Hear, O peoples, all of you; Listen, O earth and all it contains, And let the Lord GOD be a witness against you, The Lord from His holy temple.Micah 1:2(NASB)
Although he delivered a message of judgement to the people of Israel because of their ongoing rebellious idolatry, Micah also foretold of Israel's final restoration and the many blessings they would enjoy, once they repented of their national sin and returned to the God of their forefathers.
The Lord had entered into a conditional covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai, but the people broke their promises and Micah appears as a prosecuting attorney who presents the evidence of Israel's broken covenant and shocking apostasy.
"Hear, O peoples - ALL of you," were his opening words. Micah was presenting God's case against both the dispersed, northern tribes of apostate Israel and their southern sisters in the scattered kingdom of rebellious Judah: "Hear, O peoples - Give ear, ALL of You. Listen, O earth and all it contains."
God was proclaiming His gross dissatisfaction with both Israel and Judah, in the hearing of the whole earth: "Hear, O peoples - and let the Lord God, the sovereign Lord of all, be a witness against you." Both the northern kingdom of Samaria and the southern kingdom, which was based in Jerusalem, had adopted the apostate ways of the world.
All the nations of the earth were summoned to hear the Lord's judgement in this heavenly court case where God, as the prosecuting counsel, bore witness of their failure "from within His holy temple." The nations with whom they committed spiritual idolatry, would eventually be the ones that humbled them and scattered them to the far corners of the earth. The nations would be used as God's instrument of punishment - and yet, they too would not escape the wrath of God for the evil they accomplished... and God's judgement must follow.
The Lord, in His sovereignty, summoned both Israel and the nations of the world to hear a message of judgement in this book of Micah. He called them, from His holy temple, to witness His accusations against His covenant people: "Hear, O peoples - all of you, and let the Lord God be a witness against you - the Lord from His holy temple."
Israel alone has a special relationship with the Lord. They had the Law and the prophets... and to them was given the glory in the Temple. They were adopted as sons, and made God's covenant people at Sinai. They were the nation whose God is the Lord, and through them was to be born the promised Messiah Who would save His people from their sins. And yet they rebelled against their God. They disobeyed His Word and made false alliances with the pagans. Finally, they were summoned for judgement by the sovereign God of the universe - and the nations of the world.
The Word of the Lord stands fast in heaven and cannot be shaken and so Micah the prophet was caused to write of this future judgement - in the past tense - as though it had already happened. But as one continues to read the book of Micah, we discover that God is long suffering and very merciful, and that blessings will one day flow... following His anger. The nations will be judged for the way that they treated His people and eventually, goat nations will be separated from sheep nations.
Despite the punishment for their sin, Micah records that Israel is also given a promise of blessing. And although Micah was a prophet that wept and mourned for the sin of the nation and the coming destruction upon his people, he also was caused to rejoice that God would once again be the good Shepherd of Israel - Who would wipe away every tear from their eye.
Prophecy is given for our learning... and the prophecies of Micah take us from the past Assyrian invasion in the north, to the Babylonian captivity of Judah in the south... dictating that the Word of the Lord never fails. But he tells of a future judgement of both Israel and the nations, when the wrath of God will be poured out on a God-hating, Christ-rejecting, sinful world, followed by great restoration for those that trust in the Lord, repent of their sins, and turn to Christ for the salvation of their soul.
Time is short and those who do not know the Lord would do well to seek Him with all their heart - while those who know the Lord should become increasingly active in sharing the gospel of salvation with all who are lost in their sins and without hope in the world.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this prophecy of Micah. How amazing to know that You are a God Who declares the end from the beginning - and just as biblical prophecies have been fulfilled with utmost precision in the past - I believe that all future prophecies will similarly be fulfilled, to Your praise and glory. I pray that before that great and terrible 'Day of the Lord', many would come to trust in Christ for salvation. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.