Theological Themes in Micah
• Acquiring God’s favor. How does one earn favor with God? Many have tried to do so by offering sacrifices of one kind or another. God makes it clear in an often quoted passage (6:6-8) that God is unimpressed by religious ritual, but wants people to be just, merciful, loving, and humble in their walk with God.
• Chosen people. What does it mean to be God’s chosen people? Does that bring immunity from the consequences of sinful behavior? Micah says no. God’s promises of protection are not guarantees that apply regardless of the people’s behavior.
• Context for hope. Is there a time when it is inappropriate to speak words of hope? False assurance will not make matters better. Rather, they may serve only to intensify denial of a reality that needs to be changed.
• False prophets. Micah severely criticizes those who preach and teach only what people want to hear, more concerned about preserving their paycheck than searching for God’s truth. Throughout the Bible–as in our own day–the difficult task remains: to distinguish between true and false prophets.
• God’s control of all events. Is everything that happens God’s will? Do the Assyrians and Babylonians, who come to destroy the nations of Israel and Judah was the name of Jacob's fourth son and one of the 12 tribes. More, know that they are acting on God’s behalf to punish an unfaithful people? How does God’s will connect with human freedom to sin? For the prophets, God moves actively in history, but the unfolding of events also depends upon human participation, for good or ill.
• Justice of God. When in exile, many asked questions about God’s justice. The book of Micah wants to make the case that God is just and that there are good reasons for Israel and Judah to be punished. The people have brought their terrible fate on themselves. They are to blame, not God.
• Leaders have special responsibility. A whole nation can be dragged down by the actions of those who are supposed to be leaders. Merchants who cheat, political rulers who are more concerned for themselves than their people, religious leaders who cater to the wants of their constituents rather than the word of God–all of these contribute to the downfall of the ordinary citizen and the nation as a whole.