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Old Testament Overview - Micah

Seeing our world through God's eyes.

Key Events:

Introduction (1:1)  (1) Often, because our vision is conditioned by the world's judgment of itself, we become blinded to what the world is really like.  Certainly, this was true in Micah's time.  In this book, Micah is used by God to reveal to the people of both Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom) how God saw them.  Micah exposes their wickedness and predicts God's coming judgment on them.  But, Micah also predicts that after the judgment God will restore them and fulfill His plans for them and the world.  (2) Micah was a prophet at the same time as Isaiah. Compare Mic. 1:1 and Isa. 1:1  (3) Micah is quoted three times in other books of the Bible. See 3:12 and Jer. 26:18; 5:2 and Matt. 2:5-6; 7:6 and Matt. 10:35-25  (4) Micah predicts the following: God's judgment on Israel (1:6-7); the Assyrian attack on Judah and Jerusalem (1:9-16); the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (3:12); the exile in Babylon (4:10a); the return from captivity (4:10b); the future restoration of Israel and the millennial kingdom (4:1-8); the birth place of the Messiah (5:2); and the future rule of the Messiah (2:12-13, 4:7)

Listen to God's judgment against Israel and Judah (1-3)  (1) Listen everyone for God is coming in judgment (1:2-16)  (The mountains melt before God as he comes down to earth. 1:2-4)  (This is one of the number of times that earthquakes and volcanoes are used to describe what God's anger against sin is like. See also Judges 5:4-5; Ps. 18:7-9; Isa. 64:1-2)  (The judgment has come because Israel's and Judah's capital cities are centers of sin and corruption. 1:5)  (Because of this corruption in Israel and Judah, God will strike out in judgment against them. 1:6-16)  (God's judgment against Samaria 1:6-7)  (In these verses, Micah describes the total destruction of Samaria, even to the point of having her building stripped to their foundations and thrown down into the valley. See II Kings 17:5-6)  (God's judgment against Judah 1:8-16)  (Micah wails as he considers the invasion of his own country by the Assyrians.  "The prophet describes in vivid and striking simile the fate of various cities as the invading forces come upon them.  It is impossible to see this in English, but the Hebrew is a series of puns upon the names of cites.  For instance Micah says, 'Tell it not in Gath, weep not at all; in Beth-le-aphrah roll yourselves in the dust.' (1:10).  The name Gath means 'weep' and the name Beth-le-aphrah means 'dust town.'  Thus the passages would read something like this: 'in Weep-town, weep not; in Dust-town, roll yourself in the dust; in Beauty town, beauty will be shamed; in Zaanan (which means 'march') they will march not forth; in Neighbor-town they will end up useless neighbors; and Bitter-town, they grieve bitterly." Taken fromHiglights of the Bible by Ray Stedman.)  (2) Woe to those who enjoy planning evil. (2:1-5)  (Throughout this book, Micah exposes the carnivorous preying on the weak by the strong that had become part of the lifestyle in his country.  Unfortunately, this practice is not limited to Micah's time or to his country.  It always takes place when a people or a country move away from God and toward selfish indulgence. See Rom. 1:28-32)  (At night they plan evil and during the day they carry out what is in their power to do. 2:1)  (They use the same "might makes right" principle that has been present throughout man's history. See also Gen. 31:29)  (But God is "planning disaster" against those who plan evil. 2:3-5)  (Instead of them dividing up the possessions of the poor, their possessions will be divided up by others.)  (But Israel's false prophets do not want to hear about God's judgment on Israel. 2:6-11)  (The false prophets do not prophesy that "disgrace" will come on us. 2:6 Compare to Amos 7:16)  (Would you not be glad to hear these prophecies of judgment coming on the evil, if you were living righteously and were being persecuted by those who are evil? 2:7)  (They were making the charge that many also make today, that a loving God would not say such things.  But God's just judgments on sin are recognized as good by those who are seeking to do what is right and are being persecuted by those who are ruled only by this their own selfishness.)  (But you, Israel, have defiled the land and therefore must be cast out of it. 2:8-10)  (Micah describes how no one, even women and children, are safe from the treachery in Israel.)  (Many in our country recognize that our property and our lives are not as safe as they were in years past.  Our doors are locked when they once were unlocked.)  (You only listen to the prophet who tells you what you want to hear. 2:11)  (False prophets arise when we no longer listen to the true prophet.)  (Nevertheless, God will once again gather you together and lead you out of bondage—as a shepherd lead his sheep. 2:12-13)  (3) Listen, leaders of Israel to God's judgment on you. (3)  (Listen, you leaders who hate good and love evil, and who treat other people like meat for your meals; in the day of judgment, God will close His ears to your cries. 3:1-4)  (They should be dealing with people with fairness and justice, but instead they treat others like someone who is skinning and eating an animal.)  (Because you welcome the prophets who prophesy what you want to hear, God will reward you with darkness and shame.  But God has rewarded Micah with power—with the Spirit of the Lord. 3:5-8)  (God's judgment on the false prophets. 3:5-7)  (Those who have blinded the people's eyes will be blinded themselves.)  (Their deception will be its own punishment—it will lead them and those who listen to them into greater and greater darkness.)  (Notice in 3:5 that the prophets predicted good to those who were good to them and bad to those who were bad to them, rather than predicting good to those who did good in God's eyes.)  (God's blessing on Micah the true prophet. 3:8)  (But God blessed Micah with His power, His Spirit, and an understanding of His justice to enable him to boldly proclaim the truth.  Here, we have a standard for today's prophet of God as well.  Micah told the people what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear.)  (Hear this you leaders who pervert all that is good and have built your kingdom with wickedness, yet think that God is on your side.  Your country will be plowed under like a field. 3:9-12)  (Look at Jeremiah 26 to see how these words of Micah and King Hezekiah's response to them saved Jeremiah's life. See especially 26:16-19)

