This is a frightful picture (1-4) of the political and religious leaders in Israel and Judah cannibalising their people, metaphorically speaking. They were devouring them instead of defending them. Again and again in history we have seen the kind of leadership which is cruel to people and not kind; where those in power care only for themselves and not for those entrusted to them. The people of these kingdoms could not find justice where they should have been able to locate it. Isn’t justice in your job description? But you skin my people alive. You rip the meat off their bones. You break up the bones, chop the meat, and throw it in a pot for cannibal stew. The Message. The leaders doing these terrible things, however, will not get away with it. Sin that is unconfessed and unrepented will be a barrier to prayer (4). The time’s coming, though, when these same leaders will cry out for help to GOD, but he won’t listen. The Message. There will come a day, Micah says, when these leaders will find themselves ‘devoured’ by the Assyrians and they will give God a call for emergency help. But they will find a ‘dead’ tone on the line. There will be no response. Those who show no mercy cannot expect to receive it. (Verses 9 -11a expand on the theme of the leaders ‘skinning the people alive’. There you will find a list of some of the evil things they were doing. It makes disturbing reading)
There is also a devastating word for the false prophets (5-7; see 1 Tim. 6:9, 10); those who sell their messages for profit. They tell people what they want to hear if the price is right, and serve up what they don’t want if they don’t stump up the right amount of cash (or food!) Judicial blindness will come upon them from God: Here is GOD’s Message to the prophets, the preachers who lie to my people: ”For as long as they’re well paid and well fed, the prophets preach, ‘Isn’t life wonderful! Peace to all!’ But if you don’t pay up and jump on their bandwagon, their ‘God bless you’ turns into ‘God damn you.’ Therefore, you’re going blind. You’ll see nothing. You’ll live in deep shadows and know nothing. The sun has set on the prophets. They’ve had their day; from now on it’s night. Visionaries will be confused, experts will be all mixed up. They’ll hide behind their reputations and make lame excuses to cover up their God-ignorance.” The Message.
Micah, by contrast, was a true prophet of God, having insight into the real nature of things (8ff). He both saw and spoke clearly. He was anointed by the Spirit of God to spell out what was wrong and announce where it would lead. He had both insight and foresight from God. The leaders were behaving how Micah describes in (1-3, 9-11a) All the while posturing and pretending dependence on GOD: ”We’ve got GOD on our side. He’ll protect us from disaster.” Because of people like you, Zion will be turned back into farmland, Jerusalem end up as a pile of rubble, and instead of the Temple on the mountain, a few scraggly scrub pines. The Message. Micah saw through their empty words; the futility of their false confidence. By the power of the Spirit He courageously spoke out the truth to unwilling listeners. Nothing needs more of the Spirit of God than the preaching which declares to men their sins. No one is so thoroughly hated as the candid friend. Just because conscience attests the truth of our utterances, the soul of the sinner resents our plain speaking. You may condemn sin generally as much as you like; but when your hand comes near the broken bone, or the diseased flesh, then there is at once a violent outcry…We need might to withstand the opposition we shall inevitably meet. F.B.Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p.352.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I may boldly speak your Word of truth to all.