(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
So, Micah is covering and written in the same time as Hosea and Isaiah. And Micah is basically a warning of judgment against Samaria and Judah. And God is outraged because His people are doing this unthinkable thing; they've combined Temple worship with the worship of idols. These are people that would actually worship, stop and worship an idol on their way to the Temple. It’s a shocking ability for us to have duplicitous hearts, and Micah is in the Bible because it mirrors our struggle. You can confess allegiance to the Lord and disobey Him almost at the same time.
You may be driving your family to Sunday morning service; you're going there to celebrate the grace you've been given, and you’re screaming and yelling at your children on the way! You are a person of absolute un-grace; you are absolutely contradicting the very thing that you say you want to celebrate, and your life is about. Micah pictures a struggle that is in all of us.
And so, what would you say about the gospel and judgment? Well, here's what's really important to understand and it travels through all of these prophets, that warnings of judgment are always grace. Because if all God wanted to do was to judge us, He wouldn’t warn us first, He would just judge us. Whenever God announces His judgment, why is He doing that? To give us a chance to listen, and to see, and to confess, and to turn. The core message then of Micah is that this righteous Judge is also a tender Savior, and He will not forsake His righteous requirement in order to deliver His mercy. But He will not forsake His mercy to be a Judge.
I love how this begins to culminate the crescendo here in Micah. Let me read for you, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be the ruler of Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days. Therefore, he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall draw secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace.”
Do you know when that passage was quoted? It was quoted by the wise men when nervous King Herod was wondering where is this One, “Who has been born King of the Jews?” Pretty amazing! A direct prophecy in the midst of this warning of judgment of the exact place of the birth of this Shepherd King who would come!
You see in the midst of the judgment, God holds out the hope that there's a Shepherd coming who will draw His people back, and He will rule His people in righteousness. Running right alongside of the warnings of judgment are the themes of mercy and grace and a very specific promise of Jesus. Jesus would be the Shepherd; Jesus would be the King. And His methodology of being that would be that He would be the Lamb, who would pay the penalty that would open the floodgates of mercy so that people would have a Shepherd and have a King forever!