A Teaching Outline for the Book of Micah
The name “Micah” means “Who is Like Yahweh?” and a study of his written prophecy makes the answer even more obvious than it already is: no one. Over the course of three messages (as marked off by the keyword “hear,” cf. Mic. 1:2, 3:1, 5:1), Micah demonstrated the coming triumph of God amidst the present failure of Judah. In his first message, Micah spoke of judgment from the Lord, indicting Judah primarily for her idolatry. In a long play on words, Micah warned a number of cities that calamity was coming their way. For example, to Beth-le-aphrah (meaning “house of dust”), Micah warned that they ought to roll in the dust out of distress. To Zaanan (sounding like the Hebrew word for “come out”), Micah warned that they would be trapped and unable to get out of the city. To the city of Mareshah (meaning “possessor”), Micah warned that it would soon be possessed by others. Of course, this kind of preaching was not taken kindly. In denying any coming judgment, the people of Judah relied upon several tactics that are still common today: forced silence of Micah (cf. Mic. 2:6), false security in God’s patience (cf. Mic. 2:7-10), and favored spokesmen who would tell them pleasant lies instead of unpleasant truths (cf. Mic. 2:11).
In his second message, Micah again began by indicting the unrighteous kingdom of Judah. The nation was filled with corrupt judges who disregarded the pleas of the oppressed, false prophets who claimed to hear from God, and wicked rulers who built up the city on blood money. In accordance with His common use of talionic law (that the punishment matches the crime), God would disregard the pleas of the judges when they cried out to Him (cf. Mic. 3:4), leave the so-called prophets in darkness when they sought answers (cf. Mic. 3:6), and tear down everything the rulers had built (cf. Mic. 3:12).
In his third message, Micah brought Judah once again into God’s proverbial courtroom, this time charging them with ingratitude for all God had done for them. He had given them freedom from slavery (cf. Mic. 6:4a), godly leaders (cf. Mic. 6:4b), blessings instead of curses (cf. Mic. 6:5a), and miracles to make the way (cf. Mic. 6:5b). Their response to the charges? Outward religious piety. Hypocritical worship. Acts of feigned devotion. In reality, God wanted His people to be marked by good deeds toward others, based on a heart of genuine love, according to a life of true faith in Him (cf. Mic. 6:8).
Despite the abundant condemnation of Judah, Micah also brought hope to the faithful remnant of true believing Israelites who were genuinely sorry for their sins (which ultimately included King Hezekiah, cf. Jer. 26:19). In his first message, Micah promised that one day God would regather this faithful remnant to the land, and care for them like a shepherd over his sheep (cf. Mic. 2:12). In his second message, Micah promised that God would give them a better kingdom, characterized by peace and prosperity (cf. Mic. 4:3-4), and ruled by a godly king from both eternity and Bethlehem (cf. Mic. 5:2). In his third message, Micah promised that God would not be angry forever, but would instead cast the sins of His faithful people into the depths of the sea (cf. Mic. 7:19). It’s no wonder that in the end Micah plays off of his own name by asking the question, “Who is a God like You?” (Mic. 7:18).
As you teach through this wonderful text, you have the distinct privilege of pointing out the one who fulfills Micah’s message of hope: the Lord Jesus Christ—who is the good shepherd of His sheep (cf. John 10:11), the godly king from eternity and Bethlehem (cf. John 1:1, Matt. 2:5-6), and the great high priest who expiated the sins of His people (cf. Heb. 10:11-12). The following outline is offered to assist. May God bless you with similar hope as you deliver this book verse by verse to others.
The Triumph of Judgment from the Lord (Micah 1:1-2:13)
The Source of Judgment (Mic. 1:1-4)
The Reason for Judgment (Mic. 1:5-7)
The Extent of Judgment (Mic. 1:8-16)
The People of Judgment (Mic. 2:1-2)
The Certainty of Judgment (Mic. 2:3-5)
The Denial of Judgment (Mic. 2:6-11)
The Savior from Judgment (Mic. 2:12-13)
The Triumph of Justice from the Lord (Micah 3:1-5:15)
An Unrighteous Kingdom (Mic. 3:1-12)
A Righteous Kingdom (Mic. 4:1-8)
A Righteous King (Mic. 4:9-5:15)
The Triumph of Joy from the Lord (Micah 6:1-7:20)
A Case against Israel (Mic. 6:1-5)
A Correction to Israel (Mic. 6:6-8)
A Calamity upon Israel (Mic. 6:9-16)
A Conclusion about Israel (Mic. 7:1-6)
A Confession from Israel (Mic. 7:7-10)
A Compassion for Israel (Mic. 7:11-20)