1-4 Micah's historical timeframe--did he only prophesy about Judah? What are Samaria and Jerusalem? The capital cities of Israel, the northern kingdom, and Judah, the southern kingdom, so used to refer to that kingdom. Who does he address? Why does he address the whole world? What are the high places, 3? Idol worship often took place on high places, so God is speaking to them about their idolatry. 3-4 could be poetically speaking of God’s power over the earth; how do we also see an allusion to the tribulation? He will tell them of an invasion to come, but God inspires Micah to use language that also speaks of the distant future. Many prophecies speak to both a near and distant future, to a partial fulfillment and a later complete fulfillment.
5-7 Why does he speak to Jacob? That name is used of Israel; what happened that involved wrestling with the angel of the Lord? Gen. 32:28. Why will these things happen? Who is guilty? What was their rebellion? So even though Micah addresses all the people of the earth, is he prophesying against them? So why is he addressing them, 2?
8-16 What do barefoot and naked speak of, as well as 16, making themselves bald? Outward signs of mourning. Not completely naked--no outer garment. In the Hebrew, each of these names and his comments are a biting play on words. What are some key words we can pick out, in 12, 13, 14? And what will be the outcome for them, 16?
1-2 He is talking to people in power, how they scheme, what they do--will they get by with it? Do we ever scheme on our beds, lie awake thinking about how to get back at someone who has hurt us? What should we do instead? 2, what are they guilty of besides idolatry?
3-5 Does God just allow calamity to occur, and then figure out how to use it for His purposes? Sometimes He brings judgment through calamity; are all calamities for judgment, and should we be trying to figure out why various calamities happened? Luke 13:4. Rom. 8:28, does anything “just happen,” for no particular reason? If everything happens for a reason, is God controlling everything that happens? Even if calamities are not for judgment, do they have a purpose for everyone involved, that God has planned? Tribulations serve His purpose. Why do we accept things a doctor does to us that hurt and are inconvenient, and even pay him to do that?
How will they reap what they have sown, comparing 4-5 to 2? God will remove THEIR land from them; who will get it? The heathen. So what coming event does this speak of? Captivity to a foreign nation. They used the lot to determine boundaries--measuring lines--of their lands. All through the Bible we find God dispensing justice through the concept of sowing and reaping.
"On that day" refers to when? When that judgment falls. But it is also a phrase used in prophecy to often refer to the future day of the Lord, which is what? The end times--it includes both the tribulation and the millenium. Also "that day," "the day," "in that day." So we can see this prophecy as a picture of a larger future judgment to come--the day of wrath. What is the church promised, I Thes. 5:9, Rev. 3:10? Before the tribulation will be the rapture of the church.
6-11 Micah spoke of judgment to come--did the people want to hear that message? All through the Bible we read of false prophets--what would a false prophet be? What kind of message? From God? Whose strategy is this? Is it effective? So people were telling the true prophet not to speak but were encouraging and listening to false prophets, 6-7. What similar scenario do we have today? What does Joel Osteen preach? What does he not preach? Why? Does he use the Bible, and talk about Jesus? Why is his church large?
What else do the rich and powerful in Israel do, 8, 9? Because they have done this to people, what will they have to do, 10? Those things will also be taken from them. How do we see God's sarcasm in 11?
12-13 But Micah also speaks of blessing to come, in Israel's future.
1-4 Chapters 1-2 were addressed to the whole world, and spoke of how enemy nations would witness what God would do to His people, allowing other nations to take Israel captive. Now who is addressed? What are they like? How does the picture of the hunter apply? So what will happen to them? So what is one reason God does not answer prayers?
5-8 Now who is spoken of? They only give nice messages when what? They are fed: money! 6-7, so what will happen to them? But wait--their messages don't even come from God, but from who? So what is this saying? Is God able to keep false prophets and diviners from hearing even their false and occult messages? Even their fake messages will dry up! God is sovereign over all! But who will still speak God's truth? What does the Holy Spirit do for believers--Old Testament and New? Acts 1:8. He came upon certain people in the Old Testament to empower them to do what God had called them to do, but in the church age, He permanently indwells all believers.
