The prophecy of Micah is set over approximately 60 years through the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah. Isaiah also prophesied in Jerusalem through this time. The prophecy had a broad audience – even Rabshakeh the Assyrian emissary to king Hezekiah quotes Micah’s words.
Micah was a prophet who lived in a small town situated in the Judean foothills called Moreshethgath. Micah’s prophecy draws on his country surroundings for its imagery and emotion. Relevant to Micah’s prophecy is that Moreshethgath was in the direct path of the Assyrian invader coming to attack Jerusalem.
His name means ‘Who is like Yah’ (the Hebrew name of God) The meaning of his name becomes the underlying message of the book. The highs and lows of Judah’s existence depends on their likeness to their God.
The Purpose of the prophecy
The prophecy exposes corrupt leadership in Judah – particularly amongst the priests, and grudging worship from the people. Consequently God would bring down judgement on Judah by the Assyrians who would also totally destroy the northern kingdom of Israel because of their idolatry.
In the shadow of the Assyrian invasion and destruction of Judah we are shown the nation of Israel united and restored. Saved from their oppressors by Jesus Christ, we see the nation elevated to first amongst the nations, Jerusalem the centre of world rule and worship, and the land peaceful and prosperous.
Micah gives the famous prophecy of the birth in Bethlehem of Jesus (5v2) and describes him as ‘the Prince of Peace’.
The highlight of the book is that regardless of what happens to Jerusalem throughout history it will finally be a place of pilgrimage for all people wanting to be like Yah. Micah 4v1-5
Chapters 1-3 Micah brings the distressing message that Judah and Israel were not like their God and so God was going to bring the Assyrians down to punish them.
The prophecy changes in Micah 3v12 - ‘BUT’ Micah 4v1.
Chapters 4-7 are filled with a predominantly positive message which includes the promise of a saviour born in Bethlehem and the establishment of his kingdom in Jerusalem. The prophecy concludes by reminding of God’s mercy and faithfulness. Micah 7v18-20
Micah 6v6 What does the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.