First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Hello KLMX listeners. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. This week weíll be looking at some more of the so-called Minor Prophets. Back in January, I covered the 1st 5- Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah. This week, Iíll try to cover 5 more, starting with Micah. As with all the prophets, there is a consistent theme and that is the prophet addressing a nation, proclaiming their sin, and urging them to repent lest the wrath of God fall upon them. Inside that theme, though, there are variations and, important to New Testament followers, a hint of the coming of Jesus Christ. And so, with a request for Godís blessing upon this message, letís take a look at Micah.
First, Micah is a difficult book to boil down to just 15 minutes. He says a lot of things that are hard, maybe impossible to understand, without also knowing the history behind the statements. As I just mentioned, Micahís basic message is one of repentance. The house of Judah has been acting poorly in the eyes of God and Micah is sent to warn them of this fact. Unlike most of the other prophets, though, Micah is heard and repentance does take place, during the kingship of Hezekiah. As we see if the very first verse of the book, Micah preached thru at least part of three kings, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah:
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. (Micah 1:1 NKJV)
Putting dates together, this tells us that Micah preached about 25 years before revival and repentance occurred. Thatís encouraging on several levels. First, it says that God gives his people plenty of time to repent. If His judgments were swift, weíd be in a lot of trouble. Fortunately, though, we know:
The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. (Psalms 103:8 NKJV)
The other encouragement is to us preachers. We sometimes get frustrated and doubtful when we preach and preach and preach and nothing seems to be happening. Yet, here in the Bible, we see Micah preaching for 25 years before anything dramatic happens. When repentance happened, though, it most certainly happened in a big way! We can read Hezekiahís story in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Hereís part of it:
And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses. The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went. (2 Kings 18:3-7 NKJV)
The lesson here is that God is patient and long-suffering- thatís good news for those in need of repentance. If you end your life having failed to repent, be assured that God gave you plenty of opportunity to do so. And for those who preach repentance, we must be patient, knowing that the seeds planted may take some time to sprout.
As far as the actual sins being committed by Judah, we can find some of them in chapter 2:
Woe to those who devise iniquity, And work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, Because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, Also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, A man and his inheritance. Therefore thus says the LORD: "Behold, against this family I am devising disaster, From which you cannot remove your necks; Nor shall you walk haughtily, For this is an evil time. In that day one shall take up a proverb against you, And lament with a bitter lamentation, saying: 'We are utterly destroyed! He has changed the heritage of my people; How He has removed it from me! To a turncoat He has divided our fields.' " Therefore you will have no one to determine boundaries by lot In the assembly of the LORD. "Do not prattle," you say to those who prophesy. (Micah 2:1-6 NKJV)
Several things are going on here- we see those how have power misusing it. We read of covetousness, that is, desiring the things that your neighbor has. We see oppression- "they oppress a man and his house." We see them telling the prophets "Do not prattle! We donít want to hear your message!" All of these are grievous sins, but especially for the house of Judah, as they were Godís own people and thus representatives of God. Of course, this ancient message has direct application to todayís people of God. As a Christian, or as a Christian minister, how we behave and present ourselves is very important. Certainly we sin and misstep, but to do so accidently and unexpectedly is a lot different than doing so deliberately and out of pre-meditation, as was the case with Micahís audience. After all, they were "devising iniquity and working out evil on their beds" and they were "devising disaster". This is pre-meditation or planned transgressions.
And while they were doing these things, they claimed:
"Is not the LORD among us? No harm can come upon us." (Micah 3:11 NKJV)
They thought that because they were Godís special people that He wouldnít hold them accountable. Micahís response said otherwise:
Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, And the mountain of the temple Like the bare hills of the forest. (Micah 3:12 NKJV)
Godís justice is always served, though, and it doesnít matter whether His people are the transgressors or not. In this case, the house of Judah is specifically repressing helpless people and God especially doesnít like that. His justice is most especially magnified when He brings justice for the oppressed. Iím sure youíve heard the saying "God helps them who help themselves". I challenge you to find that statement in the Bible. Instead, what youíll find is more like "God helps them who CANíT help themselves." Whereas the house of Judah should have been helping those in need, practicing fair business, and acting righteously, they were not. Godís justice hovers over them but fortunately they are led into revival and repentance by Hezekiah.
About this time in Micah, we run across one of the Messianic prophecies or statements that foreshadow Jesus Christ. Consider this;
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. For all people walk each in the name of his god, But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God Forever and ever. "In that day," says the LORD, "I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast And those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, And the outcast a strong nation; So the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on, even forever. (Micah 4:1-7 NKJV)
Consider how well Jesus matched this description. He did teach us his ways- leading the disciples for 3 years and having them leave us a record in the New Testament. He showed us the path upon which to walk, saying "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6 NKJV) He judged between many peoples, most dramatically between the Pharisees and the people they oppressed, calling the Pharisees "brood of vipers", "whitewashed tombs", "dirty cups", "hypocrites", "blind leaders of the blind" and so forth. In the last part of the section I quoted, God says:
"In that day," says the LORD, "I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast And those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, And the outcast a strong nation; So the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on, even forever.
I think you can see where God is exalting the oppressed, rather than strengthening the already strong.
Just a little later in Micah, we find another Messianic passage:
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting." (Micah 5:2 NKJV)
We know for sure that this one refers to Jesus because itís used in Matthew.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 'BUT YOU, BETHLEHEM, IN THE LAND OF JUDAH, ARE NOT THE LEAST AMONG THE RULERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.' " (Matthew 2:1-6 NKJV)
According to Matthewís record, the priests and scribes of the time knew that the Shepherd of Israel would come from Bethlehem. Later, they saw Jesus as a Nazarene, not knowing that he was actually born in Bethlehem. It was, in fact, Herodís persecution that caused Jesusí parents to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt and then later move to Nazareth, thus fulfilling another prophecy:
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON."(Matthew 2:14-15 NKJV)
To sum up Micah, we have a prophet doing what prophets do- warning the people of their sins and urging them to repent. In Micahís case his preaching was received by Hezekiah who did lead the people to repentance and thus gain them temporary relief from Godís just judgment. While this judgment was only temporary, we catch a glimpse of the necessity for a permanent salvation, this one provide for by the man Jesus Christ. The message of Micah is one presented throughout the entire Bible- repent and be saved. It was Micahís message and it was Peterís message:
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." (Acts 2:38-40 NKJV)
What will you do?
Back to Jonah
Forward to Nahum