Joel, Micah, & Zephaniah Lesson 4
INTRODUCTION TO MICAH
“This is a time every soul needs to cling earnestly to God. Those whom the Lord is leading to do his last work in the earth are to stand as Micah and Zephaniah and Zechariah stood in their day, to call to repentance and good works. The writings of these prophets contain warnings and instruction applicable to this time, and should receive our careful study. They should teach us to shun every phase of evil that made such warnings essential to the people of the past. Let every soul arouse and make diligent examination of self, that everything that would separate the people of God from righteousness may be put away.” Ellen White in the Present Truth and Review & Herald Articles, vol. 2, p. 542.
Chapter 1 Assignment Questions
Read: Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pp. 330-339, 682 for the story of Israel in Micah’s time.
- To whom was the Lord directing Micah?
- About when did Micah work?
- When were Samaria and Jerusalem destroyed? Where they both rebuilt? (For the historical material use a Bible dictionary such as the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 8.)
- Why did Jerusalem and Samaria suffer?
- Who is the “I” of verse 6?
- Who is the “I” of verse 7?
Micah 1: 8, 9
- Who is the “I” of verse 8?
- Who is the “it” of verse 9? (Heb: “he” has reached the gate.)
- Is there a connection between the “He” of verse 9 and verses 3 and 4? Please explain your answer.
- In your own words summarize the story presented in 1:1-9.
Skip these verses as an assignment, and read through the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary on these verses. They present a very interesting section of Scripture – but verses 10-14 are perhaps too difficult for us to exegete here.
However, do note the message of verses 15 and 16 when they are translated as they appear in the translation of verses 10-16 below.
Micah 1:10-16 may be read as follows:
v. 10 – In Gath do not declare; (though) weeping you are not to weep.
In the house for Aphrah (in the house of dust), you roll in the dust.
v. 11 – Pass in nakedness (of) shame, inhabitant of Saphir.
The inhabitant of Zoanan will not go out. (The) customs of mourning of Beth-Haetzel will take from you its place to stand (support).
v. 12 – Because the inhabitant of Maroth became tired (weak) for good, because evil went down, from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem.
v. 13 – Tie up the chariot to the team of horses, O inhabitant of Lachish.
She was the beginning of sin to (the) daughter of Zion, because in you were found the rebellions of Israel.
v. 14 – Therefore you will give dowry (Holl. 371) unto Moresheth – Gath, houses of Aczieb (deceit), for deceit, to the kings of Israel.
v. 15 – Still (yet) the one taking possession (is) father to you, inhabitant of Marasheth, yet (to) Adulam he will come, the glory of Israel.
v. 16 – Shave (yourselves) bald (fathers), and shear upon the sons of your enjoyment;
Make wide your baldness as a vulture, (fathers), because they (your sons) will go into captivity from you.
Chapter 1 Assignment Answers
To the two capital cities of the children of God, Micah was sent probably during the last half or one third of the eighth century. Whereas Samaria was destroyed in 722 B.C., Micah’s statement that “her wound is incurable” was almost immediately followed by judgment. Other prophecies of doom sent by God through his prophets were often only threatenings; therefore, this prophecy’s quick fulfillment on Samaria may have been a means of conveying an appeal to Jerusalem, as her destruction did not come until the progressive destruction of 606-586 B.C.
The later rebuilding of Jerusalem was not paralleled by a reconstruction of Samaria.
- Verse 5a states that the reason for the sufferings foretold was the sins of the people. Their acts produced the results – God left His holy temple (1:2c), and came down to the earth (1:3), to reward the sins of the people (1:6, 7).
- The Lord is the “I” of verses 6 and 7c (cf.1:3, 4).
Micah 1: 8, 9
a-c. The “I” of verse 8 is probably the prophet because the “he” of verse 9 is probably God; notice that it is God who is doing the moving from place to place in verses 2-4, and He is also the destroyer of verses 6 and 7, therefore the “He” of verse 9 is “the Lord” of verses 3 and 4. (To suggest that the “he” of verse 9 is someone like Nebuchadnezzar would make the pronoun stand alone without a preceding noun to modify.)
