Micah Chapter Six


Read Micah 6:1-5 – God’s Controversy – Judah’s Rebellion


v.1-21Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. 2Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.”


            God has now completed the prophet’s account of the kingdom of Christ and the Messiah, himself, that is to come.  Consequently he turns again to their sins and directs them to hear the charges that he is about to bring against them, by which He will judge them.  We saw very similar language in the book of Hosea just completed:


Hosea 4:1Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.


Hosea 12:22The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.”


            So God is calling to the remnant of Israel, Judah, to hear his judgments and he calls the earth and the mountains to serve as witnesses of His judgment and the righteousness of his punishment of their sins.  We find similar language in a psalm of Asaph:




v.3O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.”


            Now, following the analogy of the book of Hosea, God asks much the same questions that a man or woman might ask of an unfaithful spouse.  Why?  What have I done to you that would cause your unfaithfulness?  What do you have against me?  Why have you grown weary of me and gone to seek another?  Why do you let your actions stand as a testimony against me after all that I have done for you?


v.4For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.”


            Now the prophet begins to reiterate some of the blessings that God gave Judah.  First of all he brought them out of Egypt:


Exodus 12:50-51Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 51And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.”


God redeemed them from slavery:


Exodus 20:2 “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”


When God led them into the Wilderness of Sinai he did not leave them leaderless to wander as lost sheep but gave them prophets; the Chaldean version of the original text adds the words “three prophets” after the names of Moses, Aaron and Miriam.  Of course we know that Moses was the first and great prophet of the Old Testament but so was Aaron:


Exodus 7:1And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.”


And Miriam was a prophetess:


Exodus 15:20And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.”


v.5O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.”


            The prophet continues to remind Judah of God’s care and blessings throughout their generations.  Balak the king of Moab was prepared to wage war against this horde of people coming out of Egypt:


Numbers 22:55He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:”


Through the protection that God provided, the Moabites did not disturb Israel and eventually “…BALAK ALSO WENT HIS WAY”. (Numbers 24:25)  Joshua reminds Israel of God’s protection in:


Joshua 24:9-109Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: 10But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.

When they served him faithfully, God through his righteousness protected his people from all of their enemies, cared for them and provided for their well-being.  But now they have rejected and abandoned him.


Read Micah 6:6-9 – God’s Controversy – Judah’s Ignorance


            Because they had rebelled, God asks:


v.6Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?”


            The people of Judah were doing much the same as multitudes of people do today.  They go to “church”, place before God their sacrifice of praise, perhaps even an appropriate sacrifice of their prosperity and then live the rest of the week as they choose.  They have little or no thought about God, their relationship with God or their obligation to the Father until next Sunday morning.

            The prophet asks the question; is this what God wants, will this attitude and ritualistic worship please Him?  We who are here know the answer to that question; He will not.  He continues:


v.7Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”


            “WILL THE LORD BE PLEASED…” with this multitude of sacrifices; we know the answer, NO he will not.  We learned from the words of Samuel as he chastised King Saul:


I Samuel 15:22-23And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”


The psalm given by David in repentance for his sin with Bathsheba also gives us the answer:




Then the prophet asks the question:  “SHALL I GIVE MY FIRSTBORN”?  What I he talking about?  It was common practice among their Canaanite neighbors and among the Israelites when they adopted their religion to sacrifice their children to their gods.  So he asks does this kind of “ultimate” sacrifice please God?  This is what God said about Ahaz, one of the kings of Judah during the time of Micah:


I Kings 16:3  But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.”


This was an abomination that God hated, it was the shedding of innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17).  So what does God want from mankind?


v.88He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?


            God “HATH SHOWED THEE, O MAN WHAT is GOOD…” and then Micah says that God wants man to “DO JUSTLY”, “LOVE MERCY” and “WALK HUMBLY WITH THY GOD”.  We receive this same message in other parts of God’s revelation.  First from Moses:


Deuteronomy 10:12-13And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?


From Isaiah:


Isaiah 1:17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”


And from Hosea:


Hosea 6:6  For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”


v.99The LORD’S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.”


            Micah characterizes his message as the voice of the Lord crying unto the city of Jerusalem.  He calls upon the man who is wise to hear and heed God’s commandments and God’s words; to know who is appointing them, who will bring retribution upon them when they are rejected.  What is the beginning of wisdom?


