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The name Micah is a shortened form of the Hebrew word “Mikayahu,” which means “who is like the Eternal?” It is considered the sixth book of the Minor Prophets. Micah’s message is one of judgment. God through Micah warns the people of Judah, the king, the priests, and the (false) prophets of a coming judgment for their unfaithfulness and idolatry. Micah was from Moresheth-gath, a small rural town in the kingdom of Judah (Micah 1:1, 14). This town is located a little less than 20 miles southwest of the city of Jerusalem, close to where the prophet Isaiah grew up. He was likely a contemporary of the prophets Amos, Hosea, Jonah, and Isaiah.

Micah’s ministry came during a time (735 BC to 700 BC) when the people of Israel were thriving economically but suffering spiritually. Those with plenty, the upper class, were placing increasing burdens on the lower class. Micah was very concerned with the oppression of the poor by the wealthy. He considered this injustice among Judah and Israel’s greatest sins. If one looks at our nation today, the growing national debt, the increasing regulations, and inflation, we can find numerous parallels between current events and Micah’s ministry. The judgment Micah threatens would soon come through the hands of Assyria and Babylon.

Micah’s background coming from a small town may have given him special sensitivity to the concerns of the poor rural people of the land. Micah is the only book in the Old Testament to name Bethlehem, where the Messiah would be born.

(Micah 5:2)1NIV New International Version Translations – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Micah delivered strong indictments against both Samaria and Jerusalem (Micah 1:5-6). He had personally witnessed idolatry, evil business practices, dishonesty, cheating, bribery, divisiveness, and corruption. His message? Simply that God was not going to allow these sinful practices to continue. Unless the people took heed of his warnings and repented, they would be punished with famine, war, and captivity. The rulers were mostly to blame. Micah was critical of the religious leaders. They were leading the people into sin, despite having full knowledge of God’s Laws. God was greatly displeased with those who were professing allegiance to Him through an outward, hypocritical show of religious devotion and service (Micah 6:6-7). This superficial form of worship was considered worthless by God because it lacked genuine love and concern for God. Jesus agreed with Micah (Matthew 23).

Even today, many nations call themselves “Godly Nations.” There is the general belief that there will be no consequences for their actions. The people living during Micah’s time were deceived into thinking that their artificial spirituality and their false sense of righteousness would save them from punishment, despite their “transgression,” “sin” and “iniquity” (Micah 3:8-10). They were under the misguided impression that because they had God among them, they would escape the penalties of disobedience. The Bible tells us that sin is the breaking of God’s Law (1 John 3:4). The Apostle Paul clearly stated that sin is death (Romans 6:23). This is the only law of God that all humans are subject to! The claim of Godliness must be accompanied by a willingness to live according to the Word of God. Not doing so will most certainly lead a nation away from God.

(Micah 3:8) – “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.”

Micah boldly states that he was qualified to be judgmental in the case of Judah and Israel. He was called and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Micah’s prophecies frequently meander from messages of doom, warning, and despair to ones of hope, deliverance, and peace. His prophecies covered the full spectrum of sins. Everything from a lawless nation deserving punishment from God to restoration as the chosen people of God. At times he gives a message of utter despair, only to follow on with joyful hope. Micah was always clear about God’s promise of an abundant life for all of mankind for those who repented and honored God’s Truth. Micah’s message was directed to the leaders and false prophets of the time.

(Micah 3:1-2, 5) – “Then I said, ‘Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel. Should you not embrace justice, you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones;’”

(Micah 3:9-11) – “Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us.’”

Today’s national leaders have the audacity to constantly ask for our God’s blessings, “May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America!” You hear it after every political message. The prophet Isaiah, a contemporary of Micah, expressed similar sentiments when speaking about Israel:

(Isaiah 48:1) – “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel—but not in truth or righteousness—Who swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth or in righteousness”.

Micah’s response is numbing. They will not escape God’s punishment. Micah 3:12 records: “Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” Religiously, economically, and socially, Israel and Judah were in decline. Unfortunately, history shows that the stubbornness of these nations, and their leaders, led in the end, to national captivity and loss of freedom.

A brief outline of the Book of Micah

  • (Micah 1) – Judgment is announced against Israel and Judah.
  • (Micah 2-3) – Micah announces God’s judgment of the false prophets and the rich and powerful for their sins and evil ways.
  • (Micah 4-5 – The millennial reign of Jesus Christ; judgment upon the enemies of Israel.
  • (Micah 6) – God’s case against Israel; impending sorrow and punishment for their sins.
  • (Micah 7) – God’s future forgiveness upon Israel when they confess and forsake their sins.

In what is probably the most popular verses from Micah, we can find the ultimate question answered for humanity. What God, do you want of me?

(Micah 6:6-8) – “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, 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.”

  • Burnt offerings are the fatted calf, the best you have to offer God. Does God want your best?
  • A thousand rams? That is probably only the wealthiest could have ever hoped to accumulate. Does God want your worldly wealth, everything?
  • Ten thousand rivers of oil. That is just the impossible, does God want the impossible from us?
  • Your firstborn! This in any family would be the most precious thing you could imagine. Is God asking for the most precious thing in your life that can never be replaced?

Then comes God’s answer: God wants only justice, mercy, and humility. Not FOR you but FROM you. Yes, you are to ACT justly, LOVE mercy, and WALK humbly with your God. It is all about you and how you treat the others around you.

This scripture applies as much to present-day Christians as it did to people during Micah’s time. The Old Testament laws continue to be a tool of instruction. It is the Old Testament that shows us God’s ways, and how to “walk in His paths.” Micah 4:7 adds: “I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever.” Micah’s prophecies about the future glory and peace of the earth under Christ’s rule are some of the most encouraging in the Bible.


  • Generally, the rulers of the world are despots and narcissistic. Those who are elected or hold positions by force seem to fit this model. Why?
    • Ideas to Explore: Why do people in free countries continue to elect leaders that strip them of freedoms, waste their money, lie, cheat and steal? These are our choices. Is it that we are easily fooled? Do we pay attention to who they are? Or maybe, our educational systems have left us unable to think? Can you answer the question, why?
  • The leadership void is found whether leaders take their position by force or by vote. How can we do a better job of picking leaders?
    • Ideas to Explore: Would finding Godly people help? Would putting God back into our educational systems help? Do we really spend enough time knowing whom we are electing?
  • How do we solve this issue? It seems that it has been in our world from the beginning of time.
    • Ideas to Explore: History tells us that prosperity and peace come from Godly leadership. What should Godly people do about this?
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    NIV New International Version Translations