For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4
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MICAH
- INTRODUCTION

 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2002 James Melough

Little is known of the prophet Micah which means who is like Jehovah?  He was a native of the town of Moresheth (Moresheth-Gath), about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and close to Gath, the name, in fact, meaning, possession of Gath, and he prophesied for approximately sixty years from about 740 to 687 BC during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  He was a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea.  Jeremiah  mentions him in Jer 26:18; and in Mt 10:35-36 the Lord quotes Mic 7:6.  The best known part of his prophecy is probably verse 5:2 which the Jewish leaders quoted to Herod in response to his question concerning the place of the Lordís birth, ďAnd they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, and thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel,Ē Mt 2:5-6.

Though the bulk of his prophecy was to Judah, which became captive to the Babylonians in 586 BC, he predicted the fall of Israel (the ten northern tribes), which fell to Assyria in 721 BC.  Mic 5:2 foretells the Lordís birth in Bethlehem, the fulfillment of these three prophecies giving the assurance that the prophet was what he claimed to be: Godís spokesman.

The style of the book indicates that Micah compiled the material some time after he had delivered the different parts orally, and at different times.

It may be of help to consider briefly the background against which his ministry is set.  During that century the character of Israel had changed drastically, and for the worse.  The God-ordained system of land tenure under which every man owned his land, and which ensured to a great extent an equitable distribution of wealth, had given place to a system closely resembling that which governs todayís world.

By bribing corrupt judges, and by any other means that served their avaricious purposes, unscrupulous men had seized the lands of others, so that there had arisen a class of rich land owners at one end of the social scale, and their poor victims at the other, each passing year broadening the gap between them.  In addition, there had also arisen an equally grasping and cruel merchant class, for whom the poor were fair game.  With the original God-ordained order cast aside, the poor, as in every age, became the helpless victims of the rich, and had little alternative but to remain on the land as virtual slaves of the wealthy land owners, or to migrate to the cities where they had also little alternative but to do menial work for mere subsistence wages.

But a further evil attended the rejection of Godís pattern for Jewish society.  The new system broke down the barriers that had kept her separate from the surrounding heathen nations, and very quickly her sin was compounded by her worship of the false gods of the nations, a worship which incorporated every form of sexual sin, and cast away every God-ordained restraint of moral corruption.  And to add insult to injury, the guilty nation kept up the empty form of worshiping Jehovah even while they also worshiped the gods of the nations, and relegated Him to a place of mere equality with those gods.

In a word, Israel had become a cesspool of every imaginable evil, leaving God no alternative but to destroy her.  But because He loved her in spite of her evil, He graciously sent His messengers, the prophets, to inveigh against the evil, to call her to repentance, and to warn her that refusal to repent would result in her becoming the object of His consuming wrath, He making the heathen nations His instruments of destruction.

If, however, we see nothing more in these prophetic books than the record of the past, we are reading them wrongly.  Israel is Godís mirror in which He bids us see ourselves, and if we fail to see that todayís world is the same moral cesspool as was the Israel addressed by the prophets, we are spiritually blind.  And if we fail to hear in the words of the prophets Godís words to us, we are spiritually deaf.

May God remove the scales from our eyes, and unstop our deaf ears, so that we will see how accurately Christendom is portrayed in the Israel addressed by the prophets, and hear in their words Godís voice speaking to us; and may that seeing and hearing produce the repentance which alone can avert His wrath and secure His blessing.  Remember, in the midst of her idolatry and moral corruption, Israel never ceased to maintain that she was Godís chosen nation; nor does equally apostate Christendom cease to  claim that she too belongs to Him, dismissing as inapplicable to her the words of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded in Mt 7:21-23, ďNot everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ... Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  and in they name have cast out devils?  and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.Ē

The message of the prophets was a call to Israel to repent in view of certain coming judgment, and that is still their message to apostate Christendom and to a sinful world, whose destruction will come in the form of the terrible Tribulation judgments that will destroy the whole present evil world system.  The Gospel is simply the confirmation of the prophetsí warnings, but it adds a note that is missing from their pronouncements, for it gives the assurance that those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior will be caught up to heaven before the Tribulation begins.

Relative to Israel, however, Scripture makes it clear that her blindness will not be healed until the Tribulation does begin, so that those who then become believers will have to endure the effects of those judgments just as will their unbelieving fellows, those believers who die having the assurance that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and those who live to the end of that terrible era, having the assurance of deliverance at the Lordís return to inaugurate His millennial kingdom, and bring them into the enjoyment of its blessings.

The believers in Israel in the days of the prophets were in the same position: their being believers didnít deliver them from having to endure the same affliction as the unbelievers.  Many of them also died, but they did so in anticipation of the resurrection of life; and those who survived lived in the expectation of the coming of the Lord to set up His kingdom, unaware that that coming would not be in their day, so that they too eventually died, but also in anticipation of the resurrection of life.

We are indebted to the late Dr Fredrick Tatford for the following list of similarities between the writings of Micah and Isaiah:

Micah

Isaiah

1:9-16

11:28-32

2:1,2

 5:8

2:6,11

30:10,11

2:11

28:7

2:12

10:20-23

3:5-7

29:9-12

3:12

32:14

4:1

 2:2

4:4

 1:20

4:7

 9:7

4:10

39:6

5:2-4

 7:14

5:6

14:25

6:6-8

58:6-7

7:7

 8:17

7:12

11:11

[Micah 1]

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     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough
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