Micah 1

What does the Bible tell us about Micah?

[A]   The name Micah means “who is like Jehovah?”

[B]   He was from Moresheth (Micah 1:1 and Jeremiah 26:18), a place located about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem. The town/village was probably adjacent to Gath since it is referred to as Moresheth-gath in Micah 1:14.

[C]   He prophesied during the reigns of “Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Micah 1:1).

[D]   He was a contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos.

[E]   Jeremiah quoted Micah’s words in Jeremiah 26:18.

To whom did Micah direct his prophesies?

Micah spoke the word of the Lord (a divine message), which came to him concerning Samaria and Jerusalem (Micah 1:1). Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, was a city built on a hill (see 1 Kings 16:23-24). Jerusalem, the capital city of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, was also a city built on a hill. Jesus said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). A city set on a hill has much influence. These cities represented the seat of government for their respective kingdoms and exerted a powerful influence upon their surrounding areas.

Practical Consideration: We have a responsibility to pray for our leaders.
Jerusalem and Samaria were cities set on a hill. Jerusalem was a center of worship and government. Samaria was a center of false worship and government. The decisions made by the civic and religious rulers in these cities had a far-reaching impact on their respective kingdoms. We have a responsibility to pray for our leaders and to communicate with them about the decisions they make. We forfeit our right to criticize our leaders when we fail to exercise our right to vote, when we fail to express to them our views and concerns regarding the issues, and when we fail to pray for them.

What did Micah prophesy would happen to Samaria and Jerusalem?

Micah announced (Micah 1:2) that the judgment of God would come upon Samaria and Jerusalem. Note the description of that judgment:

[A]   Micah prophesied that the Lord “will come down and tread on the high places of the earth” (Micah 1:3). The high places were the locations of idol worship. Remember also that the two capital cities were built on high places or mountains. Micah declared that God would level everything raised in opposition to Him.

[B]   Micah prophesied that there would be natural catastrophes included in God’s judgment (Micah 1:4). This verse also reminds us that all things are God’s servants (see Psalm 119:91) and at His disposal as instruments of judgment.

[C]   Micah indicated that the reason for God’s judgment “is for the rebellion of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel (Micah 1:5). Notice that the blame falls upon the capital cities: “What is the rebellion of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?” (Micah 1:5). The decisions made in these cities by the leaders impacted their respective kingdoms. Trickle-down corruption!

[D]   Micah prophesied that the judgment of God would be so terrible that Samaria would be leveled to its foundations and idolatry destroyed. Everything built and gained apart from God would be lost (Micah 1:6-7).

[E]   Micah prophesied that the sin of the Northern Kingdom “is incurable [they had stepped over the line and gone too far], for it has come to Judah; it has reached the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem(Micah 1:8-9). Jerusalem would not escape God’s judgment. This caused Micah to lament, wail, and mourn (Micah 1:8). Like Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 20:7-9), Micah too, was a weeping prophet. He was a tender-hearted prophet with a tough message.

Practical Consideration: Sin inevitably leads to ruin.
Both the Northern and Southern Kingdom came to ruin because of their sin. Sin is destructive. Sin will give you what you want, but it will take what you have. The wages of sin has always been death and destruction. Men err when they think they can court sin without inviting disaster, destruction, and death.

What did Micah prophesy would happen to other cities?

Micah prophesied that several other cities would experience panic and calamity as a result of the coming judgment (Micah 1:10-14). Using a play on words, Micah described the panic that would result during the coming judgment.

[A]   Gath: (Micah 1:10) A Philistine city. Micah did not want for this Philistine city to know that judgment was coming upon Judah.

[B]   Beth-le-aphrah: (Micah 1:10) The name of this city means “house of dust.” The inhabitants of this city would roll themselves in the dust and mourn after God’s judgment. This verse might be read, “The people of Dustown will roll themselves in the dust!” Micah used this same word-play formula in describing events in the other towns and villages he listed.

[C]   Shaphir: (Micah 1:11) The name of this town means “pleasantness” or “beauty.” The inhabitants would go about in shameful nakedness as a result of God’s judgment.

[D]   Zaanan: (Micah 1:11) The name of this town means “going out.” The inhabitants would not escape (go out) God’s judgment.

[E]   Beth-ezel: (Micah 1:11) The name of this town means “house of removal.” They would have no place left to stand after God’s judgment.

[F]   Maroth: (Micah 1:12) The name of this town means “bitterness,” which is what they would experience through the events of God’s judgment.

[G]   Lachish: (Micah 1:13) This was the place through which idolatry was introduced into the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Some believe that pagan practices from Egypt were introduced at Lachish and then made their way to Jerusalem. Lachish would not escape God’s judgment.

[H]   Moresheth-gath: (Micah 1:14) Even Micah’s home-town would suffer in the coming judgment.

[I]   Achzib: (Micah 1:14) The name of this town means “lie” or “deceit.” Anyone expecting to find help or comfort from Achzib would find it a faithless and unreliable source of help.

[J]   Mareshah: (Micah 1:15) The name of this town means “possession.” It would be invaded by “the one who takes possession.”

[K]   Adullam: (Micah 1:15) This town, situated the farthest distance from the Assyrian Empire, would not escape God’s judgment.

Practical Consideration: Sin has a shadow.
Sin has a shadow. It casts is cold darkness upon the innocent or the passer-by. The sins committed in the capital cities of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms cast a pall upon the surrounding villages and towns. Our sin also has a shadow. The sins we commit cast a dark shadow upon those nearest to us or those who come within the sphere of our influence.

What did Micah call upon the nation to do?

Micah called upon the nation to mourn because their children would be carried off into captivity in the coming judgment (Micah 1:16).

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