I enjoy reading the story of Jonah; there is something about this story that helps me understand that even a prophet like Jonah was still just human. Jonah had problems just like everyone else; his story reveals the real hardships and frustrations that we can face today in our own lives. God uses a reluctant servant to show us the power of His great love and mercy in a culture that deserved judgment for their sins. It took Jonah three days to walk through the city proclaiming judgment and right before his eyes he saw people turning towards God pleading for Him to save them. This story, like many others in scripture gives me hope for the culture we live in today.
Micah’s story in some ways is much like that of Jonah without much of the personal struggles that surrounded his ministry. Micah’s story was encouraging in the sense that his message to the faithful remnant was this: even though they were surrounded by a culture that would eventually be destroyed there was hope; they had the assurance of the promise given to Abraham from God. Micah’s message and the message of the other prophets was reaching into the lives of the Israelites, God’s message was being heard, His love was for everyone and that for today is an encouragement for us to continue reaching out into our own communities.
I think about Jonah when I read through the book of Nahum, I believe its my human nature that makes me think that if Jonah would have been around during the destruction of Nineveh there would have been some part of him that did a little “happy dance”. This “book ended” relationship we read about between the ministries of these two prophets surrounds a culture of people who were lost and openly disobedient to the standard of living that God set out for them. When Christ comes again, I pray that we are in a better place than the people of Nineveh; I pray that as believers we will have done all we could do to proclaim the name of Jesus into the cultures that surround us.
Reflections founded on the book of Micah as a whole.
“Why didn’t you listen when you were told before?” “We told you so” “Are you listening to us?” “Didn’t you hear us the first time?” “This isn’t the first time you have heard this!”
These are all statements or questions I imagine Micah and some of the other prophets would have had or possibly even said as they lived out their calling as prophets of God among the people of Judah and Israel. In his time Micah had the responsibility of telling the people that God had a plan, a plan of destruction that would wipe out the nation for their wrongdoings and evil ways. For generations the people have heard and mostly ignored the words of the prophets, their lack of listening and actions of disobedience bring us to hear a familiar message through the Minor Prophets.
Chapter 6:8 I believe sums up the words of Micah’s message to the people, “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” It seems so simple, and yet just like the people in Micah’s time we have difficulties understanding and following these words. In society today many of our leaders are just as lost and corrupt as they were back then, it’s hard to find direction when you don’t know who in leadership you can trust to follow.
As I have been reading through the Minor Prophets I can’t help but think about the small remnant of faithful people that have the strength and courage to continue being faithful even as they suffer the same punishment as the unfaithful. Micah near the end of this book offers those faithful few a picture of hope, a hope that continues to keep them on track with God. Today we can be encouraged by the words of hope that Micah presents, we (the faithful) who are trusting in the Lord have the hope of His return and the heavenly blessings that come with that faith and trust in Him. We have the promise of eternal life through Christ and that knowledge is what keeps me going, it is that hope that drives me as I navigate through a life of servant leadership in His name.
Are we like the people that Micah was prophesying to? YES I believe that our culture has fallen into the same problems like that of the people of Judah some 2700 years ago. What is our response? I believe that it is our responsibility as leaders to be working toward a better understanding of what it means to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly before our God.