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MICAH 1:1-9

MEET the little-known PROPHET MICAH!

"The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof." Micah 1:1-9

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 1:

The very first verse from Micah's pen reads, "The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem."

This information is typical for an Old Testament Prophet.

Jeremiah followed Micah's style here. "The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign." Jeremiah 1:1-2

So with Ezekiel, "The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him." Ezekiel 1:3

In a much less authoritative way, and certainly not with the weight of Biblical inspiration behind it, Brother Bagwell knows what it is for "the Word of the Lord" to come! So does every other God-called Spirit-filled Man of God!

The verb "came" is interesting. It is spelled "hayah" and means "to happen, to come to pass, to fall out!" The "time" element her is one of progressive action. The Word came to Micah, and kept on coming too! It's just like the man Micah was walking down the road one day and ... wow ... there it was! The Word of God befell him! Dropped right straight from heaven down into his path, his heart! A Message to preach!

Micah's name means "one who is like God!" It is spelled "miykah." When "anglicized," we get "Micah," Hebrew being transliterated into English.

A "Morasthite" is one who lives in Moresheth, a village near Gath. It would have then been in the foothills of Judah, between the mountains and the sea. Micah was country boy! Micah 1:14 mentions the city again, apparently now under the dominion of the Philistines! Gath is a Philistine city. "Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath."

Usually a Prophet next tells us when he preached. This is often done via the listing of Judah's or Israel's Kings. Micah preached during the reigns of Jotham, son of Uzziah, who reigned 16 years in Jerusalem, beginning around 758 BC. He was a good King. Also Ahaz, son of Jotham, who also reigned 16 years. He was an evil King. Then came Hezekiah! Twenty-nine years was the length of his reign, overall a godly administration! Add the numbers, Micah may have had a very long ministry! Perhaps upwards of forty or fifty years, although we can't be sure.

Here's how we know he is contemporary with Isaiah. "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." Isaiah 1:1 presents us with basically the same time frame as Micah enjoyed.

Two great Men of God!

One well-known, one more obscure!

Both powerfully endowed with the Spirit of God!

Then, lastly, a Prophet generally tells us the names of those to whom he is called. Micah is no exception. He is called to preach to the inhabitants of both the northern kingdom, Israel, called "Samaria," its Capital serving to name the whole Country. But Micah is also to preach to the south too, to Judah at "Jerusalem!" Again, verse one, "The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem."

Let's meet Micah in this nine-verse paragraph of Scripture. He is an interesting Preacher indeed!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 2:

Micah the Man of God, in the true spirit of a prophet, begins his first Message by attacking the sins of his people.

Here is his opening statement. "Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple." Micah 1:2

The verbs "hear" and hearken," synonyms, are both in the imperative mood. This is already bold, serious preaching! "Hear" translates "shama" which at least means "to listen," but usually "to listen with subsequent obedience!" It is in Hebrew, as in English, the first word in the verse, adding further authority and emphasis to its cry!

While "hearken" goes even further perhaps. "Hear" is in the qal stem, simple active voice, while "hearken" is a hiphil, revealing some "cause" behind its action! No doubt the already darkening political and economic situation was sent from God to startle the people of Israel and Judah. The specific verb is "qashab," the old "prick the ears" word! Just like a little animal "lifts" and "points" its hears to better distinguish a sound, its direction and intensity and meaning!

The objects of these coming accusations are twofold, both the "people" and "everything else" in the earth too! Micah might even be including inanimate things, trees and grass and hills. Or he may be just renaming and widening the human scope of this Sermon. "People" translates "am," the usual noun for a collected, special, related assembly of folks! Like the Israelites, the Jews. While the clause "all that therein is" is represented by "melo" in Hebrew, "that which fills" a land.

Having sought the undivided attention of his congregation, Micah next introduces the Lord to his listeners. "Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple."

Next our verse has a "come to pass" verb. That's "hayah" in Hebrew and is translated "let" in our King James Text. That is, God's a Witness against Israel for her sins!

A court scene is being imagined by the Prophet. Several of the Old Testament Prophets use this word-picture. But it's more than that! It's a reality too! God judges sin, even in His people!

Here's Isaiah's court scene: "For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion." Isaiah 34:8 uses "controversy" as the "key" legal word, "riyb" in Hebrew, often indicating a lawsuit!

