Journey Through The Scriptures
The Prophecy of Micah
Lesson 1: A Time of Mourning
(Scripture to Read: Micah 1:116)
The prophet Micah (whose name means, “Who is like the Lord?”) was from Moresheth, about twenty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem in the Judean hills. Micah’s ministry lasted from about 750 to 700 BCE during the reigns of three kings of Judah: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Micah was a contemporary of the great prophet Isaiah and, like Isaiah, Micah also prophesied the conquest of both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Micah lived to see Israel conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BCE, whereas the conquest of Judah by the Babylonians did not begin until 605. Micah’s message was addressed to the people of Judah, in contrast to Isaiah’s ministry to the court at Jerusalem. Thus Micah is sometimes known as the prophet to the “common people.”
Micah shares several similarities with other biblical prophets. He had a painful message of judgment to deliver, but also one of ultimate hope and restoration for Israel. Micah’s love for his nation and distress at the idolatry and social injustice he saw are evident in 1:8, which describes his deep anguish because in his view the northern kingdom’s destruction was already a fact. Indeed, the “wound” of Israel was so deep that it also reached Judah—to the gates of Jerusalem. This happened when the Assyrian king Sennacherib destroyed dozens of towns in Judah and besieged Jerusalem in 701. Hezekiah led the nation in seeking God’s help (2 Kings 18–19), and the city was delivered. But as we noted above, Judah would come under siege almost a century later by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and this time there would be no deliverance.
- What message does Micah seek to convey by his awe–inspiring description of God (1:24)?
- According to Micah 1:5, why was God coming down in judgment?
- What specific charges did God bring against Israel, the northern kingdom?
- What did Micah mean by the reference to Adullam in 1:15? (Hint: Read 1 Samuel 22:12)
Something to Think About
The people of ancient Israel adopted many outward symbols of remorse and repentance, including weeping, tearing their clothes, and shaving their heads. While many do not follow these practices today, the attitude of humility before God they were intended to portray is still appropriate for us.