous in their distress!

But as surely as the prophetic word made more sure, the day is coming when God will call all into account for their ungodliness and corrupt deeds.  The time is now to seek the God of compassion and mercy who will forgive our sins and turn away his righteous indignation from those who seek the face of Him Who sits upon his throne of grace.  Who is like the LORD, forgiving iniquities and transgressions and sins?  The faithful King-Priest, Jesus the Messiah, sits in judgment now in heaven upon his throne, and will preserve his faithful people in righteousness until He shall return to mete out to every man his reward, according to his works.    


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