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Micah 1-2

Micah is a book about God’s judgement and God’s plan to put His King to rule over His people. The name Micah means “Who is like Yahweh?”, which is also used in 7v18, and that is the sense we get from this book: Who is this just and powerful judge, punishing sin but by grace having a plan for the salvation of His remnant.

This is the first of three posts on Micah, dividing the book into Ch 1-2, 3-5 and 6-7. Each of these sections starts with a call to “Hear”, and so helps us make this division.

Starting with Chapters 1-2 which is a warning that God’s judgement and punishment will come on Israel because of their sin, of worshipping idols and not obeying God’s word.

Micah 1

[1] The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

[2] Hear, you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it, and let the Lord GOD be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. [3] For behold, the LORD is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. [4] And the mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split open, like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place.

[5] All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem? [6] Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country, a place for planting vineyards, and I will pour down her stones into the valley and uncover her foundations. [7] All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces, all her wages shall be burned with fire, and all her idols I will lay waste, for from the fee of a prostitute she gathered them, and to the fee of a prostitute they shall return.

[8] For this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked; I will make lamentation like the jackals, and mourning like the ostriches. [9] For her wound is incurable, and it has come to Judah; it has reached to the gate of my people, to Jerusalem.

[10] Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all; in Beth-le-aphrah roll yourselves in the dust. [11] Pass on your way, inhabitants of Shaphir, in nakedness and shame; the inhabitants of Zaanan do not come out; the lamentation of Beth-ezel shall take away from you its standing place. [12] For the inhabitants of Maroth wait anxiously for good, because disaster has come down from the LORD to the gate of Jerusalem. [13] Harness the steeds to the chariots, inhabitants of Lachish; it was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion, for in you were found the transgressions of Israel. [14] Therefore you shall give parting gifts to Moresheth-gath; the houses of Achzib shall be a deceitful thing to the kings of Israel. [15] I will again bring a conqueror to you, inhabitants of Mareshah; the glory of Israel shall come to Adullam. [16] Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair, for the children of your delight; make yourselves as bald as the eagle, for they shall go from you into exile.

Verse 1 sets the time for us, which is one generation after Amos and one before Hosea. Amos had showed us this moral rot in Samaria, which we see condemned shortly.

Verses 2-4 give us a dramatic introduction of God coming down to earth: judgement is coming to Israel. I find this description of the mountains and valleys before God powerful, reminding me that first of God’s power, secondly that God is not distant, and thirdly that the earth is not as secure as we might like to think.

Verses 5-7 then explain why God is angry, because of the sin of Samaria and of Jerusalem, with  Samaria worshipping idols instead of God and now Jerusalem is copying them. So destruction will come to Samaria and to the gates of Jersualem, which is what happened in the Assyrian invasion of Israel.

From verse 8 Micah mourns for Israel. I find the lowest part is verse 9, reading that “her wound is incurable”. From verse 10 he predicts the inhabitants of Israel will mourn. Here he uses some play on words with the town names, for example Shaphir means “beauty town” but it will go from splendour to shame. Note also thar the towns form a circle around Micah’s home town.

In conclusion, I find this a moving reminder of God’s justice and power to judge. And so I’m full of thankfulness for our Lord Jesus.

Micah 2
[1] Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. [2] They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. [3] Therefore thus says the LORD: behold, against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks, and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be a time of disaster. [4] In that day they shall take up a taunt song against you and moan bitterly, and say, “We are utterly ruined; he changes the portion of my people; how he removes it from me! To an apostate he allots our fields.” [5] Therefore you will have none to cast the line by lot in the assembly of the LORD.

[6] “Do not preach”—thus they preach— “one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.” [7] Should this be said, O house of Jacob? Has the LORD grown impatient? Are these his deeds? Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly? [8] But lately my people have risen up as an enemy; you strip the rich robe from those who pass by trustingly with no thought of war. [9] The women of my people you drive out from their delightful houses; from their young children you take away my splendor forever. [10] Arise and go, for this is no place to rest, because of uncleanness that destroys with a grievous destruction. [11] If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,” he would be the preacher for this people!

[12] I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. [13] He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the LORD at their head.

In this chapter we see more of the sin of Israel. In verses 1-5 we see that those who oppress others for gain will lose all they have. It is futile to work against God for worldly gain.

Then in verse 6 we see the people complain to Micah about his preaching, not believing God will bring this disgrace on them. We will also see this further in chapter 6, how the people don’t understand God, and they think they can keep him happy with sacrifices, and they don’t understand their behaviour is what matters.
In verse 7 we read that God’s Word will do good to the upright, and we contrast this to their behaviour in the next few verses, of robbing and driving out. Verse 11 concludes this section by responding to verse 6: instead of Micah’s true preaching the best thing for this people would be about wine. What a condemnation for them!

Despite these sins, verses 12-13 is a ray of hope. God will gather his remnant and lead them. In the short term this would have been fulfilled by the release of the blockade of Jerusalem by the Assyrians.

Concluding, we should be reminded of the importance of listening to God’s word and not other teaching which just gives us what we want to hear. And we remark on God’s amazing grace to want to save His people despite so much sin.

References
Thanks to the ESV bible and the Tyndale Old Testament commentary

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This entry was posted on March 6, 2016 by in Christianity and tagged , , .
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