Proverbs 9:10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”


Read Micah 6:10-15 – God’s Controversy – Judah’s Injustice


v.10Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?”


            The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.  The Judeans claimed to fear God, held on to the fact that they were God’s chosen people, above all others but their manner of living made them liars of the highest order.  Much of the bounty they enjoyed, their wealth, came from wicked and unethical business practices.  They were cheats, liars, covenant breakers, sharp dealers, always seeking to gain the advantage.  Their scant measure was an abomination to God.  They were not like what my father taught me.  He demanded, fill that sack full, shake it down, leave just enough top to tie it closed, give full measure and then mound it up.  Can you imagine God accepting an offering that was gained through wicked means?  I can’t, yet Judah made such offerings and so do people today.


v.11Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?”


            He asks through the prophet a question that is totally rhetorical, He knew the answer, they knew the answer and we today knew the answer as well.  “SHALL I COUNT them PURE” who gain their living with “WICKED BALANCES” and “DECEITFUL WEIGHTS?”  God’s commandment couldn’t have been clearer:


Leviticus 19:35-37Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.”


v.12 “For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.” 


            Men had made themselves rich at the expense of others, they were jealous of their wealth and had degenerated to the point were they would not only use violence to keep it but also to add to it.  In their business dealings they used lies to their advantage.  I learned two things in the business I was in during the last several years.  First of all if you are negotiating with an oriental company, especially the Japanese they do not count it a shame to lie.  It is a normal, completely acceptable business practice.  The only way for shame to come of it was for them to be exposed.  Secondly it was very easy to tell when a large percentage of the people I dealt with were lying to me.  It was literally any time their lips were moving.  The deceitfulness in Judah’s business, their government and literally even the common man on the street was part of the reason for their downfall, and it will be ours as well.


v.13Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.


            “THEREFORE”!  We have the sin exposed now comes the promise of punishment, the consequences that God is going to bring upon Judah.  Now God tells them he will bring precisely what he had promised them in his covenant.


Leviticus 26:14-16But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 15And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 16I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.”


v.14Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.”


            In his covenant with the Israelite nation God had promised them certain things would take place if they abandoned him, if they ignored his commandments.  God had promised them:


Leviticus 26:23-24And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; 24Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.”


Leviticus 26:25-26And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.”


v.15Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.”


            Again, during the giving of the Mosaic Law and the repeating of it in Deuteronomy Moses reminds the Israelite nation of these warnings from God.


Deuteronomy 28:15But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:”


And part of these curses included:


Deuteronomy 28:38-4038Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. 39Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. 40Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.”


Both Israel, the northern kingdom, and Judah, the southern kingdom, had done exactly as God had warned not to do.  Consequently the prophet is given the responsibility of bringing to God’ people the fact that God will keep his promises and bring these curses upon them.


Read Micah 6:16 – God’s Controversy – Judah’s Idolatry


v.16For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.”


            According to the time line established by James Ussher, a renowned scholar who was an Anglican Archbishop who lived between 1581 and 1656, about 200 years have passed since Omri and his son Ahab ruled the northern kingdom of Israel.


I Kings 16:25But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.”


So the influence of the works of Omri and then added to that all of the works of Ahab, the son of Omri, and presumably the influence of Jezebel remained among, not only in the northern kingdom, but was also now manifested in Judah.  We find that Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, who ruled Judah after Israel was destroyed by Assyria:


II Kings 21:3For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.”


As a result Judah will become “A DESOLATION” “THE INHABITANTS THEREOF AN HISSING”.  Any time that God’s people openly and deliberately rebel against God and God punishes them it is a reproach upon them and upon God.  Their enemies will rejoice, others will demean and mock them as being no better than the heathen and sinners around them.  This is the meaning of the hissing and reproach of God’s people that Micah is writing about.

            Is it any different today?  Have you ever had anyone you were trying to reach with the gospel tell you “the people in my church are just as good as those in yours.”  Have you ever had someone you were trying to teach that a brother or sister in Christ was a hypocrite because of their business dealings or in some of the things that they do?  Did these people refuse to listen to the gospel because of their observations and contentions?


William L. Schwegler, Sunset church of Christ, Shreveport, LA, February 1, 2009