Summary: Micah preaches at a time when there is spiritual lethargy. Micah’s nakedness is an indication of the lengths God will go to where He ensures that He gets our attention so that, ultimately, we fix our eyes on Jesus rather than having misplaced trust.
You can listen to the full sermon here:-
Why Are You Naked?
The Old Testament prophets preached in some strange ways.
Jeremiah had to buy a loin cloth, then wear it for ages, then hide it in a rock crevice for ages. That is what he preached about in Jeremiah 13.
Ezekiel had to lay on his side for 390 days in from of a block of clay. That was a long sermon. You can read about it in Ezekiel 4.
Strange ways to bring prophet messages. But my sense is that the prophet Micah – the way he preached – it would have caused people to stop and look. We find the situation in Micah 1:3-9 (read)
Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked.
I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl.
Naked. What a strange way to preach!
I think we are on solid ground when we assume that, anyone who saw Micah preaching like this, would definitely stop … and look … and listen.
That’s what they really need to do. They need to listen.
To see why they need to listen let’s start with a bit of history. The historical context is clearly defined in Micah 1:1
The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah
The reign of these three kings spanned 60 years – so we need a few more clues to narrow down the situation described in chapter 1.
Micah 1:5 talks about “high places in in Judah and Jerusalem.”
So it can’t be during the reign of Hezekiah because “(Hezekiah) removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles” (2 Kings 18:4).
… Judah – whose capital is Jerusalem
… and Israel – whose capital is Samaria
equally participating in sin and transgression. This could be a description of events during the reign of Jotham.
(Jotham) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done, but unlike him he did not enter the temple of the Lord. The people, however, continued their corrupt practices.
However you do get a sense that Jotham is trying hard not to follow the unfaithful practises of the King in Samaria. Indeed Jotham really wants to encourage the people in Jerusalem to worship faithfully by making sure the temple is being maintained. “Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 27:3).
So the words in Micah 1 are directed to a situation that is taking place during the reign of Ahaz the King of Judah who came to the throne in 744BC and died in 728BC. This is a summary of Ahaz’s reign.
2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.
King Ahaz was not a faithful king – and his lack of faithfulness was leading the people astray. One area Ahaz was causing the people to be led astray was with regards to the trust they needed to have in God.
7 Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, “I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as a gift to the king of Assyria. 9 The king of Assyria complied by attacking Damascus and capturing it. He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death.
Faithful Kings of Judah never need to trust in other kingdoms to fight for them. All the faithful King needed to do was call upon the Lord and the Lord would protect his people.
But Ahaz wasn’t faithful and he didn’t trust the might of God, so he used money from the temple to pay for the might of the king of Assyria.
If that wasn’t enough Ahaz also lead the people into practises of false and misleading worship.