Micah was from the Judean country town of Moresheth, near the Philistine border. He was a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea. Isaiah lived in Jerusalem and talked with kings, but Micah was a country prophet. He saw how idolatry had poisoned Israel and Judah. He also saw the gap between the rich and the poor, and he spoke out against social evils and injustice. He looked forward to the coming of the Christ (5:2;2:12-13; 4:1,7). He lived during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (kings of Judah).
Three major events occurred during Micah's lifetime: i) The Assyrian army invaded Syria, Philistia and parts of Israel and Judah (734-732); ii) in 722 Samaria fell; iii) in 701, Judah joined a revolt against Assyria and Jerusalem was almost destroyed. God saved her by sending a plague among the Assyrian soldiers. The key verse of Micah is 6:8.
Outline of contents
1:1-16 -- God will punish idolatry
2:1-3:12 -- God's judgment on the corrupt
4:1-5:15 -- God's great hope for his people
6:1-16 -- God calls Israel to repentance
7:1-20 -- A promise and a faithful remnant
GOD'S WORD COMES TO MICAH
Micah 1:1-16 (Thur.) August 5
Key Verse: 1:2
1. God's judgment falls on two capitals (1-7)
God is the sovereign ruler of all the earth. He reveals himself through his dealings with his own people. He is angry because of the idolatry of Israel and Judah, and he comes down from his dwelling place to tread the earth. His coming is fearsome, because he comes to judge. Samaria was the capital of Northern Israel; the poison of idolatry and immorality flowed from there. Jerusalem, capital of Judah, had become like a pagan altar. The Assyrian Empire was God's instrument of judgment.
2. Weeping and mourning (8-16)
The Assyrian army would destroy Samaria and come to the very gates of Jerusalem. This disaster is from the Lord. Micah wept and wailed and went about naked, showing vividly the sorrow and shame of defeat and slavery. Lachish was in Judah, near Micah's home town. This city had followed the corrupt ways of Northern Israel and had influenced all Judah. The cities of Judah would be overrun by the Assyrian army.
Prayer: Lord, cleanse all idols from my heart. Have mercy on your repentant people.
One Word: God hates idol worship
Micah 2:1-13 (Fri.) August 6
Key Verse: 2:12
1. Man's plans and God's plans (1-5)
Men lie on their beds and calculate this and that about how to take advantage of others to their own profit. But God has his own plan. He will bring disaster on people who plan deceit and fraud, even before they can carry out their plans.
2. False prophets (6-11)
False prophets are popular because they tell people what they want to hear (11). They do not warn the people about God's judgment. In fact, such false prophets advised Micah to keep quiet and not talk about unpleasant things.
3. Deliverance of the remnant (12-13)
In the day of catastrophe God will surely spare a remnant of his people. The remnant are those who are truly his sheep, those who follow him and obey him.
Prayer: Lord, let me be among your sheep and a part of your faithful remnant. Take from my mind the useless plans and human thinking that only give me a headache.
One Word: God's sheep; God's remnant
LEADERS WHO EXPLOIT; PROPHETS WHO LIE
Micah 3:1-12 (Sat.) August 7
Key Verse: 3:8
1. Leaders hate good and love evil (1-4)
The rulers of Israel used the privilege of power to exploit the people for their own selfish gain. They hated good and loved evil. Instead of caring for and shepherding God's sheep, they ate them up. They led the people, not in the paths of righteousness but in the way of death. When selfish rulers cry out to God, he will not answer.
2. Prophets who work for money (5-7)
If the prophets were fed, they would proclaim peace; if they were not fed, they would make war. The sun would set for such prophets, and night would envelope the land. There would be no word of God and no vision or hope.
3. A prophet who speaks the truth (8-12)
Micah was filled with power and with the Spirit of the Lord because he spoke God's word with courage and truth. He rebuked corrupt leaders and lying prophets.
Prayer: Lord, fill me with your Spirit so that I can teach your word truthfully and do what is right.