Now to Jeremiah, but this time the Lord is litigating against all the Nations! "A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD." Jeremiah 25:31

And especially Hosea, also a contemporary to Micah: "Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." And again, "The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him." Hosea 4:1 and 12:2

And we didn't even list Micah 6:2, making this courtroom scenario a recurring motif in our little Minor Prophet! "Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD'S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel." That verb "plead," in Hebrew "yakach," means "to judge!" Forensically!

"Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple."

Next, the noun "witness," obviously another legal term, is ultimately derived from "ud," a verb meaning "to return, to repeat, to do again!" Recurring sins, here, apparently! And what does a witness do but "re-live" or "re-tell" on the stand what he or she knows to be fact?

The Names of God used here are inclusive too. He is both "Lord," in Hebrew "adonay," meaning "firm and strong and master or owner" ... and GOD, when all capital letters, as here, a form of "Yehovah." The God Who eternally "is!"

And this God, this Judge, this Master, dwells in His "Holy Temple!"

He obviously is not only the Judge, the King ... but also The Priest too! And He seems to like Prophets quite well also!

Micah, the Prophet of God!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 3:

As one would suspect, Micah the Prophet has, at least in part, a Message of judgment! Israel has sinned. And failed to repent!

Micah 1:3 introduces the preacher's first sermon on that impending judgment. "For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth."

Micah sees the Hand of the Lord in the coming Assyrian invasion! Yes, he sees more than that! He sees the very Presence of God, all in  all!

The God Whom we serve is usually characterized as "invisible." So mentions Isaiah 45:15. "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour."

But now, at the time of judgment, God comes! The word "behold" at the beginning of our Text simply means "Look," in Hebrew "hinneh." It here serves as an interjection, an element of surprise and excitement being introduced!

The verb "cometh forth" is "yatzsa," meaning "to proceed, to exit, to depart." The noun "place," spelled "maqom," means a "space," a "country" or even a "home." It's talking about Heaven!

"To come down" translates "yarad," primarily meaning "to descend." God is so High, so very Lofty and Glorious, that anywhere He goes, He must descend to get there! Watch Psalm 113:5-6, which says that God must "come down" or "humble Himself" even to see the things that are in Heaven! "Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven."

Then God is said "to tread" upon earth! "Darak" means "to walk all over, to thresh," even once or twice being translated as "shooting" an arrow, as by some skilled archer! God means business! God is angry at sin! God is coming to right those grievous wrongs! "Darak" is a relative of the Hebrew noun "derek," a path or roadway! God is going to tread a while it seems! Long enough to make a path!

Then Micah uses the term "high places." Now "bamah" certainly can mean the hills and mountains of a land, but here more is implied. "Bamah" is the technical name for the heathen places or worship, "cultic platforms" one source called them, where idol worship is conducted! God is jealous! Rightly so! He is going to "clean" house! Just like Jesus will do some day, later, when He overthrows the money-changers in the Temple! Wow!

No more child sacrifice!

No more religious prostitution!

No more drunken orgies!

No more lust filled nights!

Not because God's people have repented! Sadly, no!

But because God has overthrown the Nation!

Israel faces judgment!

"High places," later in Pauline theology, can also mean devils and demons and Satan himself! "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12 is an example.

Now such terminology, God coming down to judge, is not particular to Micah. Other Prophets use the same analogy. Listen to Isaiah pray, Isaiah 64:1. "Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence." So does David, "Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke." Psalm 144:5

That does not mean that these Prophets necessarily "copied" one another. It could just mean that the same Holy Spirit was leading them all! He was, indeed, doing so!

The Prophets, preachers of coming judgment!

Where have they all gone?

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 4:

The Lord is pictured here as Judge, executing retribution upon His people! Unrepentant Israel in the north and Judah in the south are due a good "spanking" at the Hands of God!

This is the very quintessence of prophetic preaching, "Judgment is coming!"

Here's how Micah describes the scene, at least physically. "And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place." Micah 1:4

Things happen, earthly things even, when God descends in anger, righteous anger though it be!

The Holy Spirit has other prophets describe scenes of judgment in like manner. Here are a few instances.

Judges 5:4 describes a literal historical event. Deborah and Barak have just defeated the Canaanites. God is judging the King of Hazor and his army. "LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water." A literal storm occurred that day, contributing to the Israelite victory!

The Psalmist says this. "His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth." Psalm 97:4-5

Isaiah, as usual, is most eloquent. "Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence." Isaiah 64:1-3

Then Nahum 1:5 says: "The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein."

And Habakkuk 3:10 too! "The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high."

Back to our Verse for today: "And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place." Micah 1:4

The verb for "be molten" is "masas" and just means "to dissolve!" To "be loosed" from their moorings!

