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International Bible Lessons Commentary

The Uniform Sunday School Bible Lessons Series

Micah 3:1-12

L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
Teaching the Truth in Love

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Micah 3:1-12

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Micah 3:1-12

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Micah 3:1-12

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Micah 3:1-12

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Micah 3:1-12

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Micah 3:1-12

International Bible Lesson

“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin” (Micah 3:8—NIV).

The Purposes of Powerful Leaders

The Purposes of Powerful Leaders
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Class Preparation Guide for Micah 6:1-8

Bible Study

A Psalm
A Prayer

Thru the Bible
Thirty Weeks

July 12, 2015

International Bible Lessons Commentary
Micah 3:1-12
New International Version
L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

The International Bible Lesson (also known as the International Sunday School Lesson [ISSL] and the Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, July 12, 2015, is from Micah 3:1-12. Please Note: Some churches will only study Micah 3:5-12. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further (available in the left-hand columm of this page in easy-print format) discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion. You may want to read to your class the International Bible Lesson (available below this commentary and in the left-hand columm of this page in easy-print format). Easy-print Bible Lesson Commentaries, Student Activity Pages, Crossword Puzzles, Word Search Puzzles, and True and False Tests for Bible Lesson review are also (in the left-hand side of this page).Easy-print Large Print Editions now in all five translations and the Audio Version of the International Sunday School Bible Lessons Commentary are also available (in the left-hand side of this page). You may also find the International Bible Lesson Forum helpful, especially when combined with Google translate if you speak a language other than English.

Some teachers have asked for a handout they could give to students at the close of class so students could prepare for the next class meeting. This new handout for Sunday, July 19, 2015 is the Class Preparation Guide for Micah 6:1-8.

Micah 3:1-12

(Micah 3:1)  Then I said, “Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel. Should you not embrace justice,

Since the temple of the LORD and the priests were in Jerusalem, the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, the religious and political leaders in Jerusalem should know the Law of the LORD and how to administer justice rightly in all of Israel, including Judah. Micah preached a prophetic message to the Kingdom of Judah similar to the message of Amos, who preached in the Kingdom of Israel. God expected the leaders and people of both kingdoms to execute justice according to and in obedience to the Law of the LORD. The rulers in Israel and Judah had no excuse for not knowing and administering true justice in and out of their law courts, in their business practices, and in treating others.

(Micah 3:2)  you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones;

Micah expressed facts of human life, of people who have turned from the true God, of people who have chosen what to believe and not to believe about God, of people who have chosen what laws of God to obey and what laws of God to disregard. Factually, some people hate the good (good people and doing good) and they love the evil (doing evil and those that act contrary to God’s law when it gives them pleasure or what they covet).

(Micah 3:3)  who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?”

Through Micah, God compared those who hate good and love evil to cannibals. Perhaps cannibalism was practiced by some in the Kingdom of Judah, just as it has been in other pagan places. During the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, cannibalism was practiced in the city, and it was probably practiced in other cities that were under siege. Micah may have been predicting these times; but more probably, Micah was trying to express graphically the end result of practices that enabled the wealthy to oppress and steal from the poor and those who were economically between the rich and the poor. The poor and the less wealthy would ultimately die of starvation or the brutalities of slavery. Those who hate the good can invent many ways to destroy the good.

(Micah 3:4)  Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.

Micah foretold a time when God’s justice would come upon those who hated good and loved evil. On that day of punishment from the LORD, they would call out to the LORD for help, but the LORD would not help them because of their wickedness. The wicked needed to believe Micah’s words and repent of their sins before it was too late.

(Micah 3:5)  This is what the LORD says: “As for the prophets who lead my people astray, they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat, but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them.

Micah spoke out in the name of the LORD against the leaders in Jerusalem while the professional prophets or preachers kept silent. If they did preach, they would endorse the decisions of their political leaders, and they would cry “Peace” to uphold their wickedness as long as they were paid to do so. They put acquiring money first, and used God and preaching as a means to the end of material prosperity and personal security.

(Micah 3:6)  Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them.

Micah foretold God’s judgment on the prophets for their hating the good and loving the evil. God would not shine the light and peace of His presence upon them. He would no longer reveal His will for the future to them so they could escape the catastrophe of judgment, but the Day of the LORD would be blackness or darkness for the prophets as well as for the politicians in Jerusalem.

(Micah 3:7)  The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.”

Seers and diviners gave advice to individuals trying to make decisions. They often told kings whether or not to go to war or whether or not they should pay tribute or surrender to an enemy. They claimed to give advice directly from God. Micah said that those who gave advice or foresaw the future for money instead of to serve God and His people would be abandoned by God as they and the rich political leaders had abandoned God.

