Like Amos, Micah speaks to Israel about the coming judgment of the people. His ministry began in 740BC. By 722 BC, the Assyrians take Israel into captivity. With every prophesy, God always give a warning. But, He also gives a promise. He is a just God, but also a merciful God. God’s word always has a message, and although Micah may be speaking to Israel, all of us need to take note. What He teaches one people are words for all people. The words of more than 2000 years ago still apply today.
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.’
God often judges leaders harshly. I think in this scripture he is speaking to the leaders of the country and the religious leaders of the time, who take advantage of the people and use their power for their own gain.
“Do not prattle,” you say to those who prophesy. So they shall not prophesy to you; They shall not return insult for insult. You who are named the house of Jacob: “Is the Spirit of the LORD restricted? Are these His doings? Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?
In reading that first scripture, I thought, “should I include this? That’s pretty harsh.”…as are many scriptures. Then I read this one. How often people go to church and want to feel warm and fuzzy when they hear the message when they need to hear the truth, all of it, not just what they want to hear. How often many preachers want to sugarcoat God’s word. If they do, find another church! You should feel uncomfortable sometimes when you hear or read God’s word. If it is in the Bible, it needs to be taught. I thank God that I often heard my pastor say that this message is a hard one, but it is God’s word and I will teach it anyways, or something like that. Paul warned Timothy to preach the truth no matter what and that this day would come. I believe it is here now:
2 Timothy 4:2-4
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
In today’s society more than ever we need to share God’s word and live it. People need to see the good of God. There is so much evil in the world today. We need to be a light in the darkness.
And I said: “Hear now, O heads of Jacob, and you rulers of the house of Israel: Is it not for you to know justice? You who hate good and love evil; who strip the skin from My people, and the flesh from their bones; who also eat the flesh of My people, flay their skin from them, break their bones, and chop them in pieces like meat for the pot, like flesh in the caldron.” Then they will cry to the LORD, but He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds.
Israel had turned to idolatry and followed the ways of Canaan instead of following their one true God. Much of this may be symbolic but some of the pagan rituals required human sacrifice and even cannibalism. My first thought reading this scripture was that this sounds a lot like the procedures of abortion. Our country has killed many babies by this cruel method and our leaders have allowed so much evil here. There will be a time when people who allow this to happen will cry out to God because of the terrible things that happen (and there have been plenty in the past year at least) and He will not listen. It will take more than crying out; it will take repentance and a broken and contrite heart.
But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build up Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with iniquity: her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD, and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No harm can come upon us.” 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 speaks with boldness to the leaders of Israel. He is speaking to false teachers and prophets, like many tv evangelists and pastors of some churches. Often these leaders use their power and influence for their own personal gain instead of doing God’s work. We need to hold our leaders accountable and test what they say is true through God’s word. We need to follow the Lord, not men.
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.
“Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Why? Because He first loved us. Because He created us. Because He sent His one and only Son to die for us. Because He is a loving and merciful God who gives us grace. He forgave even me!
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.” Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth; and this One shall be peace.
I think Micah is speaking not only that the people of Israel wil return from captivity, but there is a greater promise: That He will send The Great Shepherd, the Ruler of Israel, who will be born in Bethlehem. The Jews misinterpreted this as someone would come as a mighty military leader, but He was talking about sending His Son, to die on the cross and pay for all of our sins, to redeem the lost, to be raised from the dead and conquer death, to rule in our lives now and for all eternity. He would be Lord and He would be the Savior of the world that we should worship Him.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
So it was that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He fulfilled every prophecy and He paid for our sins. He rose from the dead and lives today, and one day He will return to take His people home. And whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life with Him.