Micah 1:1 The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth.
The prophet Micah lived about twenty-two miles southwest of Jerusalem, in the little town of Moresheth. Approximate dates for his ministry are 735 to 700 BC, with his book being written near the latter. Micah reminded God’s people of the kindness and sternness of God (Romans 11:22), with messages of doom and hope.
Micah 2:11 If a liar and deceiver comes and says, I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer, that would be just the prophet for this people!
True prophets often came with a message of doom, calling for repentance. False prophets usually came with a message of prosperity, telling the people what they wanted to hear. Little has changed since then.
The most popular preachers on earth are often those who preach health, wealth and happiness through faith in Jesus Christ. This is very appealing, but it is not what Jesus promised. In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33), he said. And that is what the early church experienced.
You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions (Hebrews 10:34), says Hebrews. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not the best news for the present age, but the best possible news for the age to come. The distinction is important.
If Christians are taught to expect too much in this age, they will become disillusioned. But if they are taught to expect hardship, they will not be surprised when it comes. Life in a wicked world is not easy for believers, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22), said Jesus.
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.
Contrary to the false prophets, Micah was empowered by the Spirit, to confront God’s people with their sins. He accused the judges of bribery, the priests of serving for money, and the prophets of telling fortunes (Micah 3:11). The indictments were so many and severe, few could avoid their sting.
The prophet did not attribute his courageous preaching to the strength of his personality, but to the Spirit of the Lord. We see this again when Peter preached to those who crucified Jesus. God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36), he said. Spirit-empowered preachers are not afraid to confront people with their sin, to bring them to repentance.
Micah 4:1-2 In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains . . . . Many nations will come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.
The prophet foresaw a time, after God’s judgment, when Jerusalem would be exalted above every other city. He spoke of a glorious age of prosperity, when Messiah will rule the world (Micah 4:3).
Prophecy is best understood after it comes to pass, but many believe the Bible teaches a golden age of a thousand years. This will occur after the return of Christ, and before the eternal age. This is made explicit in the last book of the Bible.
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended (Revelation 20:2-3). This makes sense of passages that speak of a glorious age in the future, that still falls short of perfection.
Never again will there be . . . an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child (Isaiah 65:20), wrote Isaiah. This does not describe the present age, since many people die young. Nor it does not describe the eternal age, since There will be no more death (Revelation 21:4), wrote John. There seems to be a time between the present age, and the eternal age, when Christ will rule for a thousand years. This is known as the Millennium, and Micah develops the idea further.
Micah 4:3 He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
When Christ returns to rule, there will still be many nations, but not any war. Nations will disagree, but they will take their concerns to Jerusalem, where their disputes will be settled by Christ. Since weapons of war will not be needed, they will be turned into farming equipment.
War is so common it is hard to imagine a world without it. But under the rule of Christ, there will not even be the fear of war, since nations will not have armies. This will result in lower taxes and greater wealth for everyone. Instead of working overtime to pay the rent, Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid (Micah 4:4), wrote Micah.
Reflection and Review
How was Micah different from the false prophets?
Why shouldn’t Christians expect too much in the present age?
How will the world change when Jesus Christ returns?