6:1-16 God’s Case Against Israel
6:3-5 What God Has Done for the People
6:6-8 What God Expects in Return
6:9-12 What God Cannot Tolerate
6:13-16 What God Is Moved to Do
Points of interest
1. When Balak counseled Balaam to curse Israel, God turned the situation into a blessing for his people (cf. Num. 22-24).
2. “From Shittim to Gilgal” refers back to when the Israelites crossed into the promised land. Shittim is east of the Jordan while Gilgal is on the west side.
3. Micah 6:8 is certainly the key verse within this passage. Rather than offering an abundance of sacrifices in an attempt to appease God, a more personal response is required of the people. The first of these favored acts is to demonstrate justice. ‘Justice’ is a theme of Micah preached throughout his book, pointing towards the actions of the leaders and even at the local level (6:11). “Loving mercy” is the second thing which is required. “Mercy (Heb. chesed) perhaps is better rendered as loyalty or covenant faithfulness. Finally, the people are to walk humbly/carefully with their God.
4. The curses which God plans to bring upon his people in their unfaithfulness resemble other passages where Moses warned of similar things (Lev. 26:26; Deut. 28:30-31, 38-40).
4. Omri was an evil king who founded Samaria (1 Kings 16:16-30).
5. King Ahab was Omri’s son, who married the Sidonian woman Jezebel (1 Kings 16:29-34). Both of these figured were evil.
- One of the more important things to grasp from this passage is an understanding and appreciation of our place within the covenant relationship with the one true God. For Micah’s audience, God initiated the covenant relationship by rescuing them from Egypt, placing before them an instructor of the Torah (Moses), and promised them a rich and abundant inheritance of land. Christians have similarly been rescued from our sins, been given a teacher (Jesus), and have been promised an inheritance in the kingdom of God. The response expected by God, both in the past and in the present, is not simply being loyal and faithful, but loving loyalty (6:8). Yes, obedience is important, but it must flow from a loving heart towards God in appreciation for all that he has done for us and continues to do. When we learn to appreciate his kindness towards us, then we will appropriately respond with love.
- This passage also clearly demonstrates that God holds us accountable for our actions, often punishing us prior to the Day of Judgment. Those among Micah’s audience who were unrepentant were, in particular, given up to sickness (6:13). This is not a theme limited to Micah. Those who abused the Lord’s communion table were given over to sickness (and some to death, 1 Cor. 11:30). James 5:15-16 seems to indicate some sort of relationship between sickness and sins. How are we to learn from the mistakes of Micah’s audience? I personally have never considered my behavior or sins when was sick, but perhaps I should look closer at my life, be more willing to confess my sins, and seek the Lord’s healing.
- Micah 6:16 remarks that the children of Israel have follow the statutes, works, and devices of unfaithful leaders. While it is true that Christian leaders and teachers will be held to account for how they manage the flock, Micah placed considerable responsibility on those who listen to and followed them. We can learn from this passage by demonstrating discernment when it comes to Christian teachers and preachers. God never expects us to blindly receive their messages (Acts 17:11; 1 Thes. 5:21; 1 John 4:1-2). Everyone is responsible for their own faith and obedience.