Micah 1-7: Social Justice

If you are paying attention while doing your readings, you will notice that there is a couple of recurring themes that run through many of the prophets. One of the largest of those themes is what we would call social justice. Special treatment of the poor, fair justice for those oppressed, establishment of social systems to help those who cannot care for themselves (orphans and widows), etc. These things show up in scripture as very important to God and much of the judgement levied against Israel and Judah through the prophets occurs because they refused to follow these principles that God has laid out for them.

When God gave Moses the law, one of the things that was very important was that the inherited land was to remain within a family unit, even if there were no sons alive in that family.  Numbers 27 tells us of the daughters of Zelophehad who were granted their father’s inheritance in the absence of a male heir. One of the major issues that Micah talks about is large land owners buying up land from family units and developing huge land holdings, something the Law of Moses was very clear was not good.

Micah prophesied during the same time period as Isaiah, Amos and Hosea, so similar themes and thoughts appear in much of their writing. What I find interesting is that both Kingdoms successfully ignored warnings from multiple sources, despite the incredible negative outcomes predicted if they failed to pay attention. Micah is one of the prophets who proclaims the destruction of Israel before the Assyrians (which occurred in 722 B.C.) and the eventual destruction of Judah to the Babylonians (which occurred in 596 B.C.)

But Micah is not all gloom and doom. The second part of the book (chapters 4-7) give incredible hope for the future, in spite of the impending disasters that were to occur to the divided Kingdom. Micah predicts a future King who would usher in the Kingdom of God. It speaks of trusting in God even in the face of the impending judgement.

One thing is made very clear by Micah: people are accountable for how they live in God’s eyes. This applies to us too. Don’t get me wrong, we are covered by the blood of Jesus and freedom from sin and guilt is ours at no cost. But God does expect us to live out our faith in tangible ways and according to his principles. Those principles don’t change between the Old Testament and the New Testament. So these books of the prophets are wonderful opportunities for us to learn about God’s heart and how our desires can and should line up with his.

Happy reading

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
  • What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  • How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

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