Micah calls out to the leaders to listen. This message is for them. Leaders include rulers, priests, and prophets in charge of telling the people about God’s ways and expectations. It wasn’t like people had their own Bibles sitting on the shelf with everything they needed to know. The people had to rely on their leaders to tell them about God.
These leaders needed a wake-up call. They were more interested in the bribes they’d receive and in supporting themselves rather than relying on God and teaching truth. I know the struggle, even today, for pastors leading churches and feeling like their hands are tied when “big donors” expect their own agendas will be recognized, even when the good of the congregation is the other direction. Interesting comparison.
Have you had the experience of reading a Bible passage, being completely certain the Holy Spirit gave you a message loud and clear, only to hear another’s viewpoint which is not at all the same? It’s like the Holy Spirit had a different message for them. Yet both messages seem relevant, even possible.
That just happened to me on this passage with my husband, David. You’ll recall he did his doctoral dissertation on the coherence of the Book of Micah, so I wasn’t surprised we may have had a different take. I was thrilled he shared with me several books from well-respected scholars displaying our respective messages. I had no idea Bible scholars had written such differing opinions so openly and with such authority. It was exhilarating! The Spirit inside me was overjoyed, too!
Micah doesn’t just proclaim God’s words as a monologue, but he engages with the people. I don’t know about you, but I often picture our Biblical prophets walking through the streets or standing on rooftops calling out God’s proclamations.
The people are clearly in denial. They can’t imagine that what Micah is talking about involves them. It’s ludicrous! There must be some mistake. Do these people even know God? If they did, wouldn’t their faith tradition cause them to act differently?
We still see some of these very same sins in our day, don’t we? Striving for power often leads to manipulation, fraud, and violence. This is not new to our times. It might not even look that much different. The bottom line is that evil is still alive and well. Even though centuries have passed, the evil one is still using the same tricks to lure and engage his subjects.
I can truthfully say that I have laid awake at night on numerous occasions. However, I have never schemed against another. In those nights of tossing and turning, I’m usually extremely excited about something about to happen (like a trip to see family) or distraught over a situation that is really outside of my control, but for some reason I want to take it back rather than leaving it in God’s hands.
Micah is not bringing news of great joy. His predictions of the Lord’s coming do not call for a triumphant entry full of praise. God’s anger toward his people was burning bright, and we are given a glimpse at the path the conquerors will take in destroying the land of Israel and Judah.
Micah is beside himself with grief. Israel is where it will all begin, but his own homeland in the southern kingdom is not secure. Micah uses such descriptive language to describe his own emotional state. “I will mourn and lament. I will walk around barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl.” Have you had a time in your life when you have felt so desperate? How did you get through that time?