Micah 1:1 – The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. NKJV
It’s good to be back! Thanks to all of you who continued to visit the site. With the celebration of Dr. King’s birthday earlier this week, I wanted to add my reflections to the conversation, while highlighting someone from the Word.
Micah starts his book with the phrase, “the word of the Lord,” which is key to understanding what is happening in the book. So before he begins to share anything with his readers, he wants them to understand that he is only sharing what God has given him to share.
It’s important that Micah makes this distinction at the beginning because his assignment from God is to warn Jerusalem and Samaria of impending judgment from God based on the past and present actions, which includes leadership that has fallen into corruption.
The hometown of Micah was identified as Moresheth Gath and was considered to be an agricultural center, therefore, he was probably a farmer. According to our key text, he prophesied during the realm of three different kings: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
Throughout the book of Micah, we see a man who was greatly concerned for the well-being of the people. Repeatedly he spoke out against the injustices he saw in Judah and the righteous judgments of the Lord! He spoke of the legal system that was corrupt. He spoke of fields being seized from landowners because others wanted them, the stronger overcoming the weaker. He spoke of those who refused to repent because they felt competent in their own strength and power. Micah saw a society in need of social reform.
“Hear now, O heads of Jacob, and you rulers of the house of Israel: Is it not for you to know justice? You who hate good and love evil; who strip the skin from My people, and the flesh from their bones;Micah 3:1-2 NKJV
Micah speaks out against the leaders, religious and secular, who were unconcerned about the well-being of the people. Micah pointed out that they were the ones who should have understood what justice was all about and should have been responsible for making sure that it was carried out. Yet, they seemed to love evil and to hate good, while they were tearing the people apart! Literally! It is suggested that they had allowed cannibalism in their cities.
Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and twist everything that is straight, who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with malice.Micah 3:9-10 NASB
Micah wasn’t afraid to speak out against those in authority who despised justice and twisted everything to their advantage. Micah recognized that they were exploiting the people for their personal gain. People’s rights were being overlooked, violated, and God had enough! However, Micah understood that they weren’t interested in what he had to say, yet he kept on sharing God’s heart for His people! Micah was the man for the job and he knew it!
But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.Micah 3:8 NKJV
Micah was an Old Testament prophet for social justice. The most important verse in the book of Micah, or at the very least, the key verse for the book is found in chapter 6.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?Micah 6:8 NKJV
As he spoke God’s word against the religious and political leaders who oppressed the people, exploiting the powerless, Micah was mindful of the truth that God required His people to be a just people. He understood that mercy was what we all needed from God, and therefore, all should be willing to show mercy to others. But that was not the case! He spoke against the pride that was evident in their lives and their refusal to heed the words of God! He was God’s voice for the societal ills amongst His people!
Martin Luther King, who was originally named Michael King became the voice of God during the civil rights era. A modern-day Micah! Entering college at the age of 15, King was not interested in being a preacher, although he came from a family of preachers. His degree from Morehouse College was in sociology. However, Benjamin E. Mays, a theologian, inspired him to enter the ministry; and in 1955, he received his doctorate in systematic theology. This area of theology is defined as being able to take the principles of the Bible and make them applicable to the times in which we live. That was the platform of his non-violence stand for social reform.
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
Doesn’t this quote remind you of Micah 6:8? Dr. King, a man with a passion for the people of God, and the God he served found himself troubled by what he saw happening every day to Black people. Men hung for looking at someone the wrong way. People cheated out of their hard-earned money, little though it was. Rights being denied to Blacks that were freely given and fiercely protected for the whites. A country that had yet to recognize that what was happening to his (King’s) congregants and others in the South was not indicative of a country that declared they were under God.
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
Micah told the leaders of Judah that God demanded that they treat His people fairly. He warned them that as long as they resisted this path of social reform, God would not be pleased and judgment was sure to come. He understood that without his declarations of judgment, they would see no need to turn from their ways. And yet, they still did not!
Dr. King spoke out against the injustices, using every avenue available except violence. His non-violence approach touched the hearts of Americans, both blacks and whites. His talk of love and not hate, forgiveness and not bitterness, all stemmed from his understanding of his relationship with God.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
Micah was probably fine with what appeared to be the course of his life. But one day God called him and gave him a message that demanded social justice for His people. Dr. King had no interest in being a preacher, and when he said yes to the call, that was all he was saying yes to. Yet, as he prepared to be the best preacher he could be, he was drawn into the civil rights movement. As the spokesman for the movement, he understood that God was asking him to do that which was not popular or safe, but that which was right!
“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice, say that I was a drum major for peace, I was a drum major for righteousness, and all the other shallow things will not matter.”Dr. Martin L. King
People of faith are found in the word of God, like Micah. But they are also found in our world, in our lives, like Dr. King. Sometimes we are asked to do the thing that will make us look different, or cause us to stand alone because God knows that we can handle it. It may not be popular, it may not be safe, it may be extremely hard on us, but if we trust God in it, we can know that things will work out somehow! Wonderful Jesus!