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Mica 6:7-8 1
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

clip_image111Background

The active ministry of Micah may well have covered a period of some 50 years. “Sources differ on time frames but generally place it between 725-710 BC, during the reign of King Jotham.

The name Micah is a shortened form of Micaiah which means “Who is like unto the Lord?” The longer form of this name appears (In the Hebrew text) in Jeremiah 26:18. In Micah 7:18 a word play is made on his name. “Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?”

Micah was from the town of Moresheth (Micah 1:1), which was near Gath (Micah 1:14), which was about 25 miles SW of Jerusalem. This was a productive agricultural area on the border of Judah and Philistia. Through this area the armies and commercial caravans frequently passed, as it was the main road to the Maritime Plain and to Egypt. “Because of this, the young prophet had opportunities to learn of big events taking place in his time 2. “

Nothing is known of his family or home life. However, like Amos (whose hometown of Tekoa was just 17 miles away), Micah was a man of the country. “From his book one can surmise that Micah lived close to both the people and the soil and possessed a keen sympathy for both. Moresheth was sufficiently detached from Jerusalem to produce men of courage and independence of thought” (Homer Hailey). “His father’s name is not given, and we conclude that his family was of humble origin” (Gleason Archer).

Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and Amos and Hosea. Some have even speculated that he might have been a student of the prophet Isaiah — there are certainly several similarities in their two prophetic books (Isaiah 2:2-4 and Micah 4:1-3 are almost identical).

Biblical Truths

A great deal of Micah’s message may well fall within the time of King Ahaz. “The corrupt and idolatrous conditions reflected throughout the book may be related to the low ebb of morality and religious interest during the days of Ahaz 3. “ “Socially and morally, Judah presented a dark picture.” The wealthy coveted the land of the people around them (Micah 2:1-2). They robbed the poor (Micah 2:8f). Corrupt business ethics were practiced (Micah 6:11). There were numerous false prophets (Micah 2:11) who prophesied for reward (Micah 3:11). The priests also taught for a price (Micah 3:11). Rulers and judges could be bribed (Micah 7:3).

“Stemming from the poorer, working class, Micah was acutely aware of the injustices and avarice of the rich. While he was interested in the political affairs of his nation, it was only as they were connected with the religious and moral situation that Micah spoke to them. 4” Micah wants the people to realize that true faith in God results in personal holiness and social justice! He emphasizes the integral relationship between true spirituality and social ethics 5. “Worship and morality cannot be divorced from each other.

Micah realizes that no multitude of sacrifices can adequately be substituted for righteousness in practice. The people have been professing much and performing little. ‘God has been observing the contradiction between creed and conduct,’ says the prophet, ‘and He will not tolerate it anymore.'” Micah is also the first to point to Bethlehem as the city from which the Messiah would come (Micah 5:2).

Items for Discussion

  • How will the world know that someone is walking humbly with their God?
  • In what way is Micah drawing a contrast?
  • Finally, in what way is Micah’s message the cornerstone of Christianity’s message today?

 

Luke 7:36-50
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Background

There were 12 apostles but Luke was not a member of the original group, he like Paul came later. This original group consisted of Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the Less, Simon and Judas. Luke was the writer of the third, and longest, Gospel. He seemed to have been the most formally-educated of the four Gospel writers, with perhaps the greatest sense for historic detail and history. While not a great amount is known of Luke personally, we are told that he was a doctor, a fellow-worker with Paul and that he alone stayed in support of Paul at the end – Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:11, shortly before his being martyred in Rome, that “only Luke is with me.” Luke was obviously a very brave, loyal and faithful man.

Some believe that Luke was from Antioch, due to his numerous familiar mentions of it in his writing. He apparently later lived in Philippi. Luke may well have been a Greek, and was almost certainly a Gentile. One account states that he died of old age, while another says that he was hanged in an olive tree in Greece. Many scholars that because Luke echoes the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, it was probably written sometime after 70 A.D. (Luke 13:35a; 19:41-44; 21:6, 20-24; 23:29-31).

Biblical Truths

These passages in Luke are similar to another story of Jesus being anointed by a woman, and are often confused with it. The other story is of Jesus’ anointing at Bethany near the end of his ministry (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-11; John 12:1-10).

The two events are confused easily because of several similarities:

Jesus is anointed with expensive perfume

He is anointed by a woman

The anointing takes place in the house of a man named Simon

But the differences between the stories show that our passages in Luke 7:36-50 are really a different incident from that found in Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-11; John 12:1-10. The anointing at Bethany differs in that:

  • It takes place at the home of Simon the Leper, not Simon the Pharisee.
  • The woman doing the anointing at Bethany is not spoken of as sinful, but actually appears to be Mary, Lazarus’ sister.
  • The meaning of the anointing at Bethany is to prefigure Jesus’ burial.
  • The anointing is on the head (Matthew and Mark) and the feet (John)
  • The criticism is by disciples, especially Judas, over the value of the perfume that is “wasted,” rather than as the criticism of the morals of the woman doing the anointing.
  • Jesus compares Simon’s acts as a host to the sinful woman’s acts of love.

Simon’s Acts versus the Sinful Woman’s Acts

  • The woman had no water to wash feet so she washed Jesus’ feet with tears, wiped with her hair
  • While Simon gave no kiss of welcome, the woman kissed Jesus’feet continually
  • Simon had no scented olive oil for his guest’s hair but the woman poured perfume on His feet

Jesus’ point isn’t hard to guess. Simon’s actions have shown little love, while the sinful woman has lavished love upon Jesus. Now building upon his brief parable, Jesus turns the object from love to forgiveness.

Items for Discussion

  • How did Simon see the woman and how did Jesus see the woman?
  • Compare Simon’s motives for seeking Christ out against those of the woman’s?
  • Why did Jesus let her continue, since by all appearances what she was doing was scandalous?

Discussion Challenges

  • Who are today’s prophets? What are their messages?
  • Are modern Christians more like Simon or the woman?
Additional Study Notes

Items for Discussion from Micah

  • How will the world know that someone is walking humbly with their God?
    • They will know by the way they treat people.
    • Those who walk humbly with their God have a passionate concern for justice being done in society.
    • They have a deep concern about treating people lovingly and mercifully.
  • In what way is Micah drawing a contrast?
    • Micah is contrasting the reasonableness, purity and justice of what our God requires of us against our ingratitude, injustice and superstition which is the cause of our ruin.”
    • Finally, in what way is Micah’s message the cornerstone of Christianity’s message today?
    • It denounces the people for theirs sins and failures.
    • It promises a restoration in the future.
    • But is linked by a confession of sin from the people (7:8-10).

Items for Discussion from Luke

  • How did Simon see the woman and how did Jesus see the woman?
    • Simon’s views were colored by past interpretations and knowledge about the woman. He could never move beyond his initial interpretations.
    • Jesus saw her in need, offering repentance and seeking redemption. He moved very much beyond any initial interpretation. Jesus saw her love.
  • Compare Simon’s motives for seeking Christ out and the woman’s?
    • Simon was curious about Jesus and probably not a believer.
    • The woman was seeking salvation weeping on her knees wiping the feet of our Christ.
  • Why did Jesus let her continue, since by all appearances what she was doing was scandalous?
    • It is the very nature and character of our Lord to seek those who would place themselves at His feet in perfect humility.

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Hester, The Heart of Hebrew History
  3. Schultz, The Old Testament Speaks
  4. Zondervan’s Pictorial Encyclopedia
  5. Expanded Open Bible
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