The book of Micah records the messages of the prophet Micah. As with most prophets, Micah’s message focuses on current events — in this instance for the people of Samaria and Jerusalem — and it also had a secondary meaning, anticipating the life of Jesus.
Micah was a younger contemporary of Isaiah and may have been influenced by Isaiah’s example. Micah foretold about the coming destruction of Israel and Judah because they had turned their backs on God. However, his message has a happy conclusion as the dispersed peoples would later be reunited and exalted by a loving and forgiving God.
Micah is sometimes called a minor prophet. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t important, but merely that the book named after him is shorter. (Compare this to the major prophets, whose books are much longer.)
A curious fellow in the book of Judges is Micah (not to be confused with the prophet Micah who lived many centuries later and has a book of the Bible named after him). Micah, with two chapters surrounding him, was not listed as a judge and did not lead the people to overthrow their oppressors. If anything, Micah was an anti-hero or anti-judge, and there is nothing positive in his story:
He stole silver from his mom.
When he later confessed this to her, she blessed him! Then she told him to keep the silver and make an idol.
Micah used the silver to cast an idol and carve an image; he also made a shrine and fabricated an ephod.
A wayward Levite happened by and Micah hired him to be his priest. (Although all priests were Levites, most Levites were not priests; this was determined by ancestry. This Levite was likely not meant to be a priest, yet he jumped at the chance, even though — according to the Law of Moses — he was in the wrong place and doing the wrong thing.)
Since Micah now had a priest, he concluded that God would bless him, (which doesn’t seem to be the case.)
This is all backstory. Men from the tribe of Dan were looking for some land and come upon a “peaceful and unsuspecting people” — not an oppressing people, which the other Judges fought against, but a peaceful people.
The men from Dan, bent on conquering, stole Micah’s idol, image, and ephod, as well as enticing away his “priest.” They went into battle and won. They then worshiped Micah’s idol for several centuries.
For the past several months, most of the A Bible A Day posts have been about the minor prophets. Recall that they are called “minor” not because their prophecy is insignificant, but because their books are short!
As the prophet Micah gives a series of stinging rebukes against the nations of Israel and Judah, he takes pause for some personal reflection.
As if keeping a journal, he wonders how he should approach God. With reverence, with offerings, with sacrifices? No. That is not what God wants. God requires something much different, for him to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly.
Then Micah returns to his God-promoted discourse of doom. After a bit more invective, he becomes filled with remorse, saying, “What misery is mine?”
Micah then reflects some more, delving into a depressing bit of introspection, before confidently affirming that his hope is in God; Micah will wait and God will hear him.
So Micah’s personal prescription then becomes to:
Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly, and hope in and wait on God.
The prophet Micah gives some strong words from God to the people. Although his proclamation (prophecy) should convict them, they instead take offense.
At one point they even tell Micah to stop talking — as if his silence would keep God’s plans from happening.
Micah’s sarcastic retort is that if a prophet proclaimed plenty of wine and beer for everyone, the people would flock to him. Apparently, rather than face the truth, the people prefer to anesthetize themselves from it.
Telling the people what they want to hear — as opposed to the truth — is making a false prophecy. Regarding these false prophets, Micah further notes that when the prophets are fed, they pronounce that peace will occur, but if they don’t say what the people want, the people turn against them.
Our reaction to things we don’t want to hear is much the same today. We respond as consumers, leaving the teacher of an unpalatable message and seeking someone who will tell us what we want to hear.
That’s approaching faith with a consumerism mindset: looking for what is pleasant and nice — even if it’s wrong. It happened to Micah and it’s still happening today.