"Be cleft" uses "baqa," meaning "to split, break open or divide!"

The expressions "as wax" and "as the waters" are figures of speech called similes. Comparisons using the opening words "like" or "as."

Upheaval occurs!

Even when Jesus comes again to earth, described in great detain in Zechariah 14, these earthly things happen! "And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee." Zechariah 14 continues: "And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be." The geography of the land is changing!

Now when God judged Israel in 721 BC, allowing the fierce Assyrian army to conquer His people, these things may not have literally occurred. Not yet! But upheaval did! Panic reigned! Multitudes died! The earth changed that day for thousands and thousands of Jews, never to be the same again!

The same facts prevailed in 586 BC when Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar, finally overran Judah too! Sadness! Defeat! Sin's dire consequences had finally materialized!

Even nature suffers when humans sin and sin and sin!

Good preaching, Micah!

But let's allow Moses to conclude this Lesson today, from Numbers 32:23. "Behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out."

That was true of Israel, and Judah, and every other Nation that has forgotten Almighty God!

Will it be true of America?

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 5:

Watch Micah link sin with certain cities!

"For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?" Micah 1:5

Here's Hebrew parallelism again, "transgression" and "sins" being synonyms.

"Pesha" means "transgression" in this sense: revolution, rebellion! It's root verb, "pasa," means "to break away!"

And the noun "sins" or "chattaah" incorporates the verb stem "chata," basically meaning "to forfeit" something! "To miss" a blessing, an inheritance!

One word here, "pesha," is active, the other, "chattaah," is passive! Sin hurts either way! It costs dearly, always paying disappointing wages!

Then look at the names of God's people, collectively. First He calls them "Jacob," next they are "Israel." That's the proper order, too!

"Jacob" really means "a crook," someone who "takes" from another! A supplanter we have been told. That was the first name the people possessed.

But God changed it! "Israel" means "prince of God!"

See the progress? From a thief to a godly man! The work of the Holy Spirit!

But the people are ruining God's illustration! They are going backward again! Back into sin and degradation!

Such dishonors God!

But Micah is led of God to be even more specific.

Define Jacob's transgression, dear Prophet.

He does, in one single word: "Samaria!"

That's the capital city of the northern kingdom, of Israel. It likely means "a watch station!" It's root, "shamar," means "to hedge about," as if to protect from encroachment.

And the wrongs Judah has committed? Again, one word, "Jerusalem!" The city of David! The city of peace! The city where some day Jesus will rule and reign! Given to sin?

Yes, filled with "high places," Micah says. This term is a translation of "bamah," a technical and theological expression meaning "platforms of idol worship!"

Talk about naming sin!

In doing a bit of research for this verse, I noticed that several books are now in print about certain "sin cities" of earth! One author wished to identify the ten "best" places to go to easily practice iniquity! God would instead call them the "worst" places.

These polluted places invite God's Judgment!

And it will come!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 6:

"The consequences of sin," we've heard that expression all our lives! But, really, look around today. Does anyone still believe that sin even exists?

Only a handful do!

But the Bible is clear on the matter. The Old Testament Prophets particularly preached God's judgment on iniquity!

Listen to Micah. "Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof." Micah 1:6

The opening "therefore" draws a conclusion. It introduces a verse of pure sorrow! God is about to ruin a city, a capital city. All because of their sin!

The verb "make," more specifically "will make," translates "sum" (pronounced "soom") and means "to set, to appoint, to ordain," Also "to mark or set up." Nothing is going to stop the coming destruction. It is divinely unavoidable.

"Samaria" is the chief city of Israel, the Ten Tribes, the northern kingdom. And it will become a "heap" of ruins! That's what the noun "iy," pronounced "ee," means, a "pile of trash!" It's derived from the verb "avah," meaning "to bend, twist, distort!"

God is throwing a whole metropolis into the garbage dump of world history!

The phrase "plantings of a vineyard" simply means a place fit only for growing grapes! No one would want to build there ever again! Grapes can grow in some very inhospitable places!

And the very stones in the city's foundation, also rocks no doubt from its walls and towers and buildings and homes, will be "poured down" by Almighty God! "Nagar" is the Hebrew verb used here, apparently meaning "to melt and flow downward." God's wrath is pictured here quite literally, burning "hot!"

To "discover" the foundations of a town, or anything else for that matter, utilizes "galah." This verb means "to uncover or to reveal." God has so promised!

And a "foundation" in Hebrew just means the "base or bottom" of something. The word is spelled "yesod."

