Good morning, Vine Implants.
Song for the Day: Chain Breaker
Complete the Verse & Name the Book: And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to . . . (completion at the end)
Yesterday, Dr. Michael Wedman gave a lecture on “Judgment and Warning” based on Micah 1 and 2. He started with a background of the times. In 782-740 B.C., Israel and Judah were strong and thriving outwardly, but they were decaying inwardly—spiritually and morally. These nations were led by Jeroboam II and Uzziah. The prophets Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and likely Joel prophesied to Israel to repent.
Around 745-727, Assyria was becoming a great nation through Tiglath-pileser. The prophet Jonah prophesied to Assyria that they needed to repent, and they did! There was also the Syro-Ephraimite war where Syria and Israel tried to force Judah to join them in opposing Assyria.
King Ahaz of Judah resisted Israel and Syria and asked Tiglath—pileser for help. Isaiah encouraged Ahaz to trust God alone (see Isaiah 7). Ahaz turned to Tiglath-pileser for help (see 1 Kings 16).
In 727-722, Shalmaneser V occupied Israel and laid siege against Samaria. In 722, Sargon II destroyed Samaria and sent the Israelites into exile.
With the Northern Kingdom of Israel destroyed, the Assyrians turned to capturing the Southern Kingdom. King Hezekiah sought God’s help (see 1 Kings 18-19). King Sennacherib turned back and was assassinated. Isaiah 37:33-38 provides some details of what took place: “And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: “’His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the LORD. ‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’”
That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Senacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.
This is the beginning of the decline of the Assyrians. They never set foot in Jerusalem after this. It was the Babylonians who set foot in Jerusalem later on.
Let’s continue the background information and look at the man Micah. Micah is short for “Micaiah” which means, “Who is like Yahweh?” He was from Moresheth on the plains of Judah. This place was referred to as Moresheth-Gath (see 1:14). It is identified by the larger city. It would be like saying Seattle-Renton. Moresheth was 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem and 5 miles west of Gath.
Micah prophesied about the Northern and Southern kingdoms, but mostly about the Southern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom’s fate had largely been sealed by this time. Micah was to confirm it. Micah sought to turn his people of Judah back to seeking God.
Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham (a 16 year reign—see 2 Kings 15:3ff), Ahaz (also a 16 year reign—see 2 Kings 16), and Hezekiah (a 25 year reign—see 2 Kings 18). This was during the time of Isaiah.
Now let’s look at the uniqueness of Micah. Micah sought to bring repentance to his nation of Judah during the time of the destruction of the Northern Kingdom. Micah’s message resulted in revival! The people did repent of their sins and turned back to God. Micah is mentioned in Jeremiah 26:17-19 (see Micah 3:12). The prophecies of Micah resulted in repentance and revival in the kingdom of Judah. This is why Judah lasted another 150 years.
The message of Micah is in three sections:
There are three parts to the message:
1. A summons to hear
2. An oracle of doom
3. A statement of hope
In verses 2-5, we have a summons to hear. Micah declares the Sovereign LORD is making accusations against the people. He is speaking from His holy Temple. Like Amos, there is a description of the power and might of God. God is coming in judgment because of the sin of Israel and Judah.
In verses 1:6-2:11, there is the oracle of doom. Verses 6-7 are an oracle against Samaria. This briefly touches on the Northern Kingdom. Verses 8-16 is the response of Micah. He is grieved to see judgment on his people. His heart reflects the heart of God—desiring salvation and repentance.
In his oracle of doom, Micah mentions 12 cities. Of these cities, 10 of them have a play on words or a pun. It’s an example of poetry. It’s likely that all the cities have been attacked by Assyria in his campaign against Jerusalem.
Here are the play on words that Micah uses as he refers to the cities:
1. Beth Ophrah means “house of dust” and Micah tells them they will roll in the dust.
2. Shaphir means “beautiful, fair, pleasant” and Micah tells them they will experience the opposite of beautiful, fair, and pleasant.
3. Zaanan means “to exit or come out” and Micah tells them they will not come out.
4. Beth Ezel means “the nearby city” or “the standing city” and Micah tells them their city will no longer stand to protect.
5. Maroth sounds like the word for bitterness in Hebrew. Micah tells them they will writhe in pain and bitterness.
6. Lachish is a military city where the horses and chariots are kept for war. Micah tells the people they will flee like horses and chariots.
7. Moresheth Gath sounds like “betrothed” in Hebrew. Micah tells them no gifts will be given to the betrothed couple.
8. Aczib sounds like the word in Hebrew that means “to be deceptive.” It is used to describe a stream that has dried up. Micah tells the people the town will be useless in the time of war; it is deceptive in its power and strength.
9. Mareshah is related to the word that means “possessor” or “heir.” Micah is telling the people they will be possessed by another.
In the original Hebrew language, every word was made up of three consonants. Using context, readers would know what vowels to add to form the word needed. As time went on, the Hebrew language evolved into something very different. Vowels with dots and marks were added to the consonants. The dots and marks indicate how the vowel is pronounced—for example, a short e or long e sound. A person fluent in Hebrew today would not be able to read the Hebrew that the Bible was written in unless they studied the original Hebrew which is no longer used.
This section of Scripture began with a reference to King David:
· “Tell it not in Gath, weep not at all” in verse 10
· See 2 Samuel 1:19-20—a eulogy over King Saul and Jonathan.
This section ends with a reference to King David:
· “cave of Adullum” in verse 15
· David fled there to hide from King Saul.
The whole poem is a dark and foreboding prophecy that Israel will go into hiding and will themselves be the object of the eulogy. It is an emotional warning to Israel to recall dark times and to avoid them by repentance.
Ten cities are mentioned—a number of fullness. References to David bookmark the 10 cities. In the middle is a statement that the disaster has come from God. The form of poetry called a chiasm is used here by Micah as it was by Amos:
The message of the poem is to put God at the center of your life. If you do, God will be for you instead of against you.
There is an oracle against the wealthy in 2:1-5. They plot evil by using their power and position to increase their wealth. They take advantage of the poor and powerless. Consequently, they will become the powerless and oppressed.
There is an oracle against the false prophets in 2:6-11. They prophecy only good and happy things. They say, “Sin all you want; God still loves you.” It’s a message of health and wealth. They say whatever will make the people feel good. They give the people what they want to hear: the gains of following God instead of the cost of following God. They do not warn the people of God’s judgments but preach only blessing. Because of this the people spiral down into sin and wickedness. They no longer act as God’s people. The false prophets cause a famine of the Word of God. The people welcome the false prophets who condone what they want to do. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 says:
I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
In Micah 2:12-13, we find a statement of hope. There is a promise of God’s covenant presence for Israel once again. The King will be established once again with Yahweh leading the nation as He once did before.
In conclusion, God has a case against Israel (the blank can with your name), because they have sinned against Him and have broken the covenant. The judgment of God is at hand. Repentance leads to salvation. God will once again lead in victory if we repent.
Keep short accounts with God. Confess and repent daily.
Verse Completion: . . . those who obey Him. Acts 532 (NASB)