Micah 6

The Word Made Fresh

1Listen to the word of the LORD:
Arise! Take your complaint to the mountains,
and let the hills hear what you have to say.
2Listen, mountains, to the reasons the LORD accuses you.
Pay attention, foundations of the earth,
for the LORD has a problem with the people,
and is going to argue with Israel:
3“What have I done to you? You are my people.
How have I bothered you? Tell me!
4I brought you out of Egypt and set you free from slavery.
I sent Moses and Aaron and Miriam to help you.
5Don’t you remember the plans King Balak of Moab had for you?
Or how Balaam son of Beor answered him?
And what happened from Shittim to Gilgal?
Don’t you remember how the LORD rescued you?”
6What should I bring before the LORD?
How can I present myself to God on high?
Should I come with burnt offerings of year-old calves?
7Will thousands of rams please the LORD?
Will ten thousand rivers of oil?
Must I give my firstborn child for my mistakes –
the fruit of my body for the sins of my soul?
8 God has already told you, mortal, what is good.
What does the LORD want from you but to be just,
to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God?
9The LORD’s voice is heard in the city
and it is wise to fear hearing your name mentioned:
The LORD says, “Listen, people of Israel!
10Can I just ignore the wickedness in the land,
and the small, accursed offering?
11Can I accept rigged scales and dishonest weights?
12The rich are violent. The people are liars
who speak only to deceive.
13That is why I have decided to strike you down.
I will make you taste poverty because of your sins.
14Oh, you shall eat, but you won’t have enough,
and hunger will gnaw at your belly.
You might squirrel your wealth away,
but it will be wasted because I will hand you over to the sword.
15You will scatter seed, but you’ll never have a harvest.
You will tromp on the olives, but never be anointed with oil.
You will tread the grapes, but have no wine to drink.
16All of this is because you have obeyed Omri,
and have embraced the actions of the house of Ahab.
You have listened to their advice.
So, I will see to it that you are godforsaken,
and your inhabitants an object of ridicule,
and you will bear the contempt of my people.


1-2: Here is the familiar court scene where Israel is summoned to hear God’s accusations, and God offers them the opportunity to mount a defense.

3-5: God recites their history together, from Egypt to Gilgal. The story of Balaam, the diviner who is paid to curse Israel but blesses them instead, is told in Numbers 22-24. Shittim was a locale in Moab where Israelite men engaged in immoral sexual liaisons with Moabite women, resulting in a plague that killed 24,000 (Number 25:1-9; also mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:6-8, and referenced again in the New Testament at Revelation 2:14). Gilgal was the first camp of the Israelites when they arrived in the Promised Land. Joshua erected an altar there to commemorate their crossing of the Jordan River (Joshua 4:19-24).

6-8: Verse 8 is one of the most important verses in the Old Testament that deals with our relationship with God. Religious rites and rituals aside, the virtues of justice, kindness, and humility is what God wants of us.

9-15: The verdict is announced. The sentence is severe. The punishment will be total deprivation and destruction.

16: Omri was the Israelite king who moved the capital to Samaria. His reign is summarized in 1 Kings 16:21-28. His son Ahab succeeded him. Under Ahab the worship of Baal became widespread as a result of his marriage to the Sidonian princess Jezebel (see 1 Kings 16:29-34).


What, really, do we worship? Is it the LORD, or is it simply the gains we might receive by going through the motions? That was the underlying fault of the people of Israel during the time of Micah. We should worship the LORD simply for who God is and what God has done, not because of what God might yet do for us. A savior is already provided! Who could ask for more?