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Micah 6:6-8 1
6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 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_image096Background

Micah is a shortened form of Micaiah. He was:

  • The son of Merib-baal (Mephibosheth), 1 Chr. 8:34, 35.
  • The first in rank of the priests of the family of Kohathites (1 Chr. 23:20).
  • A descendant of Joel the Reubenite (1 Chr. 5:5).
  • “The Morasthite,” so called to distinguish him from Micaiah, the son of Imlah (1 Kings 22:8). He was a prophet of Judah, a contemporary of Isaiah (Micah 1:1), a native of Moresheth of Gath (1:14, 15). Very little is known of the circumstances of his life (comp. Jer. 26:18, 19).

The Book of Micah is the sixth in order of the so-called Minor Prophets. The book consists of three sections, each commencing with a rebuke, “Hear ye,” etc., and closing with a promise, (1) ch. 1; 2; (2) ch. 3-5, especially addressed to the princes and heads of the people; (3) ch. 6-7, in which Jehovah is represented as holding a controversy with his people: the whole concluding with a song of triumph at the great deliverance which the Lord will achieve for his people. The closing verse is quoted in the song of Zacharias (Luke 1:72, 73). The prediction regarding the place “where Christ should be born,” one of the most remarkable Messianic prophecies (Micah 5:2), is quoted in Matt. 2:6.

There are the following references to this book in the New Testament: Micah 5:2, with Matt. 2:6; John 7:42. 7:6, with Matt. 10:21, 35-36. 7:20, with Luke 1:72-73.

Biblical Truths

While we do not know much of the man, Micah, his influence on the Jewish people was widespread. One hundred years after his prophecies, the elders of Judah quote Micah to validate the legitimacy of Jeremiah’s ministry [Jeremiah 26:18]. Seven hundred years after his prophecies, the wise men from the East came to King Herod and asked him where the King of the Jews was to be born. The scribes of Jerusalem responded to this inquiry by quoting Micah 5:2, and stating that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem [Matthew 2:2-6].

Micah puts the blame for the idolatry and moral evil of the day squarely on the leadership in Samaria and Jerusalem. Micah lists the evil of the leaders in Chapter 3: They are unjust (v. 1), they take bribes (v. 11), they are lovers of evil (v. 2), they exploit the people (v. 2-3). This cruelty and inhumane treatment of the people is described very graphically to demonstrate their extreme evil. The leaders of Israel and Judah lack mercy, justice, and humility. The religious leaders of the day are also condemned for their corruption. They too accept bribes, teaching and divining according to what the people want to hear (v. 11). The people want to hear is that all is well (v. 5).

In chapter 7, Micah bemoans the lack of Godly leadership, and reiterates the extreme evil of the day: You can trust no one. Even your friends (v.. 5) and your family (v. 6) will betray you for their dishonest gain. The only one left who can be trusted is God.

Micah 6 describes how the LORD has taught the people the right thing to do. He begins by challenging the people to prove that God has unjustly accused them. Then He shows how God led them from Egypt and taught them His ways, “that you may know the righteousness of the LORD.”[Micah 6:5] So how should the people respond (v. 6)? One possible response is proposed: burnt offerings and sacrifices. And sacrifices not just of calves and rams, but even the first born! But God is not interested in sacrifice. God is looking at our character, not our willingness to sacrifice.

Micah condemns the leaders of Israel and Judah for their lack of justice, their cruelty to their fellow man, and their prideful arrogance. Their heart attitude was exactly opposite of the characteristics that God requires of man to avoid punishment. This verse serves as Micah’s call to repentance, a repentance that will result in redemption and restoration.

After the people are rid of their idolatry, the Messianic kingdom will come. In Micah 5:2-5a and 7:14-20 we see some of the character of the Messiah. His leadership is a stark contrast to the corrupt and immoral leadership of Micah’s day. The Messiah is described in verse 5:4 as a shepherd who cares for His flock: Micah 7:14 describe God himself as a shepherd to His people who is full of mercy and compassion. This becomes our picture of God’s character: the faithful shepherd who delights in mercy and love. When we walk humbly with our God, he is faithful to shower us with mercy. Then he guides us like a shepherd.

Items for Discussion

  • The first requirement God has for us is to do justice. As believers, we are to stand on the side of justice. We are called not only to do justice, but also to love kindness. We need to stand on the side of the oppressed, the poor, and the needy. How do you balance obedience to God with what we saw in New Orleans from Katrina? Starving, the sick, the dying, looting, rape and murder.
  • How would you help the helpless?
  • Who do you hold accountable?
  • How would you stop the lawlessness with justice and loving kindness?
  • What does walking with God mean to you?
  • What is humility before God?

