If you enjoy watching television courtroom dramas like Matlock or reading the latest John Grisham novel, you know that (at least in fictional stories) things typically turn out well and justice wins! In real life, sadly, that isn’t always the case. The Civil Rights era, for example, was filled with injustice everywhere—especially in the courts.
The first chapter of Micah presents a sort of courtroom drama, in which God acts as the plaintiff’s attorney, the judge, the jury, and the witness. The witness is terrifying—God Himself descends from the heavens: “The mountains melt beneath him, and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like waters rushing down a slope” (v. 4).
The charges were serious—God’s people had broken the covenant He made with them, worshiping other gods. God’s judgment is always just, of that we can be sure (Ps. 7:11). Nevertheless, this judgment was fierce—God would destroy Samaria (the capital city of Israel), together with its idols. The prophet’s response was harrowing—he will “weep and wail” and “go about barefoot and naked” (Mic. 1:8).
There are three players in this short passage: the cities of Samaria and Jerusalem who are on trial for idolatry; God who oversees and participates in the entire court process; and the prophet Micah who stands in the gallery lamenting the judgment that God pours out.
As we read Micah 1:2–9, it is helpful to place ourselves into this courtroom drama. Of course, we cannot assume the role of God in this story or any story for that matter. The question before us, then, is whether we play the role of the prophet Micah or the cities of Jerusalem and Samaria. Micah’s example challenges us to turn our hearts toward the true God and worship Him alone.
>> Biblical values, not our cultural or personal opinions, should shape our sense of justice. We must love what God loves and hate what He hates.
Teach us to love what is good and to hate what is evil. Purge the habitual sins and idolatry that we have tolerated in our lives. Move us to weep with Micah rather than join others in sin.