But in the last days, God will be gracious to His people (4-5)  (1) The future kingdom (4:1-8)  (Jerusalem will be elevated above the nations. 4:1-3)  (Jerusalem will be elevated physically in the last days. 4:1)  (Zech. 14:9-10 also states that Jerusalem will be physically elevated in the last days.)  (Jerusalem will be elevated spiritually in the last days. 4:1b—2)  (As Jerusalem is raised up as the source of spiritual knowledge, people from all over the world will stream to it. See also Zech. 8:2-23)  (In our day, we have seen people stream to India to receive wisdom from the gurus of Hindu thought; but in the future there will be a place on earth where truth can be found.)  (Jerusalem will be elevated judicially. 4:2b-3a)  (From Jerusalem, God will maintain justice in the world. See Ps. 2; Rev. 2:26-27; 12:5)  (There will be universal peace in the last days. 4:3b-4)  (Whereas in Micah's time, it was not safe to walk in the streets, in the future it will be safe to sleep in the fields. Compare 2:8-10 and 4:4)  ("Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken." 4:4)  (This may be speaking of individual ownership of property.)  (There will be universal reverence for God in the last days. 4:5)  (Here, Micah contrasts the worship of idols in his day with the worship of God in the last days.)  (Israel will be restored. 4:6-8)

(2) The future deliverance from Babylon (4:9-10)  (Micah predicts the future Babylonian invasion and exile that would not take place for over 100 years—the last king that Micah prophesied under was Hezekiah and his reign ended in 688 BC and Babylon conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC See 1:1(3) Israel's future victory 4:11-13)  (At some time in the future, the nations of the world will gather together to attack Israel, but at that time God will thresh them like grain with a God-empowered Israel. See Joel 3; Zech. 12, 14(4) The humiliation and defeat of a king of Israel is predicted. (5:1)  (The king defeated by Babylon was Zedekiah. See II Kings 25:1-7(5) Israel is introduced to their future King—Jesus. (5:2-6)  (His birthplace—Bethlehem. 5:2)  (Here we have a prediction of the humble birthplace of the eternal One.  The Jewish scribes of Jesus' day knew that this verse referred to the birthplace of the Messiah.  Notice in Matt. 2:1-8 that the Jewish religious leaders were able to immediately answer King Herod when he asked them, "Where the Christ was to be born.")  ("whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." 5:2  The NASB puts it this way: "From the days of eternity."  "The phrases of this text are the strongest possible statement of infinite duration in the Hebrew language (Ps. 90:2; Pr 8:22-23).  The preexistence of the Messiah is being taught here, as well as His active participation in ancient times in the purposes of God." Taken from The Minor Prophets by Feinberg See also Jer. 30:27)  (The future King's gathering of His flock. 5:3-4)  (Micah looks to a time in future when the Messiah will gather His flock—the Jews—to His side and will shepherd them securely under His care.)  (The future King will deliver Israel from the Assyrian. 5:5-6)  (Scholars are not in agreement about the identity of the "Assyrian."  Some see him as a symbol of all the nations that will attack Israel in the last days and some see him as being the antichrist.  The 2011 NIV translates it as "Assyrians." (6) The future kingdom of the King is described. (5:7-15)  (God's future kingdom of Israel will be a blessing to some nations and a curse to others—"like dew from the Lord [a blessing]" and "like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep [a curse]." See II Cor. 2:14-16)  (The nation of Israel will be purged of idolatry, witchcraft, and every type of false confidence. 5:10-14)  (God will judge the nations that have not obeyed Him. 5:15)

