Bible: What Does Micah 1-4 Teach Us About False and True Prophets?
The Prophet Micah
THE BOOK OF MICAH
Similar to other prophecies (cf. Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1), Micah begins with the following information:
(1) It acknowledges that he has received divine revelation;
(2) it records the time frame during which he received it; and
(3) it names the subjects the revelation would address (v. 1).
Micah preached in the first quarter of the eighth century B.C. (735-690).
In addressing "all you peoples" and "O earth," the man of God commands attention primarily from Samaria and Jerusalem (vv. 2, 5).
Mourning for Idolatrous Nation
Depicted here with vivid imagery, Yahweh's movements in judgment against these two lands (whose idolatry has caused Him to strike with anger) stand out (vv. 3-5).
The Scripture pictures His wrath as immensely powerful and destructive, capable not only of melting mountains (v. 4), but also of pulverizing idols and leveling stone homes (vv. 6-7).
In light of Samaria's spiritual harlotry (v. 7; cf. Ezek. 16, 23) and her utter ruin, the prophet reveals his personal intention: public mourning (v. 8).
Verse nine reads: her wounds have "come to Judah."
[Does this phrase suggest that Judah/Jerusalem has heard of the fall of Samaria or that she herself has experienced the same ruin]?
No one there should proclaim news of this sort in the land of the heathen enemy, nor should any mourn in the "House of Dust."
However, Micah does tell them to "roll yourself in the dust" (v. 10), and he does report the sorrow of three other "territories" (v. 11).
Sometimes the act of "pining for good," as in Maroth's case, is unsuccessful (v. 12).
Leaving town quickly, while possible, remains Lachish's only hope for survival (v. 13).
[Verses 14-15 raise several questions:
(1) Does Micah instruct Lachish to give presents to his hometown? If so, why does he do so?;
(2) Why does the prophet use so many puns? (vv. 10, 11, 14, 15);
(3) Are the terms "an heir" and "the glory of Israel" in synonymous parallelism?;
(4) If so, does Micah here suggest an appearance by the Messiah or by Yahweh in Adullam]?
As a sign of mourning, the people should shave their heads (v. 16).
Characteristics of Apostates
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Micah opposes the powerful leaders who plan to steal the commoner's inheritance (vv. 1-2; cf. Ahab and Jezebel against Naboth [1 Kings 21]), and pronounces judgment upon them because of this oppression.
Consequently, Yahweh devises an inescapable disaster to fall upon any family that commits such an evil (v. 3).
The time will come when God will remove their heritage from them, and they "will have no one to determine boundaries by lot" (vv. 4-5).
Israel also does not appreciate preaching, so God assures the people that "those who drip words" (lit.) will refrain from their supposed "prattling" (v. 6).
Micah rebukes the house of Jacob with three rhetorical questions:
(1) Is Yahweh restricted?
That is, can He not work in other ways (presumably apart from prophets?);
(2) "Are 'these' His doings?"
Apparently, the people were accusing the prophets (and therefore God) of bringing disaster upon them; and
(3) "Do not My works do good to him who walks uprightly?"
This word brands His people as disobedient (v. 7).
In addition to these attitudes, Israel also mistreats both his friends and women (vv. 8-9).
Verse 10 orders believers (?) to separate from that which "is not your rest," for it will only bring them destruction.
Apostate Israel will accept the prophet who tells them lies and glories in hard liquor (v. 11).
Promises of restoration, however, balance the message.
Yahweh pledges to gather true Israel and lead him "like sheep of the fold."
If this promise is Messianic, "their king" may refer to Christ who will lead the saved nation through the gate (vv. 12-13).
Proof of Faithfulness
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Addressing Israel's leaders, Micah reproves them for not doing what is right.
He implies that they especially are responsible to be experts in knowing the difference between right and wrong (v. 1).
He symbolically portrays them as spiritual cannibals in the mistreatment of their followers (vv. 2-3).
When judgment comes, the rulers will seek Yahweh; however, He will reject them because of their works (v. 4).
Next, God deals with Israel's false prophets (vv. 5-7).
Their message to the nation is "peace," but they prepare war against "him who puts nothing into their mouths."
Yahweh is, most likely, this adversary, for He withholds revelation from them and covers them with darkness and shame.
God has not (and will not) speak through them, for they are unfaithful.
On the other hand, Micah claims the power of God rests upon his preaching, because he is not unwilling to rebuke Israel for their sin (v. 8).
Intent on proving this authority, the man of God again forcefully addresses the rulers and names their transgressions: injustice (v. 9), violence (v. 10), dishonesty, greediness, and self-deceived hypocrisy (v. 11).
Because the false prophets actually believed that God spoke through them, they think they are exempt from judgment (v. 11b).
Jerusalem, according to Yahweh, will suffer greatly because of their wickedness (v. 12).
Jerusalem (Zion), World Capital
Mentioning the destruction of Jerusalem in 3:12 undoubtedly leads Micah to leap ahead to happier, Messianic times when God will make the city (Zion) the universal capital (v. 1).
Vibrant enthusiasm to learn the ways of Yahweh spreads among the world's people, as they travel to Jerusalem to hear the Lord teach (v. 2).
The Messiah will render decisions on international matters—possibly judging certain peoples for committing "the crimes of the ages"—and strongly rebuke others who perhaps failed in their responsibilities to hinder them.
Peace will reign supreme, for the LORD will settle disputes among the peoples (v. 3; cf. Is. 2:2-4).
God will guarantee and safeguard private property rights (v. 4), and Israel will once again be a faithful people (v. 5).
The lame, the outcast, and the afflicted Yahweh will gather into His kingdom, and make them into a "strong nation" (vv. 6-8).
Micah returns to the present where he finds the people crying out in pain, because they have no king to lead them (v. 9).
Jerusalem's agony will increase as she goes into exile to Babylon, but Yahweh will bring relief through His redemption and deliverance (v. 10).
Unaware of the LORD's plans to judge them, Zion's enemies foolishly rail against her in unbelief (vv. 11-12).
God's people will act as His instrument of destruction, and the nations' riches ("gain, substance") will belong to the LORD (v. 13).
© 2014 glynch1