Reflections on Micah

I’m reading through the Bible in a year, and every month I post about what I’ve read. Other posts this month shall be on 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

In reading the OT prophets one after the other, you soon become aware that their formula is: Judgment is coming, but it isn’t the last word. You could react by saying, “Oh no, not again,” or, “Oh yes, yet again!” It’s been said that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. Yahweh wasn’t distant and disinterested in what His covenant people were doing, and in His love He sent them warning after warning after warning over hundreds of years. Along with the warning, He also sent words of restoration for those who would obey. We find both elements in the book of Micah.

Micah (his name means ‘who is like Yahweh?’) prophesied in Judah before the fall of the northern kingdom (Micah 1:1). He warned both nations that God was going to judge them (1:3-7). Far from rubbing his hands in glee at this prospect, Micah wept.

What were the sins of Jerusalem and Samaria for which they were being judged? False religion (2:6-11). Evil leadership (3:1-12). Injustice and dishonest practices (6:9-11). Idolatry (1:5-7, 6:16). Quite a contemporary list, don’t you think?

In addition to being just, Yahweh is also merciful. He promises to be  a shepherd and king to His people (2:12-13). Right after stating that Jerusalem would be left as a heap of rubble, He promises that the mountain of the Lord’s temple would be established (3:12-4:1). He will teach the nations His ways (4:2) and will judge between the people (4:3). He will gather the lame and the exiles (4:6-7). He will destroy all those things that His people trusted in instead of Him (5:10-14). He will forgive sins and honour His covenant (7:18-20).

In reading my blog posts on the OT prophets one after the other, you soon become aware that my formula is: They didn’t see as full a picture as we can today! At the risk of redundancy, we find this element in the book of Micah. The shepherd and king is the ruler over Israel who is also Saviour and Judge. We still await fulfillment of some of Micah’s prophecy—4:3b-5, for example—but we can be assured that He will keep His word (7:20), for that is the kind of God He is!

Sources: Bible.org, Mark Dever, Pete Wilkinson/ St Ebbes Church.

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