 

Romans 12:9-13
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Background

The Epistle to the Romans was written to Christians residing in the city of Rome (1:7, 15). Rome was the center of the Empire and was ethnically diverse. In the first century AD it had a population of around one million people in an area less than ten square miles. Of this large population, it is estimated that there was between 40,000 and 50,000 Jews in the city. The Jewish population dates back to the second century BC as part of the Diaspora. In AD 64 there was a large fire in Rome that led Nero to expulse the Jews. This also resulted in the first major persecution of the Church.

Biblical Truths

Verse 9. Love must be sincere-Proceeding now to speak of particular duties; Paul begins with love, which is the bond of perfection. Hence Paul declares here, that love is no other but that which is free from deception: and any one may easily see within himself, whether he has anything in the recesses of his heart which is opposed to love. Evil is to be taken for that malicious wickedness by which an injury is done to men; and good for that kindness, by which help is rendered to them.

Verse 10. In brotherly love-We ought to embrace one another: for Paul calls it brotherly, and its emotion (storgh) affection, which, among the Romans, is the mutual affection which exists between relatives; and is what we should have towards all children of God.

Verse 11. Never lacking in zeal-This is given to us, not only because a Christian life ought to be an active life; but because we should be challenged to overlook our own benefit, and to spend our labors in behalf of others. In a word, we ought to work so hard as to forget ourselves so that we remain in service for Christ.

By adding spiritual fervor, he shows how we are to attain the zeal; we are always in need of goals; and it is only the fervency of the Spirit that can correct our lack of zeal. Diligence in doing good requires the zeal which the Spirit of God kindles in our hearts.

Verse 12. Be joyful in hope-Three things are connected together; he who derives his joy from the hope of future life, and patiently bears affliction stimulates us to prayer.

Verse 13. Sharing with God’s people in need-Paul returns to the duties of love; the most important of which is to help those from whom we expect the least in return. Hospitality is not a small act of love; that is, kindness and generosity that is shown towards strangers. The more neglected any one is by men, the more attentive we ought to be to his wants.

Paul commands us to assist especially the saints: for though our love ought to extend itself to the whole race of man, it ought with peculiar feeling, embrace the fellow Christians, who are by a closer bond united to us.

Items for Discussion

  • Is our nation loving enough to overcome disasters such as Katrina?
  • Is our nation more divisive or less divisive today than when you were born? Why?
  • How do you respond to the hateful rhetoric of some of our governmental leaders?
  • Are love and compassion a prerequisite for leadership?
  • What is your list of top ten items for everyday living? Please share with everyone

Discussion Challenge

  • What will your church’s response be to a Katrina-like disaster?

Additional Study Notes on Love

  1. Love is greater than faith and hope because love is eternal, while faith and hope are temporal (see 1 Corinthians 13:8-13). Because that which God has promised cannot presently be seen, faith and hope are necessary in this life. But when the perfect comes, when our Lord returns and we are living eternally in His presence, we will no longer need faith, for we shall see Him and experience all that He has promised. Our hope will be fulfilled. Our love for Him, however, will last for all eternity, inspiring our worship and service in His presence.
  2. Love is the appropriate response to God’s love and grace, in Christ (see Luke 7:42, 47).
  3. Love is the great commandment and one of the distinguishing marks of a true disciple of our Lord (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:33; Luke 6:27-36; John 13:35; 15:12-13).
  4. Love facilitates and contributes to Christian unity (John 17:20-26; Colossians 2:2; 3:14).
  5. Love is the lubricant which greatly reduces the friction which can build up between us and others (Ephesians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:8).
  6. Love is a key motive for our obedience to our Lord’s commands (John 14:15, 21, 23, 24; 15:10; 21:15-17; 1 John 5:2; 2 John 1:16).
  7. Love is a stabilizing factor in our lives (Ephesians 3:17).
  8. Love is the goal of Paul’s teaching as it should be the goal of all Christian teaching (1 Timothy 1:5).
  9. Love is the one command which encompasses all aspects of our Christian life (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 16:14).
  10. Love makes our service more profitable to others and to us (1 Corinthians 8:1; 13:1-13).
  11. Love is a key element in our defenses against Satan’s attacks and devices (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
  12. Our love can and should be constantly growing (Philippians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 10:24; 2 Peter 1:7).
  13. Our love can grow cold, especially in difficult times (Matthew 24:12; Revelation 2:4).

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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