Introduction: Does everyone need hope? The obvious answer is, “yes.”
But, hope is a funny thing. You don’t need hope if you are satisfied
with how things are now. In Revelation 3:16 God says He wants to spit
out lukewarm people. God prefers us to be hot or cold. Does that mean
that God wants to spit out people who don’t need hope? Recall that
last week God sent the worm that killed the plant that gave Jonah
shade? Would God send “worms” into our life to put us in a posture
where we needed hope? If so, what kind of hope does God offer? Let’s
dive into our study of the book of Micah and find out!

  1. The Punishment Prophecy

    1. Read Micah 1:1. Who is the prophet? (Micah.)

      1. What is the subject of his prophecy? (God gave him a
        vision about the future of Jerusalem and Samaria.)

    2. Read Micah 1:2-5. Wait a minute! We learned in previous
      lessons that Judah consisted of the two southern tribes
      and Israel the northern ten tribes. Jerusalem was in
      Judah. Why is Judah being punished for the sins of Israel?
      (Israel has already been conquered by Assyria. Micah now
      lumps Judah and Israel together. Consider that he refers
      to “Jacob’s transgression,” and Jacob is the father of the
      sons who became the twelve tribes which made up both Judah
      and Israel.)

    3. Read Micah 2:3-4. What seems to be the worst of the
      punishment? (The taunting, the ridicule. We have all had
      unfortunate things happen in life. Our misfortune is eased
      by friends putting their arms around us to comfort us. It
      is easier if people are sympathetic. Here, those
      suffering are being taunted by others.)

      1. Why would God allow that? God is a God of love! (We
        have some clues. God says “you cannot save
        yourselves.” In the next section we are going to
        study the nature of their sins. We will see that they
        put their trust in themselves, either through the
        idols that they had made or through a rigged justice
        system. It is false pride and God strips it away.)

    4. Read Micah 2:5. Remember in verse 4 the problem was that
      the people lost their land, and undeserving people
      (traitors) got it. What does it mean to “divide the land
      by lot?” (Read Proverbs 16:33. Casting lots was a way to
      determine God’s will. It was a way for God to lead.
      Instead of God dividing the land among His people, now the
      enemies of God’s people will make that decision.)

  2. The Sin Problem

    1. Read Micah 2:6-7. What do other prophets predict? (They
      say bad things will not happen to the people. God does not
      get angry and He does not do such things.)

      1. Have you heard people say that judgment is
        inconsistent with a loving God? God’s loving nature
        does not allow for punishment? (Part of the sin
        problem for these people is their attitude: they did
        not believe that God would execute judgment on them.)

    2. Re-read Micah 2:7. What answer about judgment does God
      give in the last part of verse 7? (God distinguishes
      between those who are good and those who are evil. We
      know from the book of Job and from our experiences in life
      that bad things sometimes happen to good people. But, we
      also know that bad things happen more often to bad

    3. Read Micah 2:8. Often God warns about the rich abusing the
      poor. What is happening to the rich here? (God’s people
      are stealing from the rich.)

      1. How does God view abusing the rich? (Those who do
        this are enemies of God.)

    4. Read Micah 2:9. What other evil are these people doing?
      (They drive women and children from their homes. They
      deprive these people of the blessings God has given to

      1. This touches on a current public policy issue in a
        number of countries. People who are not rich argue
        that the rich should be taxed at a very high rate
        simply because they can afford it. What do these
        verses teach us about that? (God is against
        injustice. If the rich steal from the poor, God is
        against it. If the poor steal from the rich, God is
        against it. God says “do not take My blessings” from
        other people.)

    5. Read Micah 2:10. What is God’s word about the future?
      (God’s people have to leave. They have defiled and ruined
      the land. They have to go.)

    6. God says to His people, if you trust in other gods, if you
      mistreat others, judgment is coming whether you believe in
      it or not. Will these people need hope? (Yes, when our
      sins result in judgment, we become very aware of our need
      for hope. Let’s look at hope next.)

  3. Greatest Hope

    1. Read Micah 5:1. Has judgment started? (Yes!)

    2. Read Micah 5:2. What hope do we have here? (This is a
      prophecy about Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem!)

      1. Do you doubt that Jesus existed? Do you doubt that He
        is God? Consider Micah’s prophecy which pinpointed
        the place of His birth!

      2. Can you understand why Jesus’ disciples thought that
        He would overthrow the Romans and rule Israel?

        1. How do you understand the “will be Ruler over
          Israel” statement? (This must be a reference to
          the Second Coming, since Jesus did not “rule”
          in a traditional sense during His life here.)

    3. Read Micah 5:3. Who is the “she who is in labor gives
      birth?” (Mary, mother of Jesus. This predicts the way in
      which God becomes human and lives among us.)

      1. Why is Israel abandoned until then? (As we saw
        before, God’s people failed Him. Despite their
        unfaithfulness, God launched His heroic rescue plan.
        This gives hope!)

    4. Read Micah 5:4. Jesus is predicted to be like a shepherd.
      How does that encourage hope? (A shepherd protects. This
      protection comes in a God-level of strength, and gives us
      the ultimate security.)

    5. Read Micah 5:5-6. I’m sure that the scholars of Jesus’
      time considered these texts and wondered how they related
      to Jesus’ incarnation. Perhaps Jesus’ disciples thought
      that they were the seven to fifteen under-shepherds/leaders. How do you think these verses relate?
      (This seems to support the “warrior savior” view. But,
      since this did not happen in connection with Jesus, this
      either refers to a literal victory for Israel at the end
      of time or it means a spiritual victory for God’s people
      over the forces of evil. If “the Assyrian” refers to the
      evil forces opposed to God’s people, Jesus won the victory
      over sin and the forces of evil at the cross.)

    6. Read Micah 5:7-8. Are God’s people scattered today
      throughout the world? (Yes. To the extent that this refers
      to the Jews, that is absolutely true. To the extent that
      his refers to “spiritual Jews” (Christians), this is still

    7. Read Micah 5:9. On what is our hope based? (That God will
      deliver us! That we will be lifted up!)

    8. Read Micah 5:10-11. How is it helpful for our Deliver to
      destroy our chariots and our strongholds? That sounds like
      what the “bad guy” would do! (Chariots were state of the
      art military weapons. Strongholds were military defenses.
      God says I will destroy everything on which you rely –
      other than Me.)

    9. Read Micah 5:12-14. Why are these things being destroyed?
      (Again, these are things we rely upon instead of God.)

    10. Read Micah 5:15. Why, in the midst of a declaration of
      hope, do we find destruction? (Read Micah 6:8. God is
      looking for those who are faithful! He desires a people
      who will walk with Him.)

    11. Read Micah 7:18-19. What is the hope for sinners? (God
      will bury our sins “underfoot” and hurl them “into the
      depths of the sea.”)

      1. Why is that important? (Read Revelation 12:10-11.
        Satan accuses us. Jesus promises to bury our sins.)

    12. Friend, our God is both our Judge and our Redeemer. We
      need to keep both roles in mind. When we rely on other
      gods and disobey, we can expect judgment. But, with
      judgment comes hope. Hope in a God who will forgive us and
      rescue us and blot out our sins. Will you determine today
      to trust God and live a life in accord with His word?

  4. Next week: Trusting God’s Goodness (Habakkuk).