Micah Speaks

n02076_micah

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Age Group

Youth

Brief Description

Intersection includes complete resources for teaching both younger and older youth, including learner’s materials, teaching guides, and handouts. The teaching guide is options-based, so teachers can customize sessions to match their favorite approach.

“Micah Speaks”

Some of the most loved words in all of Scripture come from the prophet Micah. It is Micah who tells us explicitly what God expects of us: “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God” (Mic 6:8). It is Micah who gives us a vision of a time when swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. And it is Micah who offers us passages both of great judgment and of great hope.

Micah prophesied at the end of the eighth century. Very little is known about him as a person. He lived in a village outside of Gath known as Moresheth-Gath, southwest of Jerusalem. We can only guess how Micah earned a living. Because of the small town in which he lived, his use of agricultural imagery, and his understanding of the plight of the common people, we can infer that Micah probably was a small landowner. (Luker, 573)

Other than Jeremiah, Micah was the only prophet to prophesy the fall of Jerusalem, and other than in the book of Micah, he appears only in the book of Jeremiah (Jer 26:18-19). Here, Jeremiah has been ordered by God to prophesy against Jerusalem in the Temple. Horrified at his words, prophets, priests, and worshippers seize Jeremiah and are about to kill him when some of the elders and city officials are brought in. After hearing Jeremiah speak, the elders remember a time when another prophet spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem: Micah of Moresheth. Micah’s words caused King Hezekiah to repent and to lead Jerusalem to repent as well, thus changing God’s mind. If Micah had been allowed to say these things, surely Jeremiah should also be allowed to say them.

Micah prophesied that Jerusalem and Judah would be destroyed, just as the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed. In 722 BC the northern kingdom was utterly ruined. As Micah began his prophetic career in the southern kingdom of Judah, he had fresh memories of the complete shambles made of the northern kingdom. The only reason Judah was not destroyed as well was because Judah agreed to pay tribute to the king of Assyria. Micah knew Judah was on shaky ground, but he also prophesied about a day when hope would return to the Hebrew people. Micah reminded his audience that one day all wars would cease, Jerusalem would be rebuilt, and God would reign over all nations. The book ends with a hymn of praise to the God who is like no other, the God who forgives.

Micah’s prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction was not fulfilled in his lifetime. In 587 BC, nearly one hundred and forty years later, Jerusalem was destroyed and the Hebrew people were exiled. But about fifty years later, the ruler of Persia, Cyrus, began allowing the Hebrew people to move back to their homeland. After the Jewish people’s return to Judah, many of the books of our Old Testament took their final form. Some passages, such as Micah 7:8-20, were probably added after the exiles returned home.

The book of Micah is a compilation of Micah’s words and the hopes of people who lived to see his prophecies fulfilled. We live after the doom has already taken place, waiting for a time in which the prophecies of hope will be realized. May God make haste the day when wars cease, weapons are destroyed, and all people know God as God.

Lamontte M. Luker, “Micah,” The Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Watson E. Mills et al. (Macon GA: Mercer University Press, 1990).

by Kim Hardegree

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