Micah was a country boy, from a place about 20 miles south west of Jerusalem. He prophesied during the late eighth century, ending in the reign of Hezekiah, who heard Micah’s call and acted upon it, bringing religious reform and justice to God’s people.
The name ‘Micah’ means ‘who is like God’, an idea picked up at the end of the book. Having condemned God’s people for their (many and varied) sins, pronounced punishment upon them, and shown them the way of God’s holiness, Micah ends with one of the strongest statements of God’s mercy and faithfulness in the Old Testament. ‘Who is a God like you,’ Micah asks, ‘who pardons sin...? You do not stay angry for ever but delight to show mercy’ (Micah 7.18).
Micah presents a wonderful vision of the future, contrasted starkly with the present reality of sin. Put another way, he knew and could see the coming of God’s punishment – but also that it would not be God’s final word. In this way the lens of Micah’s prophecy focuses on his own historical situation, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the last days when ‘the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established’ (Micah 4.1).
However, like all the prophets, Micah is concerned less with a vision of the future than challenging and inspiring the people of God to live as they should: to love mercy, act justly, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6.8).