One Word: Declare the word of the Lord
THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD
Micah 4:1-5 (Sun.) August 8
Key Verse: 4:2
1. Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord (1-2)
God chose Israel. He redeemed them from slavery, and planted them on Mount Zion so that they might be a kingdom of priests--a shepherd nation, and Bible teachers for the world (Ex 19:5,6). He longed for the day when all nations would go to Mount Zion, to the place where his people dwelt, to study his word and learn his ways. (Compare Isa 2:2-5)
2. Swords to plowshares (3-5)
When all nations obey God and follow his word, and creation order is restored on earth, there will be no need for men to fight other men. So people will beat their swords into plowshares. Fear will be banished. Every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and the worries about present and future security will be gone.
Prayer: Lord, give me your vision for our nation and for the world--and for myself. Raise this country to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
One Word: God's great vision for his people
THE LORD'S PLAN
Micah 4:6-13 (Mon.) August 9
Key Verse: 4:12
1. A remnant (6-10)
The prophet looks some 200 years into the future, to the Babylonian Empire's invasion and conquest of Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem would be taken into captivity to Babylon; after 70 years God would bring them back, wounded and broken. Because of man's sin, God's discipline is necessary. But God had a plan. He would gather the wounded and lame and make them a remnant whom he could use and bless. God's purposes in history are accomplished through a remnant of people who know his grace.
2. The victory of God's people (11-13)
Many people would mock Israel in her time of shame. But they do not know the thoughts of God. He promised to give his people horns of iron so that they could defeat their enemies. His victorious people would devote the ill-gotten wealth of pagan nations to the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for reminding us that victory does not go to the strong, but to the people you bless. Keep me as one of your remnant people.
One Word: A part of God's remnant
A SHEPHERD FOR GOD'S PEOPLE
Micah 5:1-15 (Tue.) August 10
Key Verse: 5:4
1. A Ruler from Bethlehem (1-5)
The promised Deliverer would be born in Bethlehem, the town where David was born. This prophecy looks forward to Jesus the Messiah. He is the true Shepherd of God's flock and his greatness reaches to the ends of the earth. (See Mt 2:4-6) All who submit to his rule have security and peace. (4,5)
2. Deliverance and destruction (6-15)
The immediate background of this prophecy is the Assyrian invasion, and God's deliverance of Jerusalem. Assyria represents all of God's enemies. The remnant of God's people scattered among the nations will be like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass. God will work through his remnant to occupy the whole world, and bring his righteous rule to all people. God himself will destroy idols and witchcraft and he will demolish the cities of all the nations that have not obeyed him.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for keeping your promises. Thank you for sending the Good Shepherd Jesus to be my Savior and King.
One Word: A Shepherd King from Bethlehem
WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE OF YOU?
Micah 6:1-16 (Wed.) August 11
Key Verse: 6:8
1. Remember God's grace and mercy (1-5)
The prophet calls on Israel to review her history and remember God's grace. He redeemed her from slavery in Egypt; he provided a shepherd for her in the wilderness; he turned Balaam’s curse on her into a blessing (Nu 22-24); he led her across the Jordan into the Promised Land (from Shittim to Gilgal). We must have a sense of history; we must remember God's grace.
2. What does the Lord require? (6-8)
God does not ask impossible sacrifices of his people. He does not want superficial worship, either. He requires of men that they act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with him.
3. Israel's guilt; God's punishment (9-16)
Baal worship had been widely practiced in Northern Israel since the time of Omri and his daughter-in-law, Jezebel. God punished his people so that they might repent.
Prayer: Lord, help me to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you today.
One Word: Walk humbly with our God
GOD PARDONS SIN
Micah 7:1-20 (Thur.) August 12
Key Verse: 7:18,19
1. Israel's misery (1-7)
Society had become so corrupt that a person could not trust anyone else--not even those of his own household. In such times, we must put our hope in God our Savior.
2. I will bear the Lord's wrath (8-13)
When God's hand of wrath falls on sinful men, we must learn to accept responsibility for our sins, repent, and wait on God's mercy. God disciplines us; and God lifts us up.
3. God forgives (14-20)
Our God pardons sin; he does not stay angry forever; he will hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. He is the God of Abraham, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, and he is our God. He will keep his covenant with us.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for forgiving my sins and hurling them into the depths of the sea.