You can pull up some good commentaries on the book of Micah, so I won’t try to give a complete commentary on the book. Instead, I want to focus on just a few key sections of the book.
First, Micah condemns the 3 main institutions of the nation: the rulers, the priests, and the prophets. Micah 3:11″Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, Her priests instruct for a price And her prophets divine for money.
Yet they lean on the Lord saying, “Is not the Lord in our midst?Calamity will not come upon us.” He prophesied starting around 735 BC. He predicted the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel, which he calls by its capital, Samaria. Israel did fall to Assyria in 722 BC as he predicted. He also predicts the fall of the southern kingdom of Judah, which he calls by its capital, Jerusalem. Judah would not fall till 586 BC, to the Babylonians. Political corruption was rampant. Priests were to be supported by tithes, but were asking for extra money just to teach the people. Prophets would only prophesy good for someone if they would give them money. Look at our country. The only Christian nation is the church, but our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values. But we have become a very affluent nation. How much of our government is run by bribes, kickbacks, political deals that guarantee a politician’s job, scandal. Our professional preacher and priest system has become an expensive business. Some preachers are paid big money and yet don’t even preach basic Bible core truths anymore. The preacher system and priesthood of some churches has been filled with sexual scandals. Modern day prophets are making big money as they promote their end time predictions based on faulty interpretation of Bible prophecies. It seems that it is all about money! Just like in Micah’s time.
Second, we look at one of the most famous passages in the Bible: Micah 6:” 6 With what shall I come to the Lord And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves?
7 Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love [av]kindness,
And to walk [aw]humbly with your God?” Chapter 6 is a dialogue between God and the people. God states that He has a “case” to make against Israel, as in a court case. He tells them to give their defense. He accuses them of sorcery, idolatry, cheating the poor, violence, lying, and other sins. He asks them what He has done to make them turn on Him. Micah 6:”3 “My people, what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.” He reminds them of how He brought them out of Egypt to the Promised Land, conquering their enemies along the way.
Their answer comes in Micah 6:6-7. “6 With what shall I come to the Lord And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? 7 Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” They just don’t get it! Their defense is to ask the Lord if He wants more ritual sacrifices or even the offering of their firstborns. Micah responds to their answer in 6:8. “8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love [av]kindness, And to walk [aw]humbly with your God?” Yes, God did require sacrifices for sins but more importantly, He required justice, kindness, and humility in their hearts and daily lives. Stop here and read Leviticus 19 to get a picture of how God required fairness and kindness. They were not to take bribes. They were to be kind to the poor, the handicapped and to strangers. He called them to be humble. 2 Chronicles 7: “14 and My people [a]who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” David said in Psalm 51: “16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Are we guilty of the same kind of thinking that Israel had? We might not be openly guilty of oppressing the poor, but how concerned are we really for social justice, for defending the oppressed, and for helping the poor. What am I as a Christian actually doing to help the poor or oppressed? Do I treat people fairly in all my business and personal dealings? Do I show kindness to everyone I meet? Am I personally involved in helping the handicapped? I might not worship idols like Israel did, but do I have my idols of money, my possessions, my job that are priorities in my life? Am I really humble in heart? Has my money and job made me trust in my riches instead of God? Do I really depend on the Lord in all things? But then when I hear a sermon on these things, my response is religious rituals: go to church more, give more money to salve my conscience, etc., but then I go right back to my daily life of sin and idolatry. The Lord wants us to go to church and to share with others, but more importantly He wants us to practice fairness, mercy, and humility.
Third, I am amazed at how Micah can be condemning Israel’s present sins and then, out of the blue, predict that one day God will send Jesus and will establish His kingdom. Micah 5: “
“[an]But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
[ao]His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
3 Therefore He will give them up until the time
When she who is in labor has borne a child.
Then the remainder of His brethren
Will return to the sons of Israel.
4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God.
And they will [ap]remain,
Because [aq]at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
5 This One will be our peace.
This can only be predicting the future birth of the Messiah to be fulfilled 700 years later. He was to be born in the Bethlehem located in Judea (there was another Bethlehem). When Herod wanted to find and kill the new born king of the Jews that the wise men told him about, the scribes searched the Old Testament scrolls and found this prediction. They told Herod and he proceeded to kill all the children 2 and under in Bethlehem. That tells me that this prediction was not put in Micah’s book “after the fact”. Nor could this prediction be manipulated and made to happen just to fulfill prophecy. It tells me that the Old Testament Messianic predictions like this one were written and collected long before Jesus was born. Of course, we know the circumstances of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to register for the census, and Jesus was born while they were there even though he normally would have been born in their home town of Nazareth. There are many Messianic predictions in the OT like this one. The odds of fulfilling every single prediction are extremely low, and yet every prediction about His birth, life, and death came true.
