Study Notes on Micah 3-4

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Outline

3:1-4    Rulers denounced for failing to demonstrate justice.

3:5-8    Prophets denounced for abusing their gifts.

3:9-12  Micah summarizes their sins and speaks forth God’s response.

4:1-5    Vision of the peaceful coming kingdom.

4:6-13  Punishment and redemption prophesied.

 

Points of interest

-3:4, prayers and pleas for help are ignored by God because the petitioner practices evil deeds.

-3:5, prophets are deemed false if they only preach “peace” and refuse to call people to repentance. Micah, a true prophet, speaks both judgment and peace.  

-3:11, the leaders ignorantly placed their trust on God dwelling in their midst to the detriment of obeying the terms of the covenant.

-Mic. 3:12 was remembered and quoted by the prophet Jeremiah 100 years later (Jer. 26:18-19). Judah apparently responded appropriately to Micah’s preaching, which in turn moved God to relent from bringing calamity promised to fall upon Jerusalem.  

-4:1, currently Mt. Zion is not the highest of the mountains in that region. In order for it to become the chief mountain, God will have to geographically intervene to alter the landscape.

-The Jewish Targum (commentary read alongside the passage) for Mic. 4:7 (“the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever”) states: “The kingdom of God will be revealed.”

-4:10 mentions Babylon as the location where Judah will be taken for exile. Micah’s prophetic ministry was in the eighth century BCE. Babylon conquered Jerusalem and exiled its inhabitants in 586 BCE. The redemption language is reminiscent of the time when God rescued Israel from Egypt (a ‘type’ of exile).  

 

Applications

  1. We must take care to not fall into the same trap that the audience of the prophets fell into. They only desired to hear the good news (and paid the prophets to hear these words). They did not want to hear the preaching which identified their sins (the bad news). While readers of the Book of Micah tend to resonate with the more favorable messages found in the fourth and fifth chapters, we need to discipline ourselves to listen to the harsh words of Micah as well. Remember that “all Scripture is inspired…to rebuke and reprove” (2 Tim. 3:16).
  2. Micah stood alone as the voice for God which called the Israelites out for their sins. If we can put ourselves in his shoes, we would see that it is often difficult to maintain the courage to call sin for what it is: disobedience towards the God we serve. It is much easier to let our fellow Christians deal with their problems on their own and for us to mind our own business. God commands his people in Galatians 6:1 to restore the sinner in the spirit of gentleness. While these conversations are often difficult to have, we need to imitate Christ in bearing the burdens of others within the believing community.
  3. Micah 4:5 says that “we will [continually] walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.” While it is extremely important to know who God is, the prophet Micah is summoning his audience to walk (i.e. live) according to the one true God. While it is relatively easy to confess the true God, it is a life-long commitment to walk in his ways. We must acknowledge that both aspects are important to the Christian life without letting one outweigh the other (cf. 1 Tim. 4:16; “watch your life and your doctrine”). 
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