(Micah 3:8)  But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.

[Instead of “spirit of the LORD,” as in KJV and NRSV, “Spirit of the LORD” is to be preferred.] Micah and Amos were not professional prophets, seers, or diviners. God called them to serve Him; God filled them with His power and Spirit; God told them where to preach and what to say, and they obeyed the LORD. Micah and Amos both preached what no one wanted to hear. They revealed the sins of powerful leaders who were misleading the people, and they called them to repent or receive their just punishment from God.

(Micah 3:9)  Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right;

Though we may find it difficult to admit and understand, those who love evil abhor justice and they pervert equality or equal rights among people. Equity means fair treatment or justice in the way people are treated. The religious and political leaders throughout Israel and Judah abhorred or hated justice and loving their neighbors as themselves. They used the law of God to selfishly steal from others and fulfill their self-centered lusts.

(Micah 3:10)  who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.

Some of the kings and other leaders in Jerusalem used slave labor to build the city’s defenses and public works to their benefit. They misused and misinterpreted and twisted or ignored the Law of God for their personal enrichment, which God forbid in the law He gave Moses. The professional prophets, scribes, and priests did not call the wicked rich and powerful leaders to account for their evil behaviors or call them to obey God – they profited from the wrongs of others, which was also contrary to God’s law.

(Micah 3:11)  Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the LORD’s support and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.”

In summary, those who had and paid the most money received the judgments and rulings in their favor irrespective of the Law of God. Rather than teach the Law of God and call people to love and obey the LORD, the priests served primarily for money—and the same for the prophets who were supposed to serve as the conscience of political and religious leaders and people who did wrong. Micah assured them that no matter what they thought or said that the time was coming when the LORD would no longer be with them and His punishment would fall upon them.

(Micah 3:12)  Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

The kingdoms of Israel and Judah had become totally corrupt from top to bottom. All of the leadership in the capitals of both kingdoms loved evil and money instead of good and God. Therefore, God called some small-town farmers and businessmen to preach His word in the capital cities of both kingdoms (neither Amos nor Micah were professional prophets). Jerusalem would be destroyed, including the temple, which happened about 125 years after Micah preached–which does reveal the patience of God; and in the time of Jeremiah, some of the elders of the people remembered the words of Micah, which they quoted in order to save Jeremiah from death for his preaching.

The Cause and Cure of Spiritual Blindness

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. When did some of the prophets cry “Peace,” and who did they declare war against?

2. What did God say His judgment would be upon these false prophets?

3. How did Micah describe himself in contrast to the false prophets?

4. What do some people abhor, and who did Micah accuse of perverting all equity?

5. Who does Micah accuse of doing all they do for money, and what do these people say about the LORD?

Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson below.

The Purposes of Powerful Leaders

International Bible Lesson

Micah 3:1-12
Sunday, July 12, 2015
L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin” (Micah 3:8—KJV).

“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin” (Micah 3:8—NIV).

“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin” (Micah 3:8—NRSV).

The Bible describes two different types of leaders. One type promotes whatever those who pay them want to hear or want said for their benefit. When they “have something to eat,” these leaders cry “Peace.” If they do not get what they want, they “declare war against those who put nothing in their mouths” (Micah 3:5). Micah specified their selfishness: “Priests teach for a price” and “Prophets give oracles for money” (Micah 3:11). To punish them, God declared, “the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame” (Micah 3:7). Though corrupt religious leaders claimed that God was with them, so no harm would come to them, they refused to receive God’s revelation through His true prophets; therefore, they suffered disgrace and death when Jerusalem became a heap of ruins as Micah foretold. Amos and Micah fit into the other type of spiritual leaders. God filled them with His power and Spirit. God spoke through them, and with a mighty voice they denounced unjust leaders in both the political and religious arenas. Those who sought to obey God discerned rightly when God was speaking through His true prophets. Rather than conform their words to the desires of those who could kill them, God’s true prophets courageously denounced the specific sins of those who abhorred justice and perverted the fair treatment of others that God’s law demanded. God promised to be with those who declared and believed the truth. Only those who trusted in the LORD and His true prophets passed through Jerusalem’s destruction with God’s presence and help. – L.G. Parkhurst Jr.

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Some teachers have asked for a handout they could give to students at the close of class so students could prepare for the next class meeting. This new handout for Sunday, July 19, 2015 is the Class Preparation Guide for Micah 6:1-8.

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International Bible Lessons and Sunday School Commentary:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission, All rights reserved. Noted as ESV.

New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Noted as NASB.

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