Micah was an unpopular prophet. Even in our day, as a member of the “Minor Prophets,” his book is often glossed over in favor of something more exciting and dramatic like Isaiah or Jeremiah. If it weren’t for Micah 5:2 in which Bethlehem is singled out as the birthplace of the Messiah, it is likely few of us would come into much contact with this book.
Micah’s unpopularity stemmed from his message. Although his detractors are nameless, even to this day, at the time they were the kings of cool. For a fee they would say the most wonderful things about their listeners—stating that their message was coming directly from God. Micah also claimed his message was from God. But unless God is guilty of doublespeak (Titus 1:2 says He’s not), that would mean that either Micah or his opponents were lying.
Micah’s message did not come with a price tag, and it didn’t contain the most positive words for his hearers. He recognized that his opponents were popular, but he argued their message was false—flattering compliments in exchange for a full belly and comfortable clothes. Micah’s message was entirely unflattering and he likely suffered for it. In comparison to the false prophets, he said,
As for me, however, I am filled with power by the Spirit of the Lord, with justice and courage, to proclaim to Jacob his rebellion and to Israel his sin. [Micah 3:8 HCSB]
In our day, a message about sin and rebellion is not popular. Instead preachers are encouraged to proclaim a message about the power of positive thinking. That kind of thinking will not lead to true repentance and faith that our righteous and holy God demands from us rebels and sinners.
We must stand firm to proclaim the gospel—all of it. Without recognition of our sinful condition, we can never trust in Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. There is no grace where there is no acknowledgment that it is needed.The false prophets required food and drink, money and material things, before they would share their message. Micah required one thing—the Spirit of the Lord. It was the Spirit of God that gave him power, justice, and courage to stand firm with the message that Judah and Israel were under the condemnation of God for their sin.