" He has showed you, O man, what is good.And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly
with your God." (Micah 6:8 NIV)
Another of the "minor prophets", Micah was written by the prophet of the same name. The book of Micah is a poetic Hebrew writing. There are three main sections, each beginning with a command, "Hear" or "Listen". And each closing with a promise. Micah was a contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea, and they probably knew each other. Micah was primarily prophesying to Samaria and Jerusalem. The upper class was oppressing the poor, and God gave Micah the vision of His upcoming judgement should His people not repent. Micah preached that God's greatest desire is not offerings in the temple, but, rather, faith that produces the fruits of obedience, justice, and love for others.
The book of Micah has harsh words for those who do not repent, but it also reveals God's love. God will only send judgement after many, many attempts at turning His people back to Him. And, even when judgement comes, God has promised to preserve the faithful remnant. Micah also speaks of the coming Messiah, the King of Peace, who will be born in Bethlehem.
Like so many books of prophecy, one can read it and see that the prophesy was fulfilled centuries ago - but, it also will be fulfilled again in the future. We know from history that Jerusalem and Samaria were indeed captured and put into captivity. But, the prophecy also speaks of parallel occurrences in the latter days. The two major sins Micah wrote about were: injustice towards the poor; and, perversions worship. (Does this sound familiar? Are we in the latter days? Will history repeat itself?) All of the same messages are appropriate for us today... Let's look at some of Micah's words...
#1 "LISTEN TO WHAT THE LORD SAYS": Wouldn't it be awesome if we would just DO this? Listen and really HEAR. Hear and truly BELIEVE. Believe and truly RESPECT. Respect and truly LIVE what the Lord says! (Micah 6:1)
#2: "STAND UP, PLEAD YOUR CASE BEFORE THE MOUNTAINS; LET THE HILLS HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY..." (Micah 6:1) In Micah's time, the mountains were the location of idol worship, where many people built altars to their pagan gods, their false idols, their carved images. Today, we too have many idols to which we bow... Money, houses, clothing, jewelry, job advancement, community recognition, cigarettes, alcohol, the mirror, club membership... and many more. So, here's an interesting idea... Stand up and plead your case before these idols. Hear your voice as it echoes back to you, trying to defend to yourself why these idols are more important to you than God... You will be unable to plead your case, and will find yourself pleading for forgiveness. Amazingly, He is always there, willing to forgive.
#3: "AND WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE OF YOU? TO ACT JUSTLY AND TO LOVE MERCY AND WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD." (Micah 6:8) God requires that we be fair and honest in our dealings with others - even when others may not be fair and honest with us. This takes humility. And, God requires that we walk humbly with Him.
Isn't that what God's Son did for us?
Why would we expect to return any less?