Micah Bible Study Lessons
“I hate you!” she screams and runs from the room. Words from a child thrown as emotional darts. Perhaps she learned the phrase from Mom and Dad, or maybe it just burst forth from that inner well of “sinful nature.” Whatever the case, hate and love have become society’s bywords, almost tired clichés, tossed carelessly at objects, situations, and even people.
The casual use of such words as love and hate has emptied them of their meaning. We no longer understand statements that describe a loving God who hates sin. So we picture God as gentle and kind—a cosmic pushover, and our concept of what he hates is tempered by our misconceptions and wishful thinking.
The words of the prophets stand in stark contrast to such misconceptions. God’s hatred is real—burning, consuming, and destroying. He hates sin, and he stands as the righteous Judge, ready to mete out just punishment to all who defy his rule. God’s love is also real. So real that he sent his Son, the Messiah, to save and accept judgment in the sinner’s place. Love and hate are together—both unending, irresistible, and unfathomable.
In seven short chapters, Micah presents this true picture of God—the almighty Lord who hates sin and loves the sinner. Much of the book is devoted to describing God’s judgment on Israel (the northern kingdom), on Judah (the southern kingdom), and on all the earth. This judgment will come “because of the rebellion of Israel and the sins of Judah” (1:5). And the prophet lists their despicable sins, including fraud (2:2), theft (2:8), greed (2:9), debauchery (2:11), oppression (3:3), hypocrisy (3:4), heresy (3:5), injustice (3:9), extortion and lying (6:12), murder (7:2), and other offenses. God’s judgment will come.
In the midst of this overwhelming prediction of destruction, Micah gives hope and consolation because he also describes God’s love. The truth is that judgment comes only after countless opportunities to repent, to turn back to true worship and obedience—“to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8). But even in the midst of judgment, God promises to deliver the small minority who have continued to follow him. He states, “Your king will lead you; the LORD himself will guide you” (2:13). The king, of course, is Jesus; and we read in 5:2 that he will be born as a baby in Bethlehem, an obscure Judean village.
As you read Micah, catch a glimpse of God’s anger in action as he judges and punishes sin. See God’s love in action as he offers eternal life to all who repent and believe. And then determine to join the faithful remnant of God’s people, who live according to his will.
Life Application Bible Notes (Tyndale, 2007), 1463.