Profile Of The Prophets - Micah

by Joseph Hunting

Although Micah, a prophet in the Kingdom of Judah, was a man of humble origins living in the small village of Moresheth near the Philistine stronghold of Gath, his prophetic ministry embraced both Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel and spanned from both the immediate, through to the identification of the birth-place of the Messiah and the glories of the Millennial reign of Messiah.

I recall observing first-hand the result of one of Micah's prophecies regarding Samaria. But first, it is interesting to note a reference to Samaria from the book of Kings. Omri, king of Israel "bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria. But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord and did worse than all that were before him" (1 Kings 16:24-25).

One of the things that caught my attention among the many ruins still evident on the hill of Samaria was the pile of huge stones that were once buildings and that had been rolled down the hill and had come to rest in a jumbled heap at the bottom.

In a land where piles of stones are not rare one could miss their significance were it not for Micah's prophecy: "Therefore, I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plants of a vineyard: AND I WILL POUR DOWN THE STONES THEREOF INTO THE VALLEY, and I will discover the foundations thereof" (1:6).

Two hundred years before the event, Micah prophesied the Babylonian captivity with the terrible suffering that was associated with the overthrow of Jerusalem at the time. "Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail, for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, AND THOU SHALT GO EVEN TO BABYLON ..." (4:10).

Eight hundred years before the Roman legions destroyed Jerusalem so utterly that they tried to obliterate any trace of its existence by plowing among the charred ruins, Micah prophesied: "Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps ..." (3:12).

There is a fascinating reference made by Micah to the first advent of Messiah in which he pinpoints Bethlehem-Judah as his birthplace: "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (5:2).

This wonderful event is recorded in newspapers, magazines, receipts and legal documents throughout the world with few exceptions. Even when we write a letter we unconsciously record the day and the year following the birth of the Holy One of Israel in Bethlehem.

Micah foretold a tragic incident during His trial when the Roman soldiers mocked Him and struck Him with a rod upon the head. "They shall strike the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek" (5:1b). Matthew describes the incident in some detail: "And when they had platted a crown of thorns they put it upon His head, and a reed (rod) in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed (rod) and smote Him on the head" (27:29-30).

Micah and Isaiah give an almost identical prophecy that describes the Messianic age of righteousness and peace on earth. Isaiah's prophecy is found in chapter two, verses 1 to 5. Rarely do two prophets speak with one voice as in this instance.

"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow into it.

"And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

"And he shall judge among many people, and shall rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

"But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it" (Micah 4:1-5).

Rarely indeed is the Word of God quoted or even considered to be relevant in the forum of the United Nations. However, on the historic occasion when Israel was admitted to the family of nations in 1949, the then Foreign Minister of Israel, Mr Moshe Sharrett, quoted Micah's prophecy in Hebrew with much feeling.

However, its fulfilment awaits the triumphant return of Israel's Messiah whose name is called, "WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6-7). May that day speedily come!