Micah: The Trial of Israel
The Trial of Israel
Judgment, Hope, God's lawsuit.
Background: Micah prophesied to both kingdoms before and after the destruction of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC Theme: Judgment and Restoration Outline: Judgment, Hope through the coming one, God's Lawsuit Key Verse: "He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." (Micah 4:3, NIV)
Micah Chapter Index
Both Israel and Judah are being judged, with the actual exile of Israel to be a demonstration to Judah that this is a real warning. While reading the book, it is good to consider it a courtroom drama with the LORD both bringing charges and testifying against Israel. This book has several clear references to the period called the millennium. Reading Micah and these references will help to decide whether the millennium is a literal and future event or not. Many true believers take both approaches, the Amillennialists take the events as spiritual, fulfilled in the present church age, while PreMillennialists believe that Jesus will return to earth before this period and usher in this period of time on the physical earth, either with Jews or with Jews and Christians.
I. First Message: Judgment Will Come (1-2)
1:1 The capital cities of Samaria and Jerusalem also represent the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.
1:2 A courtroom may be pictured as the LORD testifies against Israel.
1:3 The LORD will take an active role in the events of this world. He will not simply watch from heaven, but will intervene.
1:7 The temple gained money from temple prostitution. This temple money will be plundered by Assyrian soldiers who will use the looted wealth to satisfy their own lusts.
1:8 It is Micah who is mourning.
1:16 This is a specific reference to the Exile of Samaria of 722 BC.
2:2 Social injustice and cheating is condemned, whether it is legal or not. Sometimes the courts and society condone injustice.
2:6 The false prophets of Samaria do not want to hear Micah. Today, unbelieving 'ministers' do not want to hear the preaching of 'fundamentalists' or those who base their beliefs on a literal reading of the Bible.
2:11 Do politicians get elected by being honest or by telling us what we want to hear? Perhaps it is the same with some prophets and church leaders.
2:12-13 The loyal followers of the LORD will be preserved by the LORD Himself.
II. Second Message: Blessing Will Follow Judgment (3-5)
3:5 I wish this were not the case today! Unfortunately, it is a great temptation to serve men for money. Some in the church have fallen to this temptation. We must be on guard against preferences to the well-to-do, and it is often difficult to do without in order to keep an unencumbered ministry. All of us should look out for the welfare of our spiritual leaders, and see to it that they are provided an adequate living and to some extent free from the excessive worries of making ends meet. We also should not condition our giving on whether or not we get our own way in the church elections and decisions (provided that the leaders are faithful to the Lord).
3:6-7 When ministers of the Lord are unfaithful, he eventually leaves them with no power in prayer, no spiritual guidance, and no revelation or understanding of His revelation.
3:8 Micah claims to be filled and acting under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit.
4:1-9 A good section to memorize portions of. This is a picture of a future time of blessing on the earth, known as the millennium.
4:1-3 "In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. (2) Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (3) He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." (NIV)
4:10-13 Exile to Babylon is coming, but a future gathering is also declared. God will not be finished with his people.
5:2 Clearly this is a reference to the birth of Jesus and his position as Messiah.
5:4 These verses, tied to Jesus and his birth, do not appear to have been fulfilled. Some take them 'spiritually', for instance, our security is in Jesus even during the trials of this world. Although this is true, it is not a complete or literal fulfillment of the prophecy. For this reason, I look forward to a literal Millennial Kingdom or a period of time when these prophesies will be fulfilled on earth (not the eternal state or in heaven).
III. Third Message: An Indictment of Sin and Promise of Blessing (6-7)
6:1 Our focus returns to a court scene, with the LORD bringing charges for Israel to answer.
6:8 A good memory verse. He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (NIV)
7:18 A good memory verse. "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy." (NIV)
7:20 Apparently, the oaths given by the LORD to Abraham and Jacob were not contingent upon their obedience and had not been set aside prior to the exile. although an exile is coming. The oaths will be fulfilled on the basis of mercy. This is an important verse when considering the fulfillment of promises made to Israel that we have not yet seen fulfilled. Some theologians think that Israel has forfeited the promises because of disobedience during the lifetime of Jesus. But if the basis is the mercy of the LORD and not the obedience of the nation, the promises are still in effect and awaiting fulfillment.
The LORD as brought his case against Israel, and the sentence of Exile has been declared for both Israel and Judah. Future events include the coming of a Messiah, a regathering of the remnant of the Jews, and a period of great national blessing.
1. Based upon your reading of Micah, will the Millennium be spiritual or physical?
2. Do you think that the Jews have forfeited the promise of a great kingdom under the messiah? Why or why not?
3. What comparisons can we draw between religious leaders of Micah's time and today?
Please send comments or suggestions to ron@iStudyBible.com
Updated March 2012