Micah was contemporary with Hosea and Isaiah, prophesying during the reigns of the Judean kings, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1). His message is identified as what “he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem” (1:1), which are the respective capitals of Israel (the northern tribes) and Judah (the southern tribes). His message to Samaria is limited to the first chapter; in fact, he foretold their fall to Shalmaneser of Assyria which took place in 722 BC (1:6).
There is very little revealed about Micah. We know he was from the village of Moresheth (1:1), which is on the border of Philistia and Judah, near the city of Gath a per Jerome and Eusebius. His name exalts God, meaning “who is like Yah?” (Yah, being an abbreviated form of Yahweh)
As the book of Micah unfolds, we find alternating prophecies about destruction and hope. He presents this in 3 cycles, the first in chapters 1-2, the second in chapters 3-5, and the third in chapters 6-7.
In 1:2-2:11, the prophet condemns the wickedness of the people and speaks of the destruction which their sins invite. But in 2:12-13, he foretells the restoration of a remnant who will acknowledge God and His ways.
In Micah 3, the prophet rebukes the wickedness of the rulers among God’s people. The perversion of justice among the leaders was rampant, involving kings, nobles, prophets, and priests. Micah foretells the destruction of Jerusalem as the punishment for their wickedness (3:12). But in chapters 4-5, Micah again
gives a message of hope: “…in the latter days… the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it” (4:1). The people would be determined to walk in God’s way (v 5) and He would reign over them forever (v 7). Micah foretold the coming of the Messiah in 5:2, born in Bethlehem and identified as “…the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
In Micah 6, the prophet declares “…the LORD has a complaint against His people…” (6:2). Like their ancestors, the people claimed the LORD had wearied them. He reminds them of the Exodus generation, and how they had turned away from Him at the counsel of Balak and Balaam. Again, he rebukes them for following the statutes of Omri and the works of Ahab, which bring desolation and a reproach (6:16). The description of wickedness among the people of God continues in chapter 7 until a Shepherd comes into view, Who would lead, protect, feed, and show wonders to the people (7:14-15).
There are many wonderful lessons to learn from the book of Micah. Consider two of the greatest from chapters 6 & 7:
The prophet considers our approach to the Lord. Does He desire burnt offerings and such? Hear the prophet: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (6:8). Go check out 1 Samuel 15:22, which teaches the same lesson!
Micah closed the book by saying, “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgressions of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy” (7:18). Remember Micah’s name means “who is like God.” He emphasizes the forgiveness of God; He desires to pardon our sin and to show us mercy, and has done so through the sending of Jesus Christ, His Son and our Saviour.
Our next book summary will be on Nahum…