TODAYíS READING: MICAH 1-7
Micah prophecies of Godís wrath (chapter 1); Godís attitude toward oppression (chapter 2); Godís judgment on Israelís leaders (chapter 3); the restoration of Israel (chapter 4); Christ foretold (chapter 5); the Lordís controversy (chapter 6).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Micah, whose name means, ďWho is like JehovahĒ, was a country boy from the foothills of Judah. He prophesied to the nation of Israel before the captivity by Samaria in 722 B.C. (735-710 B.C.). His ministry spanned the reigns of Jotham (750-731 B.C.), Ahaz (731-715 B.C.), and Hezekiah (715-686 B.C.). Most of his prophecy is directed toward Judah (the southern kingdom) since the northern tribes of Israel were about to fall to Samaria. He was a contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah.
God opens the book by addressing all of creation (1:1). He foretells His judgment against both Judah (two southern tribes) and Israel (ten northern tribes). This prophecy is partially fulfilled when Israel is taken captive by Samaria in 722 B.C. and Judah is taken captive by Babylon in 605 B.C. However, when taken literally, the verbiage points to a time when Israel (as a nation) will be judged again. There is no doubt that the reference to the Lord coming forth out of His place to tread upon the high places of the earth refers to the coming tribulation/Day of the Lord.
God then singles out one of Israelís sins in chapter 2. It is the sin of injustice. He speaks to those who devise ways to oppress their neighbor. God makes it clear throughout the Bible that He will repay those who oppress the less fortunate, especially the fatherless and widows. What an opportunity for us to make our Christianity ďrealĒ (James 1:27)! Look for those around you who are oppressed. Where are the fatherless and widows in our church? When you understand the heart of God you will see the need to minister to single moms, students whose fathers have left, and those who have been oppressed by others. Real ministry means really sacrificing to meet the needs of others. Are you involved?
Micah 2:10 warns Israel to prepare for their coming captivity. Those prophets who tell Israel that the captivity isnít coming will be received by the people (2:11). Mark it down; the popularity of a pastor in no way indicates the accuracy of a pastor. The Bible proves over and over again that people tend to believe the person who tells them what they want to hear (II Tim. 4:2-4).
In chapter 3 God warns the leaders of Israel that they will be held accountable for their failure. Godís judgment always begins at His house with His leaders (I Peter 4:17). Just as the anti-Christ will proclaim peace before the tribulation (Daniel 8:25), the leaders of Israel were proclaiming peace before the coming captivity (3:5).
Micah prophesies of the coming millennium in chapter 4. This parallels Ezekielís prophecy in Ezekiel 44-48. The people of the earth will flow to the throne of Christ (4:1). It is a time when the Lord will reign over all the nations of the earth (4:7) and nations will be at peace with other nations (4:3-5). The world seeks to bring in peace without Christ. However, there will be no peace without Christ. This principle applies to our own personal walk as well. We all want peace in our life. Many times we see others (and many times even ourselves!), try to find peace without allowing Christ to have victory over strongholds in our lives and reign from the throne of our hearts. Christ brings peace only when He rules.
Micah chapter 5 contains one of the most well known prophecies concerning Christ. His place of birth is foretold (Bethlehem Ė 5:2) and His kingdom is foretold (5:4).
Micah chapter 6 contains a trial. The Lord is bringing a legal argument (controversy Ė 6:2) against His people. He calls on nature to serve as the jury (6:1), and Micah to act as His prosecuting attorney. He reminds Israel of His goodness to them and the leaders He has provided for them (6:3-5). It should be noted that Moses, Aaron and Miriam were not without sin. Aaron and Miriam are most often remembered by their failures (the golden calf and questioning Mosesí authority). However, they were all Godís chosen leaders and God reminds Israel that they are a sign of His goodness. How often Godís people complain against the leaders He has provided.
God then admonishes Israel to rise above religious ceremony and experience a genuine relationship with Him (6:8). He wants them to walk WITH HIM! He wants them to do what is right, but show mercy to those who donít. This thing called Christianity is summed up in this one verse. Walk with God! Do right! Love mercy!
Micah ends his Book by prophesying about the eventual restoration of Israel (7:12-20). What a reminder to us that God delights in mercy! He pardons our iniquity! He has compassion on us! And He has cast off our sins! Why? He wants to walk with us. Check that out ó WITH US!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the RULER IN ISRAEL WHO WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM Ė Micah 5:2. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem as the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give to Him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32-33; 2:4-6).