The twelve prophetic books from Hosea to Malachi are an often-overlooked portion of Scripture. Although these books are sometimes called the “Minor Prophets”, they are minor only in the sense of them being relatively shorter than the books of the “Major Prophets” such as Isaiah and Jeremiah. The books of the “Minor Prophets” are an important part of God’s Word, and the things in them which were “written aforetime were written for our learning” (cf. Romans 15:4).
Over the course of this year, we will be reviewing each book of the “Minor Prophets”. In the month of June, we turn to the book of Micah. Micah prophesied during the “Divided Kingdom” period, approximately 750 years before the birth of Christ (cf. Micah 1:1). It was a time of great spiritual wickedness in both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, when the people were “devising iniquity, working evil, coveting fields, and taking them away by violence” (Micah 2:1-2). Because of the wickedness of the people, the LORD would permit evil to come against Samaria (Israel) and Jerusalem (Judah) (Micah 2:3).
Micah 6:1-8 contains an interesting “courtroom” discourse between the people and God. In verses 1 and 2, Micah declares that the LORD has a controversy (a dispute, a legal contest) with His people. In verse 3, the LORD asks the people to testify against Him, if He has wronged them or been wearisome or grievous towards them. In verses 4 and 5, the LORD reminds His people that He had brought them out of the land of Egypt by the hand of Moses (cf. Exodus), and that even Balaam, that evil prophet-for-hire, could not curse Israel against the will of God (Numbers 22-24).
Despite the LORD’s reminder to Israel of His graciousness in Micah 6:1-5, the people speak out against God in verses 6 and 7, by asserting that He is a demanding and unreasonable God. They assert that the LORD would not be pleased unless they came before Him with ever-increasing sacrifices, beginning with burnt offerings, and escalating to the gruesome act of offering their own firstborns to God. In verse 8, Micah rightfully speaks out against the people’s unjust accusation that God is an overly demanding God, by stating that the LORD had already shown them what was good and required of them: that is, to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
My brothers and sisters in Christ, what does the LORD require of us? He does not require that which we cannot give, and He does not require that which would cause us to sin. Rather, He only requires the same things which He asked from the Israelites: that we do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. How then can we do likewise today? Here are some questions to provoke you to greater thought on this issue.
Do we agree that God has a universal standard of justice and authority, that all men must comply with, because He is not a respecter of persons? (Acts 10:34-35)
Do we agree that we ourselves should not be a respecter of persons, and that we should not discriminate against those who are poorer or less well-off? (James 2:1-13)
Do we agree that we can keep the minutest details of the law, and yet not do justly when we overlook “weightier matters” like mercy and love, when we behave in a hypocritical manner? (Matthew 23:23)
Do we agree that we have received grace (undeserved favour) when Jesus died for us on the cross, and that we should thus be gracious to others who have wronged us or owe a debt to us? (Matthew 18:21-35)
Do we agree that we would want others to forgive us when we have erred, and that we should thus be forgiving and merciful to others because we would want to be treated the same way in return? (Matthew 7:12)
Do we agree that we ought to love our neighbours as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), and that this involves showing them God’s mercy through obedience to Jesus Christ, the same mercy which we ourselves have undeservedly obtained? (Titus 3:5)
WALK HUMBLY WITH THY GOD
Do we agree that if we humble ourselves before the Lord by following His every command cheerfully, we will be exalted (lifted up) in due time? (1 Peter 5:6)
Do we agree that Jesus Christ, though He was divine and above all, humbled Himself and died on the cross, and that we are called to emulate His example? (Philippians 2:1-11)
Brethren, the Lord’s yoke is not burdensome, for all that He requires of us is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. I hope that this overview of the book of Micah was profitable for you, and that it will inspire you to study it in greater detail. May we all seek to do all that the Lord requires, all the days of our lives.