Lesson 7

God's Special People (Micah)

(Micah 1, 2, 5 & 7)
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Introduction: Does everyone need hope? The obvious answer is, "yes." But, hope is a funny thing. You don't need hope if you are satisfied with how things are now. In Revelation 3:16 God says He wants to spit out lukewarm people. God prefers us to be hot or cold. Does that mean that God wants to spit out people who don't need hope? Recall that last week God sent the worm that killed the plant that gave Jonah shade? Would God send "worms" into our life to put us in a posture where we needed hope? If so, what kind of hope does God offer? Let's dive into our study of the book of Micah and find out!

  1. The Punishment Prophecy


    1. Read Micah 1:1. Who is the prophet? (Micah.)


      1. What is the subject of his prophecy? (God gave him a vision about the future of Jerusalem and Samaria.)


    2. Read Micah 1:2-5. Wait a minute! We learned in previous lessons that Judah consisted of the two southern tribes and Israel the northern ten tribes. Jerusalem was in Judah. Why is Judah being punished for the sins of Israel? (Israel has already been conquered by Assyria. Micah now lumps Judah and Israel together. Consider that he refers to "Jacob's transgression," and Jacob is the father of the sons who became the twelve tribes which made up both Judah and Israel.)


    3. Read Micah 2:3-4. What seems to be the worst of the punishment? (The taunting, the ridicule. We have all had unfortunate things happen in life. Our misfortune is eased by friends putting their arms around us to comfort us. It is easier if people are sympathetic. Here, those suffering are being taunted by others.)


      1. Why would God allow that? God is a God of love! (We have some clues. God says "you cannot save yourselves." In the next section we are going to study the nature of their sins. We will see that they put their trust in themselves, either through the idols that they had made or through a rigged justice system. It is false pride and God strips it away.)


    4. Read Micah 2:5. Remember in verse 4 the problem was that the people lost their land, and undeserving people (traitors) got it. What does it mean to "divide the land by lot?" (Read Proverbs 16:33. Casting lots was a way to determine God's will. It was a way for God to lead. Instead of God dividing the land among His people, now the enemies of God's people will make that decision.)


  2. The Sin Problem


    1. Read Micah 2:6-7. What do other prophets predict? (They say bad things will not happen to the people. God does not get angry and He does not do such things.)


      1. Have you heard people say that judgment is inconsistent with a loving God? God's loving nature does not allow for punishment? (Part of the sin problem for these people is their attitude: they did not believe that God would execute judgment on them.)


    2. Re-read Micah 2:7. What answer about judgment does God give in the last part of verse 7? (God distinguishes between those who are good and those who are evil. We know from the book of Job and from our experiences in life that bad things sometimes happen to good people. But, we also know that bad things happen more often to bad people.)


    3. Read Micah 2:8. Often God warns about the rich abusing the poor. What is happening to the rich here? (God's people are stealing from the rich.)


      1. How does God view abusing the rich? (Those who do this are enemies of God.)


    4. Read Micah 2:9. What other evil are these people doing? (They drive women and children from their homes. They deprive these people of the blessings God has given to them.)


      1. This touches on a current public policy issue in a number of countries. People who are not rich argue that the rich should be taxed at a very high rate simply because they can afford it. What do these verses teach us about that? (God is against injustice. If the rich steal from the poor, God is against it. If the poor steal from the rich, God is against it. God says "do not take My blessings" from other people.)


    5. Read Micah 2:10. What is God's word about the future? (God's people have to leave. They have defiled and ruined the land. They have to go.)


    6. God says to His people, if you trust in other gods, if you mistreat others, judgment is coming whether you believe in it or not. Will these people need hope? (Yes, when our sins result in judgment, we become very aware of our need for hope. Let's look at hope next.)


  3. Greatest Hope


    1. Read Micah 5:1. Has judgment started? (Yes!)


    2. Read Micah 5:2. What hope do we have here? (This is a prophecy about Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem!)


      1. Do you doubt that Jesus existed? Do you doubt that He is God? Consider Micah's prophecy which pinpointed the place of His birth!


      2. Can you understand why Jesus' disciples thought that He would overthrow the Romans and rule Israel?


        1. How do you understand the "will be Ruler over Israel" statement? (This must be a reference to the Second Coming, since Jesus did not "rule" in a traditional sense during His life here.)


    3. Read Micah 5:3. Who is the "she who is in labor gives birth?" (Mary, mother of Jesus. This predicts the way in which God becomes human and lives among us.)


      1. Why is Israel abandoned until then? (As we saw before, God's people failed Him. Despite their unfaithfulness, God launched His heroic rescue plan. This gives hope!)


    4. Read Micah 5:4. Jesus is predicted to be like a shepherd. How does that encourage hope? (A shepherd protects. This protection comes in a God-level of strength, and gives us the ultimate security.)


    5. Read Micah 5:5-6. I'm sure that the scholars of Jesus' time considered these texts and wondered how they related to Jesus' incarnation. Perhaps Jesus' disciples thought that they were the seven to fifteen under-shepherds/leaders. How do you think these verses relate? (This seems to support the "warrior savior" view. But, since this did not happen in connection with Jesus, this either refers to a literal victory for Israel at the end of time or it means a spiritual victory for God's people over the forces of evil. If "the Assyrian" refers to the evil forces opposed to God's people, Jesus won the victory over sin and the forces of evil at the cross.)


    6. Read Micah 5:7-8. Are God's people scattered today throughout the world? (Yes. To the extent that this refers to the Jews, that is absolutely true. To the extent that his refers to "spiritual Jews" (Christians), this is still true.)


    7. Read Micah 5:9. On what is our hope based? (That God will deliver us! That we will be lifted up!)


    8. Read Micah 5:10-11. How is it helpful for our Deliver to destroy our chariots and our strongholds? That sounds like what the "bad guy" would do! (Chariots were state of the art military weapons. Strongholds were military defenses. God says I will destroy everything on which you rely - other than Me.)


    9. Read Micah 5:12-14. Why are these things being destroyed? (Again, these are things we rely upon instead of God.)


    10. Read Micah 5:15. Why, in the midst of a declaration of hope, do we find destruction? (Read Micah 6:8. God is looking for those who are faithful! He desires a people who will walk with Him.)


    11. Read Micah 7:18-19. What is the hope for sinners? (God will bury our sins "underfoot" and hurl them "into the depths of the sea.")


      1. Why is that important? (Read Revelation 12:10-11. Satan accuses us. Jesus promises to bury our sins.)


    12. Friend, our God is both our Judge and our Redeemer. We need to keep both roles in mind. When we rely on other gods and disobey, we can expect judgment. But, with judgment comes hope. Hope in a God who will forgive us and rescue us and blot out our sins. Will you determine today to trust God and live a life in accord with His word?


  4. Next week: Trusting God's Goodness (Habakkuk).

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