Then there is the prediction, out of the blue, of a Messianic kingdom to be established in the “last days”. Micah 4:”
1 And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established [af]as the chief of the mountains.
It will be raised above the hills,
And the peoples will stream to it.
2 Many nations will come and say,
“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord
And to the house of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For from Zion will go forth the law,
Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, [ag]distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they [ah]train for war.
4 Each of them will sit under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid,
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.”
This prediction was to give future hope for the remnant who were trying to obey God and who were distressed over he sins of Israel. They would not live to see this prediction fulfilled, and yet Micah wanted them to know that one day in the distant future God would establish a Messianic kingdom of justice and peace in which the Jews and Gentiles (the nations) would enjoy. Now when was this fulfilled? They key is the phrase the “last days”. BTW Isaiah has this same almost identical prediction in Isaiah 2. Daniel 2 also predicted that God would establish His eternal kingdom in the days of the Roman Empire. Joel 2:28-32 predicted the pouring out of the miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit in the last days.
28 “[p]It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all [q]mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
29 “Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
30 “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire and columns of smoke.
31 “The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood
Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Will be delivered;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
As the Lord has said,
Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”
So when was Joel’s prophecy fulfilled? Let’s go to Peter’s sermon in Acts 2.
16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all [q]mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy.
19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
The apostles were speaking in tongue and the people accused them of being drunk. Peter told them that these miraculous gifts of tongues was the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, and the beginning of the “last days”. Many today say that the last days have not even begun yet, but Peter refutes that. But when would the last days end? Many say that the last days will begin at some time in our future and will end with the 2nd coming of Jesus. But look at what Peter said. He said the last days began right there in 30 AD while he was speaking. He said that the last days would be filled with miracles just like the tongues. He said the last days would end at the great and terrible day of the Lord, i.e. some terrible judgment day in his future. But when would that be? Acts 2:40 helps answer that: 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “[am]Be saved from this perverse generation!” This terrible judgment day was going to happen to that generation of Jews to whom he was speaking. That could only refer to the judgement of the Jews in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. That day was spoke on as a coming of the Lord in judgement in Matthew 24: 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. verse generation!” Jesus then adds 34 Truly I say to you, this [x]generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”
We conclude from this that the last days of Isaiah 2, Joel 2, and Micah 4 began in 30 AD (Acts 2) and ended in 70 AD (the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem). Some might even admit that the last days began in 30 AD but they say we are still living in the last days, i.e. the Messianic Age. But that’s not what Peter said, and he is an inspired apostle. Having established that, was this prediction in Micah 4 fulfilled in the last days? Did God establish a kingdom of justice and peace for all the nations? Yes He did. Jesus said that kingdom was “at hand” even as He spoke in 30 AD. He said that kingdom would come while some to whome he ws speaking would still be alive. Mark 9:And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” Jesus was saying that God was about to establish His kingdom as predicted by the prophets. And He did. It was not a physical kingdom like Israel was in the Old Testament. It was a spiritual kingdom. John 18: 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom [k]is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not [l]of this realm.” In Matthew 16, we see that this Messianic kingdom was synonymous with the church that Jesus built. 18 I also say to you that you are [l]Peter, and upon this [m]rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth [n]shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth [o]shall have been loosed in heaven.” Peter did indeed use those keys to the kingdom to open the door to getting in the kingdom. How did he do that? In Acts 2 he told the Jews how to be saved, and 3000 were baptized that day, and the Lord added them to His church.
But Micah 4 predicted that in this kingdom that there would be peace, that its inhabitants would turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Has that been fulfilled in the church? Absolutely. Not literally, but spiritually. All those in the church are at peace with God, and at peace with one another. Jews and Gentiles, blacks and whites, people of all races who might normally hate one another now love one another. The prophets often used such figurative language to predict the future Messianic kingdom. But again, they key to interpreting this correctly is the phrase “the last days”. Once we establish this refers tothe tiem period from 30-70 AD, then we are forced to conclude that this prediction of Micah 4 involves figurative language, or else he is a false prophet. Many today expect this prophecy to be fulfilled literally in some future kingdom on earth in universal peace of all the nations. The peace predicted by Micah is only for those in the kingdom, i.e. Christians in Jesus’ church.
We are not waiting for some future kingdom to be established. Those of us in the church are enjoying that kingdom right now! This kingdom will give hope to the remnant of the saved today just like it did in Micah’s day. They did not live to see it fulfilled. How blessed we are to be living iin the days of its fulfillment. I hope this article gives you more hope. I hope it helps you focus on what God really requires of us. Let us pray for our leaders in government and religion that they will lead us in the way God wants us to go.