Political scandal is a daily affair. While many are prospering, there seems to be great inequality and heartache among the poor and disenfranchised. The darkness of sin seems rampant in our society, and for many, hope seems like a distant memory. Does this sound like what you may been reading, living or watching? It actually forms the backdrop to the Old Testament book of Micah. Several years ago, I had the joy of preaching this book to my congregation. What I found as I studied was that this prophet named Micah, who was so far removed from me personally, seemed to be so in tune with my world.
Above all, Micah is a book of hope. God shows himself to be a God kind enough to warn us, patient enough to plead with us, and gracious enough to redeem us. There are so many great reasons to preach this book to your congregation, but allow me to offer you three.
1. Micah encourages the normal and unknown pastor.
Micah begins: “The Word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth (1:1).” Two questions strike me instantly, “Who is Micah?” and “Where is Moresheth?” While Micah was a common name (there are 14 Micahs in Scripture), this man is virtually unknown, and Moresheth was essentially a fork in the road. The prophet is mentioned only twice in the Bible, and even then, only nominally. Later in Jeremiah, we learn about the outcome of his ministry (Jeremiah 26:18–19). Essentially, this means you’re reading the sermons from a nobody, who was from nowhere. How is that encouraging? It helps us to see that God uses all kinds of people for his glory.
If you look at the era in which Micah preached, you find that a more well-known prophet: Isaiah. His book is full of powerful quotes (Isaiah 53) and famous stories (Isaiah 6). Isaiah was, for all we know, well-to-do. He was a prophet in the King’s court. At some point in Isaiah’s story, along comes a country boy named Micah. He’s unheard of, probably not well educated, and his message is unpopular. Though Micah is smaller on every level than his contemporary Isaiah, we learn that God used this man to bring revival.
There’s a lesson here for us pastors: Be ourselves. Regardless of where we’re from, who we are or what role we play in the kingdom, if we proclaim God’s truth then we have all the credentials we need. Micah’s strength comes from the statement, “The Word of the Lord that came to Micah (1:1)”—and that should always be our strength as well.
Pastors, have you ever felt as if you were a nobody from nowhere? Do you see the so called “famous” or “well-known” pastors and long to be in their shoes—or maybe just in the bigger church down the street? Thankfully, Micah the prophet should encourage us.
God doesn’t always use the well-known servants. It may be that a “nobody” is exactly who is needed at certain times and certain places. Some commentators have proposed that Micah was so powerful precisely because he was a nobody. He wasn’t caught up in the wealth and glamour that was so prevalent in his day. Instead, his lowly status may have helped his ministry. Be who God has called you to be and serve where God has sovereignly placed you.
2. Micah covers issues of justice, which modern-day Christians think a lot about.
When I first began preaching, I tiptoed around Old Testament books such as Micah. I sinfully and secretly feared that those minor prophets may not have much relevance for my congregation. But in the last 20 years, I’ve learned that all Scripture is extremely relevant (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
Some of Micah’s themes seem to be taken from our headlines. As your congregation wrestles with these issues, they’ll find encouragement and guidance.
For example, justice is a huge issue for Micah. He denounces those who oppress the poor (2:1–2), abuse their positions (3:1–3) and rob from the needy (6:9–11). Women and children are cherished, and the exploitation of the innocent is denounced (1:8–9).