II. Punishment of Leaders And False Prophets (Micah 3:1-12)


II. Punishment of Leaders And False Prophets (3:1-12)

3:1 Here, Micah points to the sin of those in leadership. Even when the average person of the kingdom strays from practicing truth, it is expected that those in leadership will stand fast and do what is right. Micah says, Now listen, leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Aren’t you supposed to know what is just? The obvious answer is yes.

3:2-3 Micah highlights the leaders’ spiritual and moral weakness. They hate good and love evil (3:2). It doesn’t matter what stellar competencies a leader possesses. If he hates what is good, he is disqualified. Regarding their treatment of the people, Micah compares these leaders with wild beasts or cannibals. Instead of protecting the people they are supposed to lead, they devour them! They tear off people’s skin and strip their flesh from their bones. Then they chop them up like flesh for the cooking pot. This type of injustice brings God’s wrath.

3:4 God’s response is to hide his face from these evildoers. Therefore, when their time of trouble came (and it would come sooner than they thought), the leaders would cry out to the Lord, but he would not answer them.

3:5 Micah also indicts the false prophets who lead [his] people astray. They are supposed to be the heralds of the kingdom of God. But, like the leaders, these prophets were looking out for themselves. That they proclaim peace when they have food to sink their teeth into but declare war against the one who puts nothing in their mouths means they could be bought. You could guarantee a good word from them by filling their stomachs or pockets. If you were poor with nothing to offer, however, the prophets only had harsh words for you. They were charlatans. The only vision they could see was one of money flowing from someone else’s pocket into their own. This state of affairs would make it hard for the poor to trust God, and it would give the rich a false sense of security.

3:6-7 The punishment for giving false light is experiencing darkness: It will be night for you—without visions (3:6). So, because these prophets were a discredit to God, God would discredit them and halt their prostitution of the office of prophet. Because they used their gifts (Micah never questions their power, just their motives) for debased purposes, God would debase them by cutting off their ability to communicate with him: There will be no answer (3:7). Those who refuse to speak God’s word will be abandoned by God.

3:8 In contrast to these profiteering prophets, Micah asserts the weight of his credentials. He is a genuine prophet of the kingdom. What’s his proof? I am filled with power by the Spirit of the Lord, with justice and courage to proclaim to his Jewish brothers and sisters their rebellion and sin. A kingdom man relies on the Spirit’s power (not his own) and is willing to speak boldly, calling sin what it is. Micah knew that he was called by and accountable to God; therefore, God’s opinion was the only one that mattered.

3:9-12 Micah presses the issue of injustice once more, condemning all three levels of spiritual leadership: leaders . . . priests . . . and prophets. They exercised their roles in exchange for cash (3:11). “The love of money,” the apostle Paul says, “is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim 6:10). The leaders were corrupt, perverting everything that is right (3:9). Nonetheless, they assumed God was on their side and concluded that no disaster would overtake [them] (3:11). They couldn’t be more misguided: Jerusalem would become ruins (3:12).