Joel, Micah, & Zephaniah Lesson 9
Read chapter 6 through, then respond to the following:
Micah 6:1, 2
What is happening in these verses?
Who is speaking?
What is the question behind the deeds listed?
What is the message of this verse? In your answer be sure to include the relationship between the “counsel of Balak,” the “answer of Balaam,” and “the righteous acts of the Lord.”
Micah 6:6, 7
- Who is the “I” of 6:6a? Is it the same “I” as in 6:3?
- In your own words, re-state the question of 6:6, 7?
- What is the soul that can sin a sin for which the fruit of the body is inadequate?
- Why does verse 8 follow verses 6 and 7?
- What is the connection between the rejected sacrifices (sacrifices were ordered by God), and the admonition to do justly and love mercy?
- What is the message of 6:6-8?
What is the message here?
- Who causes the troubles listed in verses 13-15 directly, and indirectly?
- Who is addressed in verse 16d – “Therefore . . . you will bear the reproach of my people”? (to find the answer check the antecedent to each pronoun in the chapter.)
- What is the message of this verse?
Micah 6:1, 2
Micah is inviting the Lord to present His case against His people to the Mountains and hills, because the Lord has a case against His people, and they are acting as if they had become weary of listening to Him.
God speaks, not to the hills, but to His people, and invites them to reply. His question – How did I weary you?
Are these the kind of activities that weary you?
The message of this verse is that God’s people should be remembering to compare what Balak wanted Balaam to say, and what Balaam wanted to say, with what Balaam actually said, because the difference reveals the right doingness of the Lord, in behalf of Israel; the ones who are complaining of Him by way of not listening to His counsel.
Micah 6:6, 7
- Those who wished to respond to God after hearing His appeal, in 6:1-5, are the “I” of 6:6a. The “I” of 6:3 is the Lord.
- The question of 6:6, 7 is capable of being re-phrased into the New Testament formula, “what must I do to be saved?”
It is possible that the description of what a leper was to bring to the cleansing ritual which followed his having been healed of leprosy (see Lev. 14:10), was the cause of this question.
The cleansing ritual of a healing leper included two separate services; to the one service, the leper to be pronounced clean, had to bring certain supplies which were used in the ritual of the service. If the leper did not bring the prescribed materials, there was no service – he could not be pronounced clean.
But to the other segment of the cleansing ritual, the leper was to take nothing (see Lev. 14:1-7).
It is of great interest to note that the two services parallel the objective and subjective portions of the atonement; the work of Christ on our behalf, to which we can add nothing, and the work of Christ on our behalf which is only effective after we respond to His working in our lives.
With this understanding of this one portion of the sanctuary ritual, we recognize that it is not necessary to assume the question, “what shall we bring” is based in total unawareness of God’s will as it has been revealed in the past.
- What is the soul that can sin a sin for which the fruit of the body, and prescribed offerings, are inadequate?
The answer to this question is academically seen differently by various schools of thought. To point to our answer to the question “what is the soul,” we will therefore simply quote from the Spirit of Prophecy materials. Make a list of Mrs. White’s points in the quotations below and add your own favorite quote on this topic.
“Adam was a noble being, which a powerful mind, a will in harmony with the will of God, and affections that centered upon heaven. He possessed a body heir to no disease, and a soul bearing the impress of Deity.” The Youth’s Instructor Articles, p. 562 (Mar. 5, 1903).
“The entire being, body, soul, and spirit, must be brought into subjection to God, to be used by Him as an instrument of righteousness.” The Youth’s Instructor Articles, p. 486 (Nov. 8, 1900).
“By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves we are no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking.” The Desire of Ages, p. 203.
“When the soul has been cleansed, it is the duty of the Christian to keep it undefiled.” The Youth’s Instructor Articles, p. 562 (Mar. 5, 1903).
“You must not imperil your soul by sowing wild oats.” The Youth’s Instructor Articles, p. 415 (July 27, 1899).
“By giving his only begotten son to die on the cross, God has shown us the estimate He places on the human soul.” The Youth’s Instructor Articles, p. 414 (July 20, 1899).
“Christ healed the man, both soul and body, showing that he had power to pardon sins, and bring peace and righteousness to the conscience-stricken soul.” The Youth’s Instructor Articles, p. 369 (Sept. 11, 1898).
“We are to ask ourselves the question ‘How is it with my soul? A healthy soul in a healthy body makes a man or woman more precious than silver or gold, . . . ” Pacific Union Recorder Articles, p. 1 (Arg. 1, 1901).
“Yes, the Word of God is the bread of life. Eat of it daily. IT will infuse immortal vigor into your soul, perfecting your experience, and bringing you those joys that abide forever.” Pacific Union Recorder Articles, p. 164 (Dec. 22, 1904).
“When the grace of God reigns within, the soul will be surrounded with an atmosphere of faith and courage and Christlike love, an atmosphere invigorating to the spiritual life of all who inhale it.” Pacific Union Recorder Articles, p. 188 (Apr. 13, 1905).
“The Spirit of God, received into the soul, quickens all its faculties.” Gospel Workers, p. 285.
“When man sinned, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony and not at variance with Satan. . . . It is the grace that Christ implants in the soul that creates the enmity against Satan.” Present Truth and Review & Herald Articles, vol. 1, p. 329 (cf. G.C. 506).