Summary of story: We know from our study of other Biblical passages that we sometimes suffer because Satan afflicts us, and that we sometimes suffer as a direct result of our deeds, but it perhaps Is not so clear to us that we sometimes suffer because it is God who afflicts us. In this writer’s opinion this is one kind of suffering we can realistically try and hope to avoid.
The fact that Samaria was not rebuilt tells us something about the limits God places on His forgiveness and consequent restoration. For some sins there is eternal loss, even if the transgressor eventually gains eternal life; just as some of the people of the northern kingdom were involved when the southern kingdom was restored, even through their capitol and nation were not restored.
“Had all who were taken captive held firmly to correct principles, they would have imparted light in every place where they were scattered. But they remained impenitent, and still heavier punishment came upon them. Their calamities were sent for their purification. God would bring them to the place where they would be instructed.” Ellen G. White in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1194 (MS 151, 1899).
“Whenever He comes to us, His reward is with Him. He does not leave it in heaven, but gives it to us every day. Daily He gives us confidence and light and blessing.” Ellen G. White, in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1145 (MS 116, 1902).
“God’s children are always being tested in the furnace of affliction. If they endure the first trial, it is not necessary for them to pass through a similar ordeal the second time; but if they fail, the trial is brought to them again and again, each time being still more trying and severe. Thus opportunity after opportunity is placed before them of gaining the victory and proving themselves true to God. But if they continue to manifest rebellion, God is compelled at last to remove His spirit and light from them (MS 69, 1912).
“Sorrow and trial must come to all and is beautiful only as it works to polish, to sanctify, and refine the soul as a fit instrument to do service for the Lord.” Ellen G. White, in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1146. (letter 69, 1897).
“Jesus with solemn tenderness explained the purpose of the husbandman. The pruning will cause pain, but it is the Father who applies the knife. He works with no wanton hand or indifferent heart. There are branches trailing upon the ground; these must be cut loose from the earthly supports to which their tendrils are fastening. They are to reach heavenward, and find their support in God. The excessive foliage that draws away the life current from the fruit must be pruned off. The overgrowth must be cut out, to give room for the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The husbandman prunes away the harmful growth, that the fruit may be richer and more abundant.” Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages,, p. 677.
“Ministers and people need the work of purification in their souls, that God’s judgments may be turned away from them.” Ellen G. White in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1150 (MS 33, 1903).
“The truth of God received into the heart is able to make you wise unto salvation. In believing and obeying it you will receive grace sufficient for the duties and trails of today. Grace for tomorrow you do not need.” Ellen G. White, Testimonies to the Church, vol. 3, p. 333.
“God will test and prove his people. One sacred truth after another will be brought to bear upon their hearts, close and cutting, until their faith will be purified and tried like gold, until all their dross will be purged away, and Jesus will present them unto his Father without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. We must overcome through trials and sufferings, as Jesus overcame. We must not shun the cross or the suffering part of religion. The language of the heart should be, Let me know the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. Let me suffer with him that I may reign with Him.” Ellen G. White in the Present Truth and Review & Herald Articles, vol. 1, p. 59.
“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord they Redeemer.” Isa 54:7, 8.
“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” II Timothy 2:25.
Re: verses 15-16 –
These verses, as translated in Assignment Questions under Micah 1:10-16, contain a great promise and set forth an important principle, for, if the one taking possession and thereby becoming father to the people of verse 15 is the enemy, as the context implies, then the promise that “he will come, the glory of Israel,” means that even in our sufferings God – the glory of Israel – comes to us; while verse 16 tells us that God’s presence does not necessarily negate the evil we have brought on ourselves.
The message of these verses is that in our sufferings God is present to sustain us, or as Micah’s partner Isaiah said, “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them.” (Isa. 63:9).