Micah 3:1–2, 5–7, 9–12comment (0)
May 14, 2009
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Micah 3:1–2, 5–7, 9–12
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Corruption: A Path to Nowhere
Micah 3:1–2, 5–7, 9–12
Adults typically live in a competitive environment. People are prone to adopt the goal of gaining all the material and social advantages possible rather than the goal of fulfilling God-given responsibilities. They thus may mislead and exploit others rather than relate to them as servants. In selfishness, they may casually ignore God-given responsibilities (1) to compassionately help others, (2) to set a godly example, (3) to proclaim and live by God’s truth, (4) to operate ethically and (5) to promote justice. The Lord wants people, in ways pleasing to Him, to fulfill the responsibilities He has assigned to them. This week’s lesson illustrates what happens when we do not handle our responsibilities as God desires.
In Micah’s day, among God’s people, both the secular and religious leaders had the responsibility of providing spiritual leadership for their nation. However, the political, business and religious leaders had entered into corrupt conspiracies to take unfair advantage of people. Greed and violence dominated their thoughts and actions. Today’s believers should fulfill their responsibilities at work and in the community in ways pleasing to God.
Act on What You Know (1–2)
Micah’s first message was directed to the governmental leaders, those entrusted with the administration of justice and the carrying out of God’s law. They were the ones who ought to have known what was right and upheld it; that was their God-given job. But they were the ones who stood justice on its head, who hated good and loved evil. They were like cannibals preying upon their brethren, like one butchering a carcass. The Lord rebuked the civic leaders for knowingly perverting their responsibilities by exploiting His people.
All believers function in the role of leader in the sense of setting an example and guiding particular people who may be in or beyond their family, work, social and church environment. We can please God in fulfilling our God-given responsibilities by upholding the ethical standard He has revealed in His Word.
Avoid Materialism’s Lure (5–7)
Micah next directed his message to false prophets who purported to be God’s spokesmen, while, at the same time, leading His people into error. The prophets were to remind people of how He wanted them to live. But the prophets would not speak of His condemnation. Instead they preached a promise of prosperity and material gain, prophesying only as they were paid. Whoever paid them would receive a message of peace and prosperity. They were unwilling to speak out against injustice or urge the civic leaders to do what was right. Consequently whatever their chosen method of foretelling the future, they would find themselves silenced. For not speaking out against evil, they would not speak at all. The Lord rebuked the prophets for shaping their message in ways to promote their own material prosperity rather than providing godly spiritual enlightenment. We today can please God in handling our God-given tasks by focusing on our assignment rather than on material gain.
Affirm Accountability (9–12)
Micah’s climactic third message of judgment added priests to the previously addressed civic leaders and false prophets. These groups of leaders gave the desired results in exchange for compensation. All were money-mad. Bribery was particularly prevalent. Society was thoroughly corrupt; leadership’s behavior was an offense to God. Whatever may be said about morality, religion was booming. But there was no basis for the confidence that no disaster would befall Jerusalem because God’s temple was there. Briefly and bluntly, Micah set out the consequences of this corruption. The city and temple would be destroyed. This destruction of Jerusalem did not take place until well over a century later.
It is obvious that the offenders’ denial of wrongdoing and presumption of God’s help did not avert His judgment. The cultural acceptance of godless practices does not mean God accepts them. We can please God in fulfilling our God-given responsibilities by affirming our accountability to Him.