“The baleful influence of sin poisons the life of the soul.” Present Truth and Review & Herald Articles, vol.1, p. 339.
“If to save the body from death, the foot or the hand should be cut off, or even the eye plucked out, how much more earnest should the Christian be to put away sin, which brings death to the soul.” The Acts of the Apostles, p. 313.
“The grace of God comes to the soul through the channel of living faith, and that, faith it is in our power to exercise.” Messages to Young People, p. 72.
“Then let us not be satisfied with only a little of this blessing, only that amount which will keep us from the slumber of death.” Present Truth and Review and Herald Articles, vol. 2, p. 555 (Mar. 29, 1892).
“When truth becomes an abiding principle in the life, the soul is ‘born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.'” The Acts of the Apostles, p. 520.
“In the matchless gift of His Son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.” Steps to Christ, p. 68.
“When he suffers death for Christ’s sake, the Savior says to him, They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul.” The Acts of the Apostles, p. 85.
“The soul that God has created and Christ has redeemed is of great value because of the possibilities before it, the spiritual advantages that have been granted it, the capabilities that it may possess if vitalized by the word of God, and the immortality it may gain through the hope presented in the gospel.” The Acts of the Apostles, p. 370.
“The good resolutions made in one’s own strength avail nothing. Not all the pledges in the world will break the power of evil habit. Never will men practice temperance in all things until their hearts are renewed by divine grace. We cannot keep ourselves from sin for one moment. Every moments we are dependent upon God.
“True reformation begins with soul cleansing. Our work for the fallen will achieve real success only as the grace of Christ reshapes the character and the soul is brought into living connections with God.” Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, pp. 179, 180.
- Micah in 6:8 answers the question Israel asked in 6:6, 7 by saying, He has told you what He cares about from you – doing justice and loving godly deeds, and living modestly while walking with your God.
- The connection is found in the focal-point of the server-of-God; a commitment to God accompanied by obedience to God’s expressed will causes the obedient one to follow where ever God leads, while a commitment to that which is commanded by God results in disobedience at the point that the requirement is changed. The Jews killed Jesus and the apostles for several reasons, one of which was to preserve the sacrificial system they “obeyed.”
- The message of 6:6-8 is that to come before the Lord I must bring right acts done to my neighbor, while I was walking with God – being easy to guide. Such a process – obedience to the commandments of God – results in the reproduction in the individual of the character of the One he is obeying.
After what the Lord has done for Israel listed in 6:1-5, and after Israel’s inquiries and God’s answer in 6:6-8, the questions in 6:9-12 are, Is wickedness yet retained by God’s people in their midst, and, can God justify wickedness while it is retained?
The message of 6:9-12 is that in spite of what God has done for His people and their professions to be seeking His will, there is no justification for them while they retain wickedness in their midst.
The troubles coming on Israel are directly caused by God (He is the “I” in 6:13), but indirectly these troubles only come because of Israel’s evil deeds; they bring the troubles on themselves.
- The Interlinear Bible (gen. ed. & translators Jay P. Green sr., Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1982), translates Micah 6:16 as follows:
“And (one) has kept himself (as to) the statues of Omri, and all the work of the house of Ahab, and you walk in their counsels, so that I may give you for a horror, and her inhabitants for a hissing; and the disgrace of My people you shall bear.”
(The Hebrew of the first phrase is unusual but not grammatically incorrect; the form is third person masculine and can, of course, be translated “he,” but it is also proper to translate it by the impersonal form, “and one.” The context seems to require this impersonal form, which the Interlinear Bible uses. Where the verse is translated this way, it has an interesting message.)
To determine who is addressed in the last phrase of the chapter, we will check the antecedent to each of the pronouns in the chapter, watching for the story they develop.
In verses 3-5 “you” is in reference to “my people” – God being the spokesman.
In verse 8 “You” is the violent rich men of the city and its lying residents.
In verses 14 and 15 the same group of people is the topic. In verse 16 there are several pronouns, as follows:
In the first phrase, “and (one) has kept himself (as to) the statutes of Omri, and all the work of the house of Ahab,” (one) refers to an unfaithful leader.
In verse 16b “and you walk in their counsels,” “you” refers to the people of the Lord who follow the false leader or leaders, while “their” refers to the statutes of Omri, and the house of Ahab.
In verse 16c, “so that I may give you for a horror,” “I” is, of course, a reference to God, the spokesman here, while “you” refers to the false leader of leaders of 16a, who is to be treated in such a way as will result in his situation and experience causing others to be horrified.
In verse 16d, “and her inhabitants for a hissing,” “her” refers to the inhabitants of the city God is bringing judgments on.
In verse 16e, “and the disgrace of My people you shall bear,” “My” is a reference to God, and “you” (Heb: 2 m pl) is the leaders who brought on the state of affairs which call forth God’s judgments.
(Note there are other translations and accompanying messages to parts of the verse. The Hebrew is difficult.)
The message of these verses, as translated, is that when God’s leaders and people go astray both will suffer; and people will not go unpunished because they were lead into error by following apostate leaders, but there is a special responsibility the false leader has to meet at God’s hand.
For more information on this concept of leader accountability see, for example:
- Ellen G. White, the Great Controversy, pp. 598-599, 654-657.
- Jeremiah 28:15-17.