Micah 4:8-5:15

Tow prophecies with a ‘Now… But…’ pattern. See Analtsis.

  1. 4:8-5:1. Zion will be besieged and her inhabitants exiled. But what will follow?
    On a personal level, what is man’s true perspective to be?
    Cf. 4:12 and 1 Cor. 2:9, 10.
  2. 5:-6. From this early Messianic prophecy what do we learn of the Messiah’s origins and activity?
    How did Jesus fulfil the longings of prophet and people?
  3. 5:10-15.The life of the restored remnant of Israel will be one of God-given (verse 7) victory (verses 8, 9), but purification will be involved (verses 10-14). Disobedience is disastrous (verse 15). See 1 Pet. 2:9-12, 16; 4:7 and consider how the same principle still applies.

Notes

  1. 4:10. ‘Go to Babylon’: a remarkable instance of prophetic prevision, because at the time the great enemy was Assyria, not Babylon. But see Is. 39:6, 7.
  2. 4:11. The nations gather to ogle, and worse. But one day the roles will be reversed; cf. 7:10b, 17.
  3. 4:13. Devoting spoil to the Lord was an old custom ; cf. Josh. 6:24.
  4. 5:3. Israel shall be surrendered up until the Messiah is born; then, the Messiah’s family will be reunited.
  5. 5:5. ‘Seven… eight’: an indefinite number according to Hebrew idiom: whatever the need for leaders is, it will be met.
  6. 5:6. Read (with mg.) ‘he’ (i.e., the Messiah) ‘shall deliver us….’
  7. 5:14. ‘cities’: probably, better, ‘sacrificial stones’. Verses 10-*14 (like 6:7b) hint at the sort of unfaithfulness which characterized the reign of Ahaz; cf. 2 Kgs. 16:3.
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Micah 3:1-4:7

  1. The nation’s rulers, prophets and priests come under scathing denunciation.
    Why?
    And with what result (see ‘Then’, 3:4, ‘Therefore’, 3:6 and 12)?
    The priests remembered God’s promises (3:11; cf. Ps. 132:13, 14) but not his stipulations (cf. Ps. 132:12).
    Can our confidence be similarly false?
  2. Notice especially the contrast between the true prophet (3:8; cf. 2:7) and the false (3:5, 11; cf. 2:6, 11).
    How can we recognize ‘the Spirit of the Lord’?
  3. 4:1-7. A new kingdom of peace (4:3, 4) and wholeness (4:6, 7) is to be established.
    What will characterize the King, and what his subjects?

Notes

  1. 3:1. ‘Know’ here means ‘care for’; the verb is used in this pregnant sense in, e.g., 6:5; Ps. 144:3 (AV); Prov. 12:10; Hos. 8:4.
  2. 3:2, 3. God’s ideal (Amos 5:15) had been turned on its head. The judiciary, like ravenous wild beasts, was preying on the people.
  3. 3:7. ‘Cover their faces’: a sign of shame (Lev. 13:45) or mourning (Ezek. 24:17).
  4. 3:10. Jerusalem was being adorned with fine buildings at the cost of the lives of the people.
  5. Chapter 4. Zion will be the pre-eminent place of God’s revelation (verse 2) and his rule (verses 3, 7).
  6. 4:5. A parenthesis: at present they do not all give their allegiance to the Lord; this is yet to come, in that day’ (4:6).

 

Micah 1 and 2

  1. Judgment falls on Samaria and (almost) on Jerusalem. The Lord God is witness for the prosecution (1:2); the result is ruin in Samaria (1:6, 7), consternation in Judah (1:10-16) and grief in the prophet (1:8, 9). What was the basic reason for the catastrophe (1:5, 13)?
  2. What classes of the community and what sins are rebuked in chapter 2?
    What is the penalty?
  3. Promise (2:12, 13) follows banishment (2:10).
    How care God’s gracious acts described?
    Do we, too, know the Shepherd’s love (John 10:14, 15) and the King’s might (2:14)?
    Cf. also Is. 40:11; 2 Sam. 5:20.

