Journey Through The Scriptures

The Prophecy of Micah

Lesson 6: God’s Indictment of Israel

(Scripture to Read: Micah 6:1–16)

Following the prophecies of Israel’s future glory, Micah returned to the present to address once again the problems that were causing God’s people to invite His severe judgment. The setting in Micah 6 is a courtroom in which the prophet presents God’s case or indictment against the people and Micah responds as Israel’s spokesman. In the first round of presenting charges and responding (which continues into chapter 7), God asks the question, “What have I done to you?” (v. 3). In other words, what had God done to justify His people’s rebellion? Absolutely nothing! He had freed them from slavery in Egypt, given them leaders like Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, and frustrated the plans of Israel’s enemies to do them harm.

Yet despite these blessings, the people had lapsed into spiritual idolatry, and moral and ethical sin. Micah 6:8 is one of the most familiar verses in all of Scripture because it lays out God’s will and desire for all peoples, not just Israel. Even multiplied sacrifices and “rivers of oil” could not compensate for the failure to live in accord with God’s holy standards. The most serious of Judah’s shortcomings are enumerated in God’s second indictment (vv. 9–16). These included charges made earlier in Micah of oppression of the poor by the powerful, along with dishonest business practices. For these reasons, God warned the people of the utter futility of their attempts to pile up ill-gotten gains. To accuse Judah of following in the steps of Ahab, perhaps the most wicked king of Israel, was a serious charge indeed.

Study Questions

  1. Why did God call to the mountains and hills as His witnesses in the charge He had against His people?
  2. What does God want the most from His people, according to verses 68?
  3. What does verse 15 refer to?
  4. Read 1 Kings 16:29–33 and summarize the sins into which King Ahab plunged the northern kingdom of Israel.

Something to Think About

God’s question to Judah, “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you?” (Micah 6:3) is a sobering reminder to us that obeying the commands and laws of the Lord is not a wearisome burden for us to carry, but should be the delight of our hearts.