9-12 Is much different today? Even the end of 11, don't many feel this way about our country? 12 is what awaits Israel--Jerusalem the capital, located on Mt. Zion, where the temple is. They will be ruined--why.
1-5 A change of message. What is the time clue? Jerusalem is on a hill; what will happen to this mountain at that time? Zech. 14:4,8, it will be split and a river will run through it. Also, we have seen that mountains are sometimes used symbolically to refer to what? Nations. So what might this be saying about Israel in the millenial kingdom? Will the earth still be filled with war? What symbols often speak of Israel, 4?
6-8 In what day? Compare 1; this phrase often means the day of the Lord, which includes both the tribulation and the millenium.
9-13 Just as Micah prophesied of the northern kingdom, Israel, being taken captive by Assyria, so he prophesies that Judah, the southern kingdom, will be taken captive by Babylon, over 100 years before it happens. That is the near-term partial fulfillment of this prophecy, but what is the context of this chapter? So we see the tribulation, then their rescue, when what is taking place, 11? 12, who is "they"? Who will win, 13? How can we know this is speaking of the distant future and not Israel at that time? Did Israel do this to Babylon when they were taken into captivity?
1-6 This is a prophecy of who? Does it speak of His first or second coming? The Old Testament prophesies the events and purposes of both, yet God did not reveal to the prophets that two separate comings were in view. So when Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, what did the Jews expect and hope--even the disciples? Why were they so excited and happy at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem the Sunday before Easter? What would they have thought when He was arrested and executed? From the Old Testament vantage point, they did not understand that the Messiah must come two different times to accomplish God's purposes. But both comings are prophesied here.
In what way will the Messiah be different from other men, 2? Where else is this foretold? Isa. 9:6, 7:14, 43:14-15, Mal. 3:1, Psa. 110:1. What other important fact are we told in 2? What is He called in 1? in 2? in 4? in 5? What is spoken of in 1 that we know actually happens after 2? So in 1 and 2 we have His birth and death.
3, "He will give them up": what does this speak of, that has been made clear in the Old Testament prophets? A setting aside of Israel--permanent or temporary? Some Christians believe permanently, and that the church is now spiritual Israel and inherits all the promises made to Israel. But what do we learn from "until”? It is temporary. The New Testament tells us what God is doing during the time that Israel is set aside, which is what? The church. 3 says He gives them up until what happens? Did God fulfill His promises to Israel when Christ was born? So when does He, according to the second half of 3, "then," through 5? The scattered Jews will return to their land, where some of them already are, and the second coming takes place, followed by the promised kingdom.
Who is "she who is in labor," 3? Who is the child? IS this fulfilled "when she who is in labor has borne a child"--at His birth, His first coming? So what is the explanation for verse 3? What did we already note about prophecies of the Messiah--did the prophets know that there would be two comings? Compare Mic. 4:9-10, Mat. 24:8, Rev. 12:1-5. So the result of the labor, the birth pains, the birth process, is what? Not just the birth of baby Jesus, but the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel, which is what? The kingdom, freedom from enemy nations, the golden age of their nation, ruled over by their righteous Messiah.
He will bring what, 5? Did He bring it at His first coming? Or did He? National, military peace? When God was dealing with Israel, He promised physical blessings for obedience; now that they are temporarily set aside, He is dealing with the church and has promised us what kind of blessings? Spiritual. So did He bring peace? Inner peace for each individual believer. World peace will happen after His second coming, not before.
"Seven and eight" reminds us of similar wording in Rev. 17:9-11, or may be another example of using two numbers to emphasize the last one, such as in Job 5:19, Prov. 6:16. What will these seven and eight do? Is that what the seven and eight do in Rev. 17? So the second option seems more likely. Who were the Assyrians? Israel's enemy, a brutal people that eventually took the northern kingdom into captivity. We associate the land of Nimrod with Babel, Babylon; who ruled that area before Babylon became a world empire? Assyria. Was Israel delivered from Assyria when they attacked? Did "He" deliver them at that time? This chapter speaks of the endtimes; Assyria is no longer a nation, so who might this be referring to in the endtimes? Brutal attackers of Israel? Powers from the region that was once Assyria, the land of Nimrod? Is "the Assyrian" a reference to the Beast, as some think? Could all those be in view? So apparently these seven and eight are individuals who will arise within Israel at the time they are delivered from "the Assyrian." So some think this speaks of 15 Israeli leaders in the endtimes, and some think eight.
