Micah may be classified as a minor prophet, but the prophecies in his book are fulfilled in a major way in as little as 20 years and as far out as 2700+ years!
Here’s a question for us to consider: What exactly is the role of prophecy in the life of a Christian?
Micah introduces himself in the opening verse. He was ministering in the country while Isaiah was in the city of Jerusalem at the same time. Micah’s ministry spans three kings of Judah in the south, and he overlaps the defeat of Israel in the north.
Check out some of Micah’s most notable prophecies:
- Judgment is coming to Samaria/Israel (1:6-7). This was fulfilled about 20 years later when the Assyrians defeated Samaria and took the Israelites into exile.
- Judgment is coming on southern Judah (1:9-16). This was fulfilled about 30 years later when Sennacherib attacked Philistia and southern Judah, coming “even to the gate of Jerusalem” (v. 12). At the gate of Jerusalem was the miraculous deliverance God gave during Hezekiah’s reign (see 2 Kings 18-19; Isaiah 37).
- Judgment is coming on Jerusalem (3:12). Micah even prophesied the Babylonians would defeat them (4:10). This is noteworthy because Assyria was the dominant world power at this time; it would be another 100 years before Babylon would even begin to rise to power. This prophecy was fulfilled about 160 years later, and this prophecy actually saved Jeremiah’s life around that same time (Jeremiah 26:7-19).
- The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem (5:2). This prophecy was fulfilled about 700 years later when Jesus was born (Matthew 2:5-6).
- How people will respond to the Messiah’s Advent (7:4-6). This prophecy was partially fulfilled 700 years later in a direct quotation from Jesus (Matthew 10:34-36).
- The coming of the final Kingdom of God (4:1-3). This prophecy will be fulfilled at Christ’s second Advent.
So what is the role of prophecy?
First of all, fulfilled prophecy reminds us that God is sovereignly in control of everything (Isaiah 46:10). But right on the heels of that, fulfilled prophecy reminds us that there is still more prophecy left to be fulfilled (2 Peter 1:20-2:3).
The Bible tells me that when I sin, God’s first response is not anger toward me but broken-hearted grief. In a similar fashion, the prophecies of coming judgment on sinners are intended to show us the incredible mercy of God in the forgiveness of sin that He made available (Micah 7:18-20).
Prophecy is never, never to be used as a club to beat people into submission to God. When Micah prophesied the destruction of Israel and Judah, he wept (Micah 1:8).
So did Jesus (Matthew 23:37).
And so should we!
We live in an age today—as Micah experienced and as the apostle Peter said would be coming—where people won’t want to hear the news that unforgiven sin brings God’s judgment. Our response to this should be brokenhearted grief, tears, and a steadfast commitment to speak the truth in love that Jesus has provided the only means to be rescued from that judgment.
If you’ve missed any of the other posts in this series on the major lessons from the minor prophets, you can access the full list by clicking here.