MICAH 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7
Today’s reading is the whole book of the prophet Micah – all seven chapters of it. What does it say? Well, the weekly notes from the Big Picture reading plan are a good background for us: https://1drv.ms/w/s!AqmXwc9NXEEFiGHuJ8JXPUgCu93C?e=cp9wmZ
o The only mentions of the Prophet Micah are in the Book of Micah and in Jeremiah 26:18. Micah was from a town in southern Judah and lived at the same time as Isaiah and Hosea, whom we will read about next week. Micah was not an educated member of the ruling classes, as Isaiah was, and was rather more like Amos – a guy who was brought up in a village. But his prophecies were equally ‘spot-on’.
o He was a ‘social prophet’ bringing God’s displeasure against social injustice and corruption
o He prophesied to Judah (Southern Kingdom) between 700 and 650 BC. Doom and Hope!
o God hates idolatry, injustice, rebellion, and ritualism, but loves to show mercy to those who repent!
o Three cycles of judgment and restoration are prophesied: 1:2 – 2:13; 3 – 5; 6 – 7.
o 4:1-3 is mirrored in Isaiah 2:1-4 and is well known
o 5:2-4 is a messianic prophecy and is one of the most famous of all
o Micah 6:8 is the key verse of the Book: to Act justly, Love mercy, Walk humbly with God.
o In western society and church we are more likely to separate social and spiritual actions, but this was not a feature of the more holistic Middle Eastern cultures that Israel embraced. In 6:8, God makes it clear that you cannot love him without also loving your fellow man, and your Christian brothers and sisters, in particular. (See also 1 John – the whole book!)
o Rebellion naturally brings judgment from the Lord: failure of the harvests, wars, and poverty; repentance swiftly brings restoration of these vital supply lines of life
o False prophets, who lead the people astray, come in for harsh judgment indeed!
o The beginning of Chapter 4 is also an End-Times prophecy, perhaps extending into the Age to Come. God’s people will overcome all trials and will inherit the land forever.
How does it show Jesus?…
o The messianic prophecy described above is a very clear prediction of the First Coming of Christ. The gospels make it clear that Micah was spot on with his details.
o Jesus, by his life on earth, modelled and fleshed out the social aspects of God’s justice that were required. He seamlessly integrated body and spirit, social and spiritual for us.
What does it mean for us?…
o Beware today the danger of falling away – out of a complacent attitude
o If you have let God down, his mercy is always so close to pick you up and restore you
o Social justice is empty without the proper spiritual hope that the Lord brings to it
o Loving God and then neglecting our brothers and sisters is not really loving God!
How can we respond?…
o Put Micah 6:8 into practice in your life
o Watch out for false prophecy and false prophets who are out to lead us astray!
o Mix love for God with love for others. It makes sense!