7-15 What clues do we find here that speak of the endtimes? Have 8-9 ever happened yet? What two time clues do we find in 7 and 10? "Then" and "in that day," a phrase often used in reference to the day of the Lord. Who is "the remnant of Jacob"? The righteous of Israel who enter the kingdom and begin to repopulate the nation. 8 speaks of the beasts and the lion; what does this remind us of in Daniel? What are some of the things that will take place at that time? In 10-15, is God speaking to Israel or to the nations?
1-5 Why would God want the hills and mountains to listen to this? Literal mountains, or the nations? These symbols are used many times; this is why we wonder in Revelation if mountains are literal or figurative (or both). What do we learn from God's questions, 3? Is this similar to asking Jonah if he had a right to be angry? What does this tell us about Israel's mindset, or their nature? Do they even remember what God has done for them? Do we ever fall into this trap?
6-8 Does God not want them to sacrifice? How does God feel about outward acts that are not an expression of your inner self? Does child sacrifice prove how serious they were about their devotion? They were to redeem their firstborn but not as the pagans did. 8 is frequently used by secular humanists--what is their religion? Just Do Good. They do not compare this verse with the rest of the Bible, which says we are saved by faith not works, by the shedding of blood. Is it possible for an unbeliever to do these things? Rom. 3:12, 8:5-9. So how can we fulfill this verse? John 14:6. Does God value outward rituals? Rather, what? "Bow," 6: again we find the correlation of worship, bow down, sacrifice.
9-12 Where do these things take place, 9, 12? So now God is no longer speaking of false religion but of what aspect of their lives? Corruption in business. "The city" is used to speak of this in other places also, like Isa. 23-24.
This chapter, like much of Scripture, can be understood on several levels: partial fulfillment to Israel under the Law in Micah’s day, application to us in the church age, and complete fulfillment in the future, in the endtimes.
What is going on in Israel in Micah's day? Evil was rampant, 1-6. Is he speaking of Israel's sinfulness in their idolatry, in not following God, or is he speaking of the evil of the enemy oppressing them? Maybe both, but he speaks in 8, 10, of who? Who is speaking in 7-8? Those who believe. 9-13, why is this happening? What did they know about God?
What does the vine and fig tree speak of, 2? Israel; what does God expect Israel to produce? What does fruit speak of? Instead, what is Israel like, 2-6? 8, so God has sent who? Why, 9? They are reaping what they sowed. What time words in 9 and 10 tell us God has not rejected Israel forever? What will God then be like to Israel, 14-19? Why, 20?
But have the things promised in 10-19 actually taken place? In part, now and then, when Israel returned to the Lord. But not really, so that tells us this must still be fulfilled in the future.
What in 1-6 speaks of what we already know about the tribulation? Woe, the godly have perished, no upright person, lying in wait, hunting people, evil in high places, the day, punishment coming, confusion, treachery of family and friends against the righteous. Deception and evil will be rampant under the Beast.
Who do we see in 7-8? Those of Israel who come to believe. 9, they finally realize what? Their sin, their Messiah. What key words do we see in 9-11? How do we know that "on that day" speaks of the endtimes, 10-11? Israel will finally possess all the land that God promised. How do 14-17 speak of the endtimes? How do 18-20? What do we know about the Abrahamic covenant? Why would God honor it after all their disobedience? Was it a conditional or an unconditional promise? Where is it found? Gen. 12:1-3.
This chapter speaks both of Israel's history and her future, but is there application to us in the church age? The Christian is also to produce what, 1? Do we live in a time of unparalleled evil? Who is our enemy? What is our attitude to be, 7-8? Are some of our trials the result of our own sinfulness? Are all troubles the result of man's first sin? When will all that change? How are we encouraged by 18-20? How does understanding Israel's history and future impact our understanding of God and of the Bible?
Copyright 2020 Jan Young
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