I. The Approaching Punishment of Israel and Judah (Micah 1:1–2:13)


I. The Approaching Punishment of Israel and Judah (1:1–2:13)

1:1 Micah introduces himself as one who received the word of the Lord. God came to him. Micah may have lived under the rule of three earthly kings—Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah—but he was in service to the one whose kingdom rules over all.

Micah was a Moreshite, a native of Moresheth, which lay southwest of Jerusalem and under the control of the city of Gath. Moresheth was by no means a significant city. The calling of Micah, in fact, is proof that a kingdom man can be found in any place where the word of God can go, and God can use anyone from anywhere who yields to his call. Micah’s vision centers on two representative cities—Samaria, the capital of Israel, and Jerusalem, the capital of Judah.

1:2-7 Listen, all you peoples; pay attention, earth and everyone in it is a reminder that when God has something to say, the whole earth is to give its undivided attention. Micah alerts his Jewish brethren that there is a case against them, and the Creator of the universe is the primary witness (1:2). The idolatry of Samaria and Jerusalem—the capital cities of the southern and northern kingdoms—had become so great that God was coming down to the earth to address it (1:3-5). As a result of their rebellion and sins against God’s covenant (1:5), Samaria would become a heap of ruins, and her idols would be smashed (1:6-7).

Israel had entered into a covenant with the Lord. Through his prophets, God often spoke of it as a marriage covenant. He was the husband, and Israel was his bride (see Isa 54:5). Thus, when Israel engaged in idolatry, worshiping false gods, God considered it spiritual “adultery” (see Jer 13:27; Ezek 23:37). Israel had “prostituted” themselves with foreign nations and their false gods (Jer 3:1). That’s why Micah says that Samaria had collected the wages of a prostitute. Yet, all her wealth would be carried off by another prostitute, another idol-worshiping nation (Mic 1:7).

1:8-16 Micah responds to his own message with weeping (1:8). He feels the pain of seeing the people of the kingdom being removed from the land—many under the threat of death. Even Judah would suffer from the influence of idolatry and the resulting scorn when the surrounding nations rejoiced over its demise (1:9). Micah grieves over the Judean towns that would be laid waste—including his hometown of Moresheth-gath (1:11-15). He calls on his countrymen to shave themselves bald, a sign of intense mourning (1:16).

2:1-5 Even though the prophet would prefer to see God’s people blessed, he clearly sees the reason for judgment: Woe to those who dream up wickedness and prepare evil plans on their beds! At morning light they accomplish it because the power is in their hands (2:1). In addition, the rich and powerful leaders prepare plans to take farms, homes, and inheritances (2:2). But, God has plans for those who carry out such injustice. Because the leaders deprive the innocent of their land, they will be removed from the land themselves (2:3-5).

2:6-11 What does Micah hear in response to his faithful proclamation of God’s word? Quit your preaching. When a kingdom man speaks God’s truth, the unrighteous don’t want to hear it (see the response to Stephen in Acts 7:57). Therefore, like ostriches with their heads in the sand, Micah’s audience insisted that none of these judgments would come upon them (2:6). They preferred a preacher who would preach about wine and beer—indulgence and pleasure (2:11).

2:12-13 Even though most of the people had rejected him, God would collect a remnant of his people. Like a faithful shepherd, he would gather his lost sheep (2:12)—just as the good shepherd, Jesus Christ, would do one day (see John 10:11-18). God himself will save his people: Their King will pass through before them, the Lord as their leader (12:13).