Micah prophesied more than 2,700 years ago to an audience which had little interest in hearing that which God would have them hear. The text before us reveals the hearts of them who were far from God in that day. Sadly, the hearts of many of today are as were the hearts of Israel in Micah’s day.
“In that day shall one take up a parable against you” (v. 4). These words were given to Micah by God. What does it mean to take up a parable? A parable is a simple story that tells a whole lot.
The day in which this simple story would be taken up against Israel is revealed in verse 3. It is the day in which the Lord would bring judgment upon them who devise and practice iniquity (v. 1).
“We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people” (v. 4). This is the voice of them who devise and practice iniquity. It is the voice of them who have taken the land of the weak and downtrodden. The voice bemoans that the Lord has taken away the land which it had obtained by exploitation.
Micah uses the judgment to come to tell the simple story that the Lord wanted Israel (and all who would ever read scripture) to hear. The message is simple and clear: Those who cast aside the word of God shall be cast away. In verse 5, Micah prophesies that there shall be none who shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord. What does it mean to cast a cord by lot? It means to be part of the congregation of the Lord. For Israel, it meant possession of the land which God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
For New Testament believers, casting a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord means being a child of God. It means abiding in Christ Jesus.
Micah prophesied the loss of the land to all Israel — there would be none who would cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord. Micah also prophesied that the land would be restored to the remnant of Israel and their king would pass before them (v. 12).
“Prophesy ye not . . .” (v. 6). These are not the words of God. These are words spoken by them who do not hear the Lord and do not want to hear God. They are words which were directed against them who declared the coming judgment of God in Micah’s day. Today, we hear words of similitude. We live in a time in which some shout down the truth that the Lord would have all men know. The same voice which said ‘Prophesy not’ in Micah’s day says ‘Don’t tell me that there is only one way to heaven.’
Micah was the target of them who said ‘Prophesy ye not’ because he shamed them who had cast the commandments of God aside. Micah was charged with hate speech because he had said that which God told him to say. God hears the words of them who say: “Prophesy ye not.” God hears and He wants all to know that He hears. God, likewise, looks upon New Testament believers and makes note of when we cast His commandments aside. God would have all men know Him and know their standing before Him.
In verse 7, Micah directs the house of Jacob to answer three rhetorical questions: Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? Are these His doings? Does not the word of the Lord do good for them who walk uprightly? These questions require one to think upon the character of God and to answer in truth. The Spirit of God is not made narrow by them of hardened heart. The evil of men is not of God. God’s word directs men in the way of righteousness.
God asked but Israel did not answer. The house of Jacob had already answered the Lord’s questions through their actions. They were as an enemy that attacked the innocent passerby and as a heartless landlord who evicted helpless women (v. 8, 9). They did not believe that they should be required to answer to God. They had lifted themselves above God. Is not America of today and the world likewise pretending that the Spirit of God is straitened and men shall not be accountable for their actions? Have men not turned from the truth?
God looked upon the house of Jacob and issued His eviction order: “Arise ye, and depart” (v. 10). God’s people, who were His people in name only, would depart less than thirty years later when Assyria would conquer Israel and remove the inhabitants from the land.
In verse 11, Micah was moved by the Holy Spirit to declare them who issued false words of assurance to be the prophets which Israel deserved. Israel most certainly received that which the people deserved.
All who turn from God’s word shall get their just desserts. The Lord called Micah to warn Israel of the judgment to come because He takes no pleasure in judgment. The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9). Nonetheless, the day of judgment shall come as a thief in the night (II Pet. 3:10). God’s judgment cannot come upon believers as a thief in the night.
God’s judgment upon believers was satisfied upon the cross at Calvary. Christ has borne the judgment which every believer deserves. May all men hear the word of God and come to repentance.