God is going all the way to the very "roots" of this city!

In this day when no one any longer believes God judges sin, this Micah chapter one scenario, which is not history, but fact, verifiably so ... will yet happen again!

Mark my words!

Better yet, mark God's Words!

"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." I've just given you Psalm 9:17.

God cannot lie!

Therefore, judgment cannot fail!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 7:

The Lord is threatening Israel.

Not vainly, either!

"And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot." Micah 1:7

This verse records part of the destruction that will accompany the upcoming Assyrian invasion of Israel.

It focuses, obviously, on the idols of the land, the false worship.

The term "graven images" is one Hebrew word, "pasiyl." Three times in the King James Bible it is rendered "carved images," because its root verb is "pasal," meaning "to cut, hew or engrave."

Israel, God's chosen people, had sadly declined into rank idol worship!

But God is going on the attack, the offense!

He had long ago forbidden such idols. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God." Exodus 20:3-4

God plans to destroy these rivals to His Love!

"Beaten to pieces" translates "kathath" and means "to smite, to crush, to hammer," that kind of idea.

But why would an invading army do such a thing?

No doubt, in order to extract the silver and gold from those things! Those idols were often made of those valuable metals.

They, the idols, had built right into them, at their very beginning, the seeds of their own destruction! God saw to that!

Ironic ... yet beautiful!

God also promises to lay "desolate" those idols! By the way, "lay" is just "sum" in Hebrew, "to appoint or ordain" something to happen! The word "desolate" is "shemamah" and means "waste." It hails from a verb meaning "to be deserted, to be deflowered, to be awestruck, stunned, amazed, astonished!" Even "stunned, stupefied!"

Poor idols!

The recurring noun "hire" in our verse is also interesting. Let's count. "And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot." It's spelled "ethnan" and means "the price a prostitute charges" for her services. Literally so!

I can't prove that the Jews were for sure indulging in fornication here, but the other religions of the region certainly did! They mixed worship with sex, under the guise of inducing the gods to bless fertility in the land! Especially fertile fields and crops and produce!

But, even if not literally, spiritually they were certainly committing fornication! To be betrothed to God, as Israel was in covenant relationship, and then to turn from Him to other lovers, idols, is spiritual fornication!

Listen to James in the New Testament! "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4!

What God is likely saying is something like this. Since all the trappings of worship in Israel came from idolatry, from spiritual harlotry anyway, they would indeed return to harlotry. The Assyrians, the soon-coming deadly conquering enemy, were infamous idolaters!

Israel's religious machine had derived its vast wealth from sin (harlots in God's eyes, those idols) ... then to even worse sinners all that money shall go (to even greater fornicators spiritually). That's the Bible Law of reaping what one sows!

Now this kind of preaching would not have been popular!

Not at all!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Also, the two verbs "gathered" and "returned" are amazing! Nearly beautiful! "Gathered" is "qabatzs," meaning "to assemble, to collect, to make a heap!" Then "return" is "shub," primarily "to go back." Here's an expression we use today that perfectly captures the sense here: "Easy come, easy go!" Wealth obtained wickedly just will not last!

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 8:

Micah the Prophet has preached a Message of doom, judgment from God on a backslidden Nation, Israel.

But whereas some of the Old Testament Prophets showed little grief or virtually no compassion for the soon-to-be victims, Micah was different!

You might be asking me to name an uncaring Prophet. I will, Jonah! In fact, He wanted God to judge the people of Nineveh!

Listen to Micah lament: "Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls." Micah 1:8

The verb "wail" is "saphad," just meaning "to mourn." It here pictures continuous sorrow, too. "Howl" is "yalal," that is, "to make an audible grieving sound."

Tears, somewhat like those of Jeremiah, characterize the Prophet Micah. "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" So says Jeremiah 9:1.

The verb "stripped" is "sholal" and often means "to go barefoot." It surely does not imply that Micah went around preaching while unclothed. The Hebrew adjective "arom" is translated "naked" here, meaning "divested of one's outer garments." Here's an example: "At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot." Isaiah 20:2

The second time "wail" is used, really "wailing," a different word is employed. "Misped" means "mourning or lamenting." The noun for "dragons" is "tanniyn," also translated three other ways in the King James Bible. These are "serpent, whale, and sea monster."

The word "mourning" is "ebel," a word used for the proper response to the death of a close friend or loved one. "Sorrow for the dead!" And "owls" translates "bath yaanah," a phrase that usually means "daughter of an owl" or at times, an "ostrich." The word can be used for either animal.

