Micah

Micah 1:1-7 Judgment On A Covenanted People.

As a resident of Moresheth, Micah was an outsider to both Samaria and Jerusalem. Isaiah was a contemporary. The kings mentioned here span the time between 750 and 686 B.C., a time which would see the fall of the northern kingdom to the Assyrians in 722 and the idolatry under Ahaz in Jerusalem (II Kgs. 16:7-18). “Ahaz’s son Hezekiah later revolted, and much of Judah was overrun by the Assyrian king Sennacherib, though Jerusalem itself was miraculously spared (2 Kin. 18:17-19:37)” (NGSB. p.1422). There are three cycles to the structure of this book (1:2; 3:1; 6:1), with a format that alternates between judgment and restoration, cursing and renewal, in the context of the covenant relationship. This culminates with the lawsuit found at the beginning of the third cycle-6:1-8. This is a word which came to Micah, it was not something he conceived in and of himself (v. 1a Cf. Jer. 26:18; II Pet. 1:21). It also came to him in such a way that he saw it (v. 1b Cf. Is. 1:1). Since the end of Hezekiah’s reign was in 686, Micah preached approximately 90 years before the beginning of the southern kingdom’s exile to Babylon with the fall of Jerusalem in 598/597 B.C. The threat of exile was thus ultimately fulfilled.

“Micah’s theology represents both aspects of the Lord’s covenant with Israel: the Lord will sentence his covenant people to exile out of the land of blessing if they fail to keep his righteous law, but he will always preserve from them a righteous remnant to whom he will give his sworn land after the exile (2:5) and through whom he will bless the nations (4:1-5). In his first prophecy, Micah pictures Israel’s Ruler as a victorious conqueror. He rises from his heavenly throne, marches forth from his holy sanctuary, and strides upon the earth’s heights (1:3). Under the heat of the Lord’s glowing wrath and under his heavy tread, the eternal and majestic mountains melt and flow like hot wax, and the arable plains where humankind finds its immediate source of life split apart like waterfalls roaring down a rocky gorge (v. 4). When this majestic God suddenly erupts with awesome power, puny human walls and fortifications crumble and fall into ravines (vv. 6-7). Humans feel secure as long as the long-suffering God remains in heaven; but when he marches forth in judgment, they are gripped by the stark reality that they must meet the holy God in person” (Bruce Waltke, Baker’s).

Here in his first oracle Micah predicts the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians (1:2-7), who were sent by the Lord God to execute His wrath against His sinful people (Cf. Is. 1:5-11). As noted above, Micah comes as a messenger from the heavenly throne and council as the covenant LORD’s prosecuting attorney. In judgment He employees a pagan king, and goes forth guiding the nations of the earth under His sovereign control and for His own unique purposes (vv. 3-4 Cf. Dt. 32:13; 33:29; Amos 4:13; 9:5). In this action, the nations and the earth act as witnesses before the heavenly tribunal (v. 2 Cf. Ps. 11:4). “All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel” (v. 5a). Their transgressions were to be found in both the political capital of Samaria, and in the ecclesiastical centre of Jerusalem, in their high places (v. 5b). Samaria will be rocked to her very foundations, but a place for the planting of a vineyard, their manmade idols to be replaced by a remnant of the LORD’s own planting (vv. 6-7 Cf. 3:12; Dt. 23:18; II Kgs. 19:25; Is. 23:17; Ezek. 13:14; Hos. 2:5). Even though the covenanted people will suffer the curses of the covenant, there will be “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5 Cf. 9:27; Is. 10:23-24; Amos 4:1-5; 5:3).

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