Notes

  1. 1:5. The prophet sees the capital cities of the kingdoms of both Israel and Judah as the main sources of the corruption of the whole country, although they were the centers of worship.
  2. 1:12. There is some word-play on the names of the towns mentioned and what they will endure. ‘Grovel in the dust as Dust-town’ (Beth Ophrah), etc. (see Moffatt).
  3. 1:13. ‘The beginning of sin’: Lachish was the border town at which chariots and horses purchased in Egypt would be received in Judah. See 5:10 and cf. Is. 31:1; 36:9.
  4. 1:14, 15. The calamities coming on Judah will include separation from loved ones, deception, conquest and ignominious flight.
  5. Chapter 2. Micah preaches in verses 1-5; he is interrupted by the rich in verse 6 and retorts, verse 7. God speaks in verses 8-10 and 12, 13; the prophet soliloquizes in verse 11.
  6. 2:4, 5. The avaricious landowners will lament because they themselves have been dispossessed; their portion in the Lord’s inheritance (verse 5) will be no more.
  7. 2:6. Micah’s preaching is not well received and he is told, ‘Do not drivel…!’ Verse 11 and 3:11 describe the sort of preachers the rich wanted – and got!

Isaiah 66

The distinction is mentioned between those who are disobedient to God, and those who fear him. The final destiny of the two classes is made clear. God will thus be fully and finally glorified Cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-12.

  1. When God looks down upon our worship, what is it he values? See verses 1-4; Cf. Ps. 51:17; John 4:23, 24.
  2. What is the end of those who having heard God’s voice, will not give pay attention? See especially verses 4, 5, 6, 17, 24. What, on the other end is promised to Zion and her children? See verses 7-14, 20-22. While these promises are made primarily to Jerusalem and are yet to be fulfilled, they also declared the spiritual good things that God has provided for us in his Son, and which we can claim for ourselves in him. Cf. Rom. 8:16, 17, 32; 1 Cor. 3:22; 2 Cor. 1:20.
  3. How does the prophet’s vision of God’s purpose for the nations fall short of the glory of the full revelation of this ‘mystery’ in the New Testament?

 

Isaiah 65

  1. Verses 1-7. What picture of God is unfolded in verses 1 and 2? Cf. Matt. 7:2. Why has he been unable to answer the prophet’s prayer for Israel’s salvation? Cf. 59:1-3. How does God purpose to deal with them (verses 8-12)?
  2. What is to be the lot of God’s chosen people in Jerusalem in the new age that is to dawn (verses 17-25)? What in contrast is going to be the life and end of those who forsake God (verses 11, 15)?

Notes

  1. Verses 3-7. A condemnation of various idolatrous practices.
  2. Verse 8. ‘when a bunch of grapes holds some good wine, men say “destroy it not, it holds a blessing”’ (Moffatt). So God will save the good in Israel.
  3. Verse 11. ‘Fortune’ and ‘destiny’: the Hebrew words are Gad and Meni, the names of two gods.

Isaiah 63:7-64:12

  1. 63:7-14. How does the suppliant begin his prayer? What has Israel learned of God’s mercy and love in her past? What lesson is here for us when in our need we pray to God? Cf. Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:3; 4:6; Col. 1:3.
  2. What five pleas are found in 63:15-19? In 64:4, 5, the suppliant begins to advance another plea. What is it, and why is he unable to continue it (6, 7)? Do you know how to plead with God? What pleas can we rightly make?

Notes

  1. 63:10, 11, 14. The references to the Holy Spirit in this prayer are strikingly clear and full.
  2. 63:17a. The prolonging of the suffering was tending to increase the ungodliness.

 

Isaiah 61:1-63:6

  1. How would you summarize the teaching of chapters 61 and 62 regarding the Lord’s purpose of good for Zion? What do we learn, for example, about: (a) the relation to God into which God’s people will be brought (61:6, 8, 9; 62:4, 12) and (b) the response of God’s people to his promised salvation (61:10)? Is your experience of this kind?
  2. In chapter 61 the coming salvation is proclaimed in 62 it is prayed for (verses 1, 6, 7). If the gospel is to prevail on earth, are not both the proclamation of it and prayer concerning it still necessary? Cf. Rom. 10:14, 15; 2 Thess. 3:1. What characteristic of prevailing prayer is emphasized here?
  3. In Luke 4:17-21 our Lord says that the opening words of chapter 61 were spiritually fulfilled in his own ministry. Why did he cut his reading in the synagogue short in the middle of 61:2? Meditate on the scope of our Lord’s ministry as revealed in these verses.

Notes

  1. 61:2. ‘A new name’: the symbol both of a new character, and of a new relation of a God. Cf. Rev. 2:17; 3:12.
  2. 63:4. The day of redemption is also a day of judgment. Cf. 61:2; John 3:17-19.