Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Micah Read-through

Continuing on, today, Micah will be discussed.

Micah, though unlike the other writing prophets his call as a prophet is not recorded nor is he ever referred to as a prophet, had a known prophetic career during the period of the 8th to 7th century, under three Kings of Judah, namely Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  Micah's prophesy (3:12) is directly quoted in Jeremiah 26:18 by the elders of the land in reference to its influence upon Hezekiah, and is prophesy by the "Spirit of the Lord" (Mi. 3:8; 1 Pet. 1:20-21).  The audience is unique to Micah in that it is directed towards the leadership of the people who exploited the people of God (chapter 3 addresses each category of leadership explicitly).  The broader audience, that is of Israel or Judah is unclear, but some prefer to think it is Judah due to Micah's "high places" remarks in chapter 1.  Many also note that Micah sums up three other prophets, those are Amos (justice); Hosea (steadfast love); and Isaiah (humble devotion to the Lord).
Key themes:

1)  Covenant faithfulness is not simply carried out through rituals and religious practices, but renewed worship of the Lord.  The Lord calls Jerusalem, in chapter 1, a "high place" indicating its guilt of idolatry, but contrasts this in chapter 4 with the nations "flowing" to worship the Lord and to be taught. Does the Lord desire sacrifices and offerings, yes, but not as Israel saw it.  He desires His people "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly in the Lord".  This is a larger and truer sacrifice than lip service.

2)  Oppression of God's people will not be allowed to go unpunished, even if it is by His own people (2:3-4).  He will rescue the oppressed (4:6-7), and exile the oppressor by an oppressor (namely the Neo-Assyrian Empire).  

3)  A shepherd-king will rescue a remnant.  This shepherd-king will be ruler of Israel and deliver Israel in the strength of the Lord (this contrasted with Israel current leadership and their sources of power).  

4)  The Lord's plan is rooted in His character and promise to Abraham.  The Lord has not forgotten His people, His mission to all the nations, and His Kingdom (4:1-5; 7:18-20).  The Lord is faithful to forgive even His most wayward people so that His promise and plan will endure.

I take two things from Micah, today:

First, the power to forgive in the strength of the Lord.  True forgiveness is not easy, and often scandalous.  The Lord gives His ultimate forgiveness to those wayward people of Israel here in Micah via the Cross, the poster-child of scandal!

Second, our true worship is desired by the Lord.  We should realize this is even more than great worship on Sunday mornings.  The Lord regards true worship as "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly in the Lord."  This clearly has implication for many things besides a devoted worship service.  

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