God’s Saving Word: Justice and Peace
Micah 1:1‒16: Today we begin reading the book of the prophet Micah. He was from a country town in Judah, the southern kingdom, and was convinced that Judah was about to face the same kind of national catastrophe that Amos had predicted for Israel, the northern kingdom. The book is a collection of oracles, and the first chapter begins with a message of doom. The prophet calls upon the people to listen to the LORD.
1 During the time that Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, the Lord gave this message to Micah, who was from the town of Moresheth. The Lord revealed to Micah all these things about Samaria and Jerusalem.
A Lament for Samaria and Jerusalem
2 Hear this, all you nations;
listen to this, all who live on earth!
The Sovereign Lord will testify against you.
Listen! He speaks from his heavenly temple.
3 The Lord is coming from his holy place;
he will come down and walk on the tops of the mountains.
4 Then the mountains will melt under him
like wax in a fire;
they will pour down into the valleys
like water pouring down a hill.
5 All this will happen because the people of Israel have sinned and rebelled against God. Who is to blame for Israel’s rebellion? Samaria, the capital city itself Who is guilty of idolatry in Judah? Jerusalem itself 6 So the Lord says, “I will make Samaria a pile of ruins in the open country, a place for planting grapevines. I will pour the rubble of the city down into the valley, and will lay bare the city’s foundations. 7 All its precious idols will be smashed to pieces, everything given to its temple prostitutes will be destroyed by fire, and all its images will become a desolate heap. Samaria acquired these things for its fertility rites, and now her enemies will carry them off for temple prostitutes elsewhere.”
8 Then Micah said, “Because of this I will mourn and lament. To show my sorrow, I will walk around barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and wail like an ostrich. 9 Samaria’s wounds cannot be healed, and Judah is about to suffer in the same way; destruction has reached the gates of Jerusalem itself, where my people live.”
The Enemy Approaches Jerusalem
10 Don’t tell our enemies in Gath about our defeat; don’t let them see you weeping. People of Beth Leaphrah,[a] show your despair by rolling in the dust! 11 You people of Shaphir, go into exile, naked and ashamed. Those who live in Zaanan do not dare to come out of their city. When you hear the people of Bethezel mourn, you will know that there is no refuge there. 12 The people of Maroth anxiously wait for relief, because the Lord has brought disaster close to Jerusalem. 13 You that live in Lachish, hitch the horses to the chariots. You imitated the sins of Israel and so caused Jerusalem to sin. 14 And now, people of Judah, say good-bye to the town of Moresheth Gath. The kings of Israel will get no help from the town of Achzib.
15 People of Mareshah, the Lord will hand you over to an enemy, who is going to capture your town. The leaders of Israel will go and hide in the cave at Adullam. 16 People of Judah, cut off your hair in mourning for the children you love. Make yourselves as bald as vultures, because your children will be taken away from you into exile.
Today’s Key Verse: Micah 1:3
The LORD is coming from his holy place; he will come down and walk on the tops of the mountains.
What sins have the people committed? What will be the consequences? How is Micah expressing his sorrow (verse 8)? What does he say to the people of Judah (verse 16)? How do you express sorrow or remorse?
Lord God, from your heavenly temple you see everything we do. You know my faults and shortcomings. Order my steps this day so that what I do is pleasing in your sight. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Micah 2:1‒13: Micah continues to deliver God’s message of judgment.