Read micah 6
The Lord’s Case Against Israel
6 Listen to what the Lord says:
“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;
let the hills hear what you have to say.
2 “Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation;
listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
he is lodging a charge against Israel.
3 “My people, what have I done to you?
How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4 I brought you up out of Egypt
and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
also Aaron and Miriam.
5 My people, remember
what Balak king of Moab plotted
and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”
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 olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, 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.
Israel’s Guilt and Punishment
9 Listen! The Lord is calling to the city—
and to fear your name is wisdom—
“Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.
10 Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house,
and the short ephah, which is accursed?
11 Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales,
with a bag of false weights?
12 Your rich people are violent;
your inhabitants are liars
and their tongues speak deceitfully.
13 Therefore, I have begun to destroy you,
to ruin you because of your sins.
14 You will eat but not be satisfied;
your stomach will still be empty.
You will store up but save nothing,
because what you save I will give to the sword.
15 You will plant but not harvest;
you will press olives but not use the oil,
you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.
16 You have observed the statutes of Omri
and all the practices of Ahab’s house;
you have followed their traditions.
Therefore I will give you over to ruin
and your people to derision;
you will bear the scorn of the nations.”
Micah 6 plays out like a conversation between God and His people, with Micah interjecting in the middle. First, God calls the people to remember that they have been redeemed from slavery in Egypt. Remember that He provided godly leaders to show them the way. Remember their journey from Shittim to Gilgal (the journey across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land). In verses 9-16, God speaks clearly about the sin of the people. He calls them wicked, dishonest, violent liars. He says that they have been observing the statutes of Omri and the practices of Ahab. According to Bible scholar Thomas L. Constable, “This group of kings constituted some of the worst in the history of the Northern Kingdom, largely because of their idolatry and unjust oppression of the weak.” Verse 13 states, “Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sin.” Wow. Let’s recognize from this that God takes sin seriously.
In the middle of the chapter, Micah interjects with one of the most quoted verses of the Old Testament. First, he gives exaggerated examples of offerings the people can bring to God to atone for their sins, including rivers of olive oil and thousands of rams. The law required bringing offerings for the atonement of sin. But they continued to live in sin, thinking that as long as they checked the box of sacrifices and offerings, they could go on living as they pleased. Micah is using hyperbole to show the people that no amount of outward religious practices will make them clean and righteous before God. Then he simply reminds the people that God has already shown them what they are to do: “To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
God is not concerned with checking boxes of religious practices. Psalm 51:16-17 reminds us what God desires from us: “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it: you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” What He’s after is a heart change, evidenced by a change in how we live. He’s already shown us what is good. He’s already told us what He requires. May we trust Him enough to turn from our sin and walk in His ways.
- What is God teaching you through Micah 6?
- Do you feel any rebuke or correction as you read this chapter? If so, confess any sin the Holy Spirit is bringing to light and ask God to show you His way.
- How can Micah 6:8 serve as a form of training in righteousness to equip you for the good work God desires for you to do?
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