Rev. Dr. Niveen Sarras
February 2, 2020
The book of Micah talks about the rebellion of the Israelites against God and focuses on evil deeds that the Israelites commit against each other. To understand Micah 6, we need to understand the whole book. Micah means who is like Jehovah. He did prophetic work in the eighth century BCE. During the time of Kings Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. In this time, King Ahaz was indebted to the nation of Assyria, which kept the country on edge. King Ahaz did not want to upset the Assyrians by anyway, which politically was very bad. At that time, the kingdom of Israel and Judah was prospered.
Micah describes a court trial. God is the accuser. Israel is the accused, and the mountains and the earth are the juries. The verdict is Israel is guilty. God accuses Judah of four sins.
First, in chapter 1, God through the prophet Micah, accuses Judah of idolatry.
Second, in chapter 2, get this picture in your mind. People in bed instead of counting God’s blessings or counting sheep to try to fall asleep at night, they are falling asleep at night to thoughts of what evil things they can do the next day. They can do evil because it is in their power to do so. Micah accuses them of taking land, fields and homes that do not belong to them. They oppress the poor and the orphans. They cheat on trade and one another and do not respect their parents. Micah says that God has plans, too. God’s plan is devising disaster on those sinners in the form of captivity (2:3).
Third, in chapter 2:6, God, through the prophet Micah, accuses the Israelites of rejecting the true prophets who called them to repent. They preferred to listen to false prophets and preachers who talk about good things. What was true in Micah’s time, it is true in our time. We hear this in our culture. People call preachers true prophets or preachers if they preach a message that eases their conscience. Today best example is the prosperity preachers like Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn and many more. Those preachers were and still under federal investigation. Micah describes those preachers/prophets as liars.
Finally, Micah accuses the religious and civic leaders of loving evil and hating good. Leaders are praising evil as it is good. What was true in Micah’s day it is true in ours. In chapter 3, Micah accuses the civic and religious leaders of accepting bribes. Those leaders give judgment for whatever money they can get out of it. The best example today is a Texas state district judge Rudy Delgado, who has been convicted of bribery and obstruction last year. What it was in Micah’s time it is in our time.
After carrying all these evil things, the Israelite religious and civic leaders dared to say: “Surely the Lord is with us! No harm shall come upon us” (3:11). Micah responds to them that God will bring disaster upon you. However, God promises in the last days to establish God’s kingdom in Jerusalem and all the nations will come to Jerusalem to learn from God (chapter4). And the Messiah will come from Bethlehem to rule justly, unlike their unjustly rulers and judges (chapter 5).
Finally, in chapter 6, God says to the Israelites: “I made my case, now my people arise and make your case.” But if you want to make your case, you need to answer a few questions. What did I do to cause you to act in this way? And then God reminds them of redeeming them from slavery in Egypt and in bringing them to The Promised Land. God asks them, “I did good things to you; how does that make you tired of me.”
The Israelites being sarcastic respond, “what do you want from us, God? Do you want thousands of sacrifices and rivers of oil? Or do you want us to offer you our firstborn as a sacrifice for our sin” (6:6-7). It is like some Christians might ask God: what do you want from us? Do you want us to go to church every day, or do you want us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor and we become poor ourselves?
God responds, no. This is not what I need from you. Instead of offering me sacrifices, I need you to “to do justice, and to love kindness (mercy), and to walk humbly with your God? (6:8).
God’s response in Micah echoes the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12
"Blessed are the meek (humble), for they will inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (justice in Greek and Hebrew languages), for they will be filled. "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
God promises the Israelites if they do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with God, God will grant them forgiveness and restore them. If they repent, God will show them mercy. What it was in Micah’s day as it is in our day. No matter how deep the stain of your sins, when you repent, God through Jesus Christ offers you forgiveness and restores you. God of the prophet Micah is our God, too.
Micah ends his book by praising God (7:18-19), saying.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of your possession?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because He delights in showing mercy.
19 He will again have compassion upon us;
He will tread
our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.