Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Outline of Micah

I have been preaching through Micah for several weeks. It has been a great delight. There are numerous parallels between Micah's time and ours, which have made application in preaching easy. Here is a brief outline of Micah.

Micah prophesied some time from 750 B.C. through 686 B.C. This time period included the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to Assyria in 722 B.C. It also included the reign of good King Hezekiah and the Assyrians, under Sennacherib, surrounding Jerusalem in 701 B.C. This could be referenced in Micah 1:9. Micah's main contemporary was Isaiah with Amos just preceding his ministry.

Micah is divided into three main sections, all beginning with the word "hear." (1:2, 3:1, 6:1) Each of these sections begins with judgment for Israel's sins and ends with Israel being restored.

1. Micah 1-2
The subject here is God's coming judgment for Israel's idol worship (1:5) social injustice (2:1-2) and her rejection of God's prophetic word. (2:6-11) It ends with the promise of restoration under a coming King. (2:12-13)

2. Micah 3-5
Here is one of the greatest sections in all of prophetic literature. In chapter 3 we have the judgment of God coming upon the false shepherds of Israel for their destruction of the sheep. This is very similar to the beginning of Ezekiel 34. What is interesting is that Jeremiah says that Micah 3:12 was the verse which caused Hezekiah to lead Israel to reformation. (Jeremiah 26:17-19) In contrast to these false shepherds, Micah preaches the Word faithfully. (Micah 3:8)

Then in chapters 4-5 there is the great promise of the coming Messiah and his Kingdom. Israel is now ruled by false shepherds who destroy the flock. But the true Shepherd is coming who will lead his people in peace. Micah 4:1-3 are quoted verbatim in Isaiah 2:2-4. The Lord gives us this exact prophesy twice. And of course, at the beginning of Micah 5 we have the promise that this Messiah will come from the town of Bethelem. This is quoted in Matthew 2:6.

3. Micah 6-7
The final section begins just like the other two, with judgment. This judgment section extends from 6:1-7:7. Israel has been told what to do. (Micah 6:8) But she refuses to obey. (6:9-12) Therefore God will judge her. (6:13-16) At the beginning of chapter 7 Micah searches out the land for anyone who is righteous. He goes out among the general population, (7:1-2) among the mighty of the land, (7:3-4) and finally in among families. (7:5-6) Nowhere can he find righteousness. Christ quotes Micah 7:6 in describing His ministry in Matthew 10:36.

Micah 7:7 is one of the great verses in Micah. Micah has searched diligently throughout the whole land. There is no hope. Righteousness is no where to be found. But Micah does not despair. He stations himself before the "God of his salvation" and waits. He knows that God will hear him. Habakkuk has a similar response in Habakkuk 2:1.

Micah 7:8-20 is about the restoration of Israel. She has been cast into the dust because of her sins. (7:9) Her enemies have mocked her. But God is bringing salvation. He will cast her enemies into the dust. (7:16-17) Most importantly He will "cast all their sins into the depths of the ocean." (7:19)

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8