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Summary: We have looked at the works of Jonah, Amos, and Hosea b. We now come to the works of Micah, the last prophet of the eighth century B.C.

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SERMON Minor Prophets Micah

"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

Micah - Judgment Now, Blessings Later (1:1-2:13)

INTRODUCTION

1. The eighth century (800-700 B.C.) was filled with prophetic

activity...

a. Starting with Jonah, who prophesied to the city of Nineveh (790

B.C.)

b. Continuing with prophets sent primarily to the northern kingdom

of Israel

1) Amos (755 B.C.)

2) Hosea (750-725 B.C.)

c. The southern kingdom of Judah was also the recipient of God’s

prophets

1) Isaiah (740-700 B.C.)

2) Micah (735-700 B.C.)

2. In our study of "The Minor Prophets"...

a. We have looked at the works of Jonah, Amos, and Hosea

b. We now come to the works of Micah, the last prophet of the eighth

century B.C.

[Before we take a look at the messages of Micah as recorded in his

book, it may be helpful to first look at some...]

I. BACKGROUND MATERIAL

A. MICAH - THE MAN...

1. His name means "Who is like Jehovah?" - cf. Mic 7:18

2. His home was Moresheth-Gath - Mic 1:1,14

a. In the lowlands of Judah, near Philistia

b. About 20-25 miles southwest of Jerusalem

3. Nothing is known of his occupation prior to becoming God’s

prophet

4. Characterization

a. "He was the prophet of the poor and downtrodden." (Homer

Hailey)

b. "He had Amos’ passion for justice and Hosea’s heart for

love." (J.M.P. Smith)

c. Comparing Micah to his contemporary Isaiah (as suggested by

Hailey)

1) Micah was a man of the fields, Isaiah was of the city

2) Micah took little interest in politics, giving himself

to the concern over spiritual and moral problems; Isaiah

was in close contact with world affairs, the associate

of kings and princes

3) Both Micah and Isaiah...

a) Saw God as the infinite Ruler of nations and men

b) Recognized the absolute holiness and majesty of God

c) Stressed that violating principles of God’s divine

sovereignty and holiness would bring judgment and

doom

B. MICAH - THE BOOK...

1. The date: 735-700 B.C.

a. During the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of

Judah - Mic 1:1

b. Just as the northern kingdom of Israel was falling under

Assyria’s attack

2. The message: "Present Judgment, Future Blessings"

a. Judgment is coming because of Israel’s unfaithfulness to

God

b. Blessings will come because of God’s faithfulness to Israel

1) Cf. the promise God made to Abraham - Gen 22:18

2) God would fulfill in the person of Jesus Christ - cf.

Ac 3:24-26

3. A brief outline: The book appears to contain three messages

or oracles, all beginning with the word "Hear"; therefore the

book can be divided as follows:

a. The coming judgment, with a promise of restoration - Mic 1:

1-2:13

b. God’s condemnation of Israel, with a glimpse of the future

hope - Mic 3:1-5:15

c. God’s indictment of Israel, with a plea for repentance and

promise of forgiveness - Mic 6:1-7:20

[In the remaining part of this lesson, let’s take look at Micah’s first

message...]

What we see is more powerful than what we hear. The visual always trumps the audible. I learned a long time ago that what people see is more powerful than what they hear. I learned it when I sat through an education professor’s hour-long lecture about why lecturing was the least effective way to teach. He proved his point amply not by how he argued but by the fact that all I could see was a lecture about not lecturing. I learned that what people see is more powerful than what they hear.

And so we choose visible symbols by which we will be known. Schools, churches, governments, businesses – all have logos, symbols meant to suggest something about that organization. You recognize the Starbucks hairdo immediately. You know the Coca-Cola script right away. And if you are an American, the Stars and Stripes Symbols, visual signs, of the institutions we know. And they are important. If you don’t think visual symbols are important, just ask one of our Presidents about what happened when he did not wear a flag pin on his lapel!

Of all the symbols we use, the use of birds is the most intriguing. States and nations choose official birds. Some are obvious, like the Baltimore Oriole

I do like the story, however, about old Benjamin Franklin arguing that the wild turkey would be a more fitting symbol of America, because, Franklin said, the bald eagle is a “bird of bad moral character” who snatches prey from other birds and who is a coward that can be run off by far smaller creatures. Old Ben thought the bald eagle not a proper emblem for what this country should become.

How curious, then, that the prophet Micah also invokes the bald eagle as a symbol of a people! How fascinating that when Micah looked for something visible that would carry God’s message to Judah, he pointed to a bird, a large and powerful bird, but one that had no feathers in its cap. And since in the ancient world, a shaved head showed grief, the eagle’s baldness signaled a nation that would grieve, a people that would suffer loss. “Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair for your pampered children; make yourselves as bald as the eagle, for they have gone from you into exile.”

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