The main point is that godly Micah is grieved over the coming judgment upon the people of Israel.

This reminds me of the shortest verse in the New Testament, in English at least. John 11:35 tells us, at the grave of His friend Lazarus, "Jesus wept."

Amen!

He is still "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." That is, according to Hebrews 4:15.

Yes, Jesus cares!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 9:

The end of Micah's Sermon is near. For our study purposes we shall proceed no further than this verse, verse nine. Here the enemy stands at the very gates of Jerusalem itself!

"For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem." Micah 1:9

The Nation, now split, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, has a deadly disease! Maybe not physically, but spiritually and politically and morally. And even that multi-pronged malady is going to get physical, real soon!

The noun for "wound" is "makkah," a Hebrew word meaning a "blow, stripe, beating, scourging." Its verbal background is "nakah," meaning "to hit, strike, or smite" and even "to slay or kill."

The verbal adjective "incurable" translates "anash," a sad word meaning "sick, frail, desperate," actually suggesting something malignant.

By "it" the King James translators are telling us the "wound" or "sickness" is in view. It is approaching steadily! "Bo," or "it is come," is a verb showing progressive movement, on-going action. The plague is even reaching the borders of "Judah." That's the geographical area for which the whole southern kingdom is named, including its capital at Jerusalem, plus many other little cities.

But this "incurable" malaise has a form, a personality, a life! Listen to Micah again, "He is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem." We have now changed from third person neuter, "it is come," to third person masculine, "he is come."

A man is in view!

A real army!

An enemy nation!

The Assyrians!

Led by King Sennacharib!

Whose General, a man named Rabshakeh, mocks Israel and her God, at the very gates of Jerusalem!

By the way, both the ancient historians tell about this encounter, as does Isaiah! See 2nd Kings 18 and 19. Then read of the same event in 2nd Chronicles 32. Then turn over to Isaiah chapters 36 and 37.

Israel and Judah have sinned relentlessly!

They now will pay dearly!

In fact, sin is really not a good bargain!

It always cost MORE than it is worth, at least in the long run!

The machine of judgment, God's judgment, is now in gear and progressing steadily!

It's so vast and well organized that nothing, apart form a miracle of God, can stop it! God did not intervene with Israel. She was overrun, captured and deported by the fierce Assyrians in 721 BC. God did work a "miracle" on Judah's behalf, sparing the city a few more years. But eventually, even she was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

Again I ask, in the spirit of Micah himself, were he alive today, "If God so chastened the Jews, His "chosen people," subjecting them to such agony ... will any other nation escape?"

Doubtfully!

And would that list include nations on earth yet today?

Undoubtedly!

"God is angry with the wicked every day," so Psalm 7:11 still says!

Indeed!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

CONCLUSION, JUST A THOUGHT:

The Book of Micah beautifully partitions itself into three sections. And each grouping begins with one of Micah's sermons!

These paragraphs even share some verbal identity.

Micah chapters 1 and 2 fit together. Here's how the Text begins: "The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple." It's a sermon! And I've only given you the first few words of chapter one.

Micah chapters 3-5 are also a unit. Now this new sermon is quite abrasive! "And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings." And so it goes!

Then comes Micah 6-7. "Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD'S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee ...." Again, a new sermon has begun!

Each "section" of Micah begins with the formula "Hear," or "Hear what the Lord saith," or similar words.

Some say this is evidence of "editing" in the Text. I say it's the way the Holy Spirit initially arranged the Book.

Because, after all, through Micah was a "little-known" preacher, a "nobody" when compared to the great Isaiah, he still was a Preacher! God-called, too!

And his Book is a record of his Sermons!

Praise the Lord!

Learn a little about the "anatomy" of each Bible Book you study. It's as easy as memorizing these three "points" in Micah, his three sermon sections. Then add to those three sermon just a "bit" of content, like chapter five's mentioning of Jesus' future birth in Bethlehem, and you've got a good working knowledge of this little Minor Prophet!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

By now we should have some "sense" of Micah's preaching. He was a great Man of God! Yes, he's still a "little" voice living under the great shadow of the ever-popular Isaiah, a "big" Prophet for sure! But still, Micah was faithful to the God Who called him! May we be so even today! After all, we are a lot of "nobodies" too! The spiritual "giants" have mostly all gone to Heaven now! But we "little" preachers must remain on the job until God calls us home, whenever He chooses. And during the days of our sojourn here, let us too be faithful! Remember what Paul wrote, "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." He lived that way too! May we do the same.

 

 

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