The case against God's chosen nation (6-7)  (1) The mountains are witnesses to God's case against His people. 6:1-2)  (God's case is so obvious that even the mountains cannot miss it.)  (2) God's case against Israel. (6:3-5)  (God asks what He did to Israel to get the kind of response He has gotten from them.  Is it because He did not curse them when Balaam asked Him to curse them?  Is it because He watched over them and led them from Shittim to Gilgal? See Numb. 25:1; Josh 2:1  For Shittim, see Josh. 4:18-25)  ("from Shittim to Gilgal" describes the nation of Israel crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land.)  (3) The peoples' defense (6:6-7)  (How can I come before the Lord?  Are not my burnt offerings enough?  Do I need to offer thousands of offerings or sacrifice my firstborn son?)  (In other words: "What kind of ridiculous extreme are you asking of me?")  (4) The mountains reply: "You know that it is not sacrifices that please God. 6:8 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." 6:8 See also Deut. 10:12, 17-18; Matt. 22:37-38; Rom. 13:8-10(5) God continues His case against His people. (6:9-16)  (Listen, as the Lord lists off your sins: your dishonest gain, your violence, and your lies.)  (Therefore, He will judge you. 6:13-16)  (All your efforts will result in emptiness—dissatisfaction after eating and empty storehouses after storing up. 6:13-14)  (Because you have followed after your wicked kings Omri and Ahab, you will hear the scorn of the nations they followed. 6:16 See I Kings 16:25-26, 30-31(6) Micah's misery over his sinful nation (7:1-6)  (The godly are gone. 7:1-2a)  (Micah is like someone who gathers grapes and figs and could find none that he could eat.  So, he could not find anyone who was faithful and "upright" in the land.)  (Only the evil are left. 7:2b-6)  (Micah describes the evil in his land.  It is as if everyone is hunting each other.  Today, it is what it would be as if if everyone was hunting each other like hunters hunt for deer and elk.  Everyone was looking for what they could get from others—no one could be trusted.)  ("Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words." 7:5)

(7) Micah hopes that God will yet restore His people. (7:7-20)  (God will restore His people after their time of judgment has been completed. 7:7-10)  (Though, in their future, Israel will be under the power of their enemies for a while, she will see her enemy defeated.)  (At that time, God will set up His kingdom. 7:11-20)  (Israel's boundaries will be extended and the people of the world will come to them. 7:11-12 See also 4:1b-2a)  (at that time, the earth will be desolate because of the world's sins. 7:13)  (There once again will be miracles and prosperity in Israel; and other nations will be humbled before her.)  ("Bashan" and "Gilead" were known for their fertility.)  (7:17 reminds us of Gen. 3:14 and God's curse on the serpent.  "They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground." 7:17a)  (At that time God will be praised because of His great mercy. 7:18-20)  ("The Hebrew name translated 'Micah' means 'Who is like Jehovah?'  We detect a little play on this when Micah winds up His message with the question, "Who is a God like unto thee'" Taken from Explore the Book by            J. Sidlow Baxter.)  (And so Micah ends with the mercy of God.  We can be glad as we look at the world through the eyes of God, that though we see sin as it is, we can also see God's compassion on that same world.  And though God sees our sin as it is, He also has compassion toward us.  We can also look on the people around us seeing their sin as it is, but we are also to have God's compassion for them.)

Key Verses1:3-7, 3:8, 4:1-5, 5:2, 3-6, 6:3-5, 8, 7:7, 18-20

Key TeachingsGod's coming judgment on Israel for their sins. (1:3-16, 3:1-12)  God will deliver Israel (2:12-13)  God will rule in a future Israel (4:1-7, 12-13)  Their future King will be born in Bethlehem. (5:2)  (He will rule over Israel and protect them. 5:4-6)  God will restore His people Israel after their time of judgment has come to an end. (7:7-20)

Old Testament Overview Studies

Old Testament Overview
Table of Contents
Old Testament Overview Outline
Old Testament Overview Genesis
Old Testament Overview Exodus to Deuteronomy
Old Testament Overview Furniture of the Tabernacle
Old Testament Overview Dress of Priests and High Priest
Old Testament Overview Dress of High Priest
Old Testament Overview Canaan: What Can it Teach Us?
Old Testament Overview Israel, God's Kingdom
Old Testament Overview Moses—Failure the Backdoor to Success
Old Testament Overview The Mosaic Covenant
Old Testament Overview The Ten Commandments
Old Testament Overview The Offerings
Old Testament Overview Uncleanness
Old Testament Overview The Priesthood
Old Testament Overview The Festivals
Old Testament Overview The Nazirite Vow
Old Testament Overview Joshua to Ruth
Old Testament Overview Prophecies of the Redeemer—Genesis to Ruth
Old Testament Overview I and II Samuel
Old Testament Overview Saul and David Compared
Old Testament Overview Jonathan and David Compared
Old Testament Overview The Davidic Covenant
Old Testament Overview I And II Kings
Old Testament Overview Israel's and Judah's Kings
Old Testament Overview Divided Kings who Divided
Old Testament Overview Criticisms of God's Actions in the Old Testament
Old Testament Overview Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther
Old Testament Overview Ruth and Esther Compared
Old Testament Overview Job to Song of Solomon
Old Testament Overview Proverbs: Wise Man or Fool?
Old Testament Overview Isaiah
Old Testament Overview Jeremiah
Old Testament Overview Daniel
Old Testament Overview Hosea
Old Testament Overview Joel
Old Testament Overview Amos
Old Testament Overview Obadiah
Old Testament Overview Jonah
Old Testament Overview Micah
Old Testament Overview Nahum
Old Testament Overview Habakkuk
Old Testament Overview Zephaniah
Old Testament Overview Haggai
Old Testament Overview Zechariah
Old Testament Overview Malachi