Micah first condemns the sins of the powerful people who work out evil schemes in their minds as they lay in their beds at night. When morning comes, they go and carry out their sinful plans simply because they have the power to do it. They take advantage of the powerless, oppressing them by taking their houses and fields. These powerful people have told Micah to keep his mouth shut, but he knows that if he keeps silent the sinful ways will continue, and he feels someone must stand up for those who do what is right.
Next, Micah challenges the nation's leaders and confronts them with their sins. The rulers, referring to the judges, who were supposed to uphold justice, twisted it by taking bribes. The priests, who were called by God to ceremony and sacrifice and to teach the people His law, taught for monetary gain. And the prophets, who were supposed to speak God’s Word and convey His will to the people, “led the people astray”, looking out for their own interests rather than the interests of the people. They “divined for a price.” The word “divined” implies they were involved with magic and the occult, which God had forbidden. Money and power were foremost in the minds of the nation’s leaders.
Micah paints a sorry picture of the society in Israel and Jerusalem in his day (the late 7th and early 6th centuries B.C.) and he makes it clear that judgment is coming. However, his prophecy ends with words of comfort and hope for “the remnant”, those who have bravely stood on the side of God’s law and honored Him. He proclaims the greatest prophecy of all: the coming Deliverer from Bethlehem who will gather and shepherd His sheep. “He will be great to the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace” (5:4-5).
In reading about Micah’s prophecy, it may have reminded you of our world today with corruption in high places and the self-centered greed for power and money. Such attitudes and actions cannot help but have an effect on all of us, but we need not be infected by it and let it poison our lives. We can, and we need to, stand strong as God’s people and we need to live for Him. Micah tells us what God requires of us as His people:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God (6:8)?
And near the end of his prophecy, Micah tells us what he will do:
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me (7:7).
So will you be influenced by the world, or will you be like Micah? As we humbly immerse ourselves in God’s Word and expectantly wait, seeking to live to glorify God, He will hear us. And He gives us hope and comfort in knowing that judgment will come for those who defy Him. When that day comes, as it surely will, it will mean salvation for those who do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.