FTC Preaching Guide: Micah

by Joseph Lanier October 20, 2020


1. Introduction
2. Preaching Outlines
3. Key Themes and Motifs
4. Problem Passages
5. Commentaries and Resources
6. Preaching Christ from the Book
7. Why You Should Preach This Book
8. Downloadable PDF Version

1. Introduction

Whether in sermons or daily Bible intake, the book of Micah, along with the other eleven minor prophets, is often overlooked. There may be several reasons for this. Some say the prophets are all basically saying the same thing. Others say they are too confusing or too difficult to understand. Still others may overlook these books due to their explicit focus on injustice and salvation. Whatever the reason, the book ought not be neglected as it contains the very words of our Triune God. As such, they are treasures and blessedness forevermore.

Micah is a beautiful book and a literary masterpiece. In three movements, God speaks through Micah his word of judgment and salvation. In fact, Micah is a prime example of the Hebrew poetic form of intensification. The themes of judgment and salvation are repeated three times over, intensifying in their pulse and gravity, concluding in a crescendo of the grandeur of the Trinity’s pardoning of iniquity.

2. Preaching Outlines 

Click to view outline:

Mark Dever | Sandy Wilson | Joseph Lanier

Mark Dever

  1. Micah 1:1-2:13 – Does God Get Mad?
    • Does God get angry?
    • Why is God angry?
    • How does God show his anger?
    • Is anger all there is?
  2. Micah 3:1-5:15 – Does God Get Even?
    • To what does God get even?
    • How does God get even?
    • Does God always get even?
  3. Micah 6:1-7:20 – Does God Forgive?
    • Why do we need God’s forgiveness?
    • What if God doesn’t forgive us?
    • Will God forgive us?
    • How can I be forgiven by God?
    • Why would God forgive at all?

Sandy Wilson

  1. Micah 1:1-16 – God Sees and Judges His People’s Wicked Influence
    • God communicates through an outsider.
    • God commands the world’s attention.
    • God convicts us of our sin.
    • God condemns false religion.
    • God cries over His people’s impending judgment.
  2. Micah 2:1-11 – God Sees and Judges His People’s Wicked Intentions
    • The business community is crooked.
    • The clergy are chicken.
  3. Micah 2:12-13 – God Sees and Saves His Believing People
    • He gathers the remnant.
    • He gathers us as one flock.
    • He delivers us.
    • He goes before us.
    • He rules over us.
  4. Micah 3:1-12 – God Hates Lying, Cheating, and Stealing
    • Leaders have become ‘cannibalistic.’
    • Prophets preach for money.
    • Everybody can be bought—and they act presumptuously.
  5. Micah 4:1-5:15 – God Loves His People and He will be Gracious to Us
    • The Church will be exalted.
    • The Church’s King will be restored.
    • The Church’s Remnant will be saved.
  6. Micah 6:1-16 – Our Ungodliness Leads to God’s Judgment
    • He indicts His people.
    • He convicts His people.
    • He sentences His people.
  7. Micah 7:1-6 – God’s Judgment Leads to Our Misery
    • Fruitlessness
    • Ungodliness
  8. Micah 7:7-20 – Our Misery Leads to God’s Mercy
    • We never lose hope.
    • We never switch sides.
    • We never cease to be amazed at God’s forgiveness and faithfulness.

Joseph Lanier

  1. God’s Word of Judgment and Salvation – Micah 1:1-2:13
    • God’s Word of Judgment (1:1-2:11)
      • Oppression
      • Idolatry
      • False prophets
    • God’s Word of Salvation (2:12-13)
      • The Shepherd’s work of gathering
      • The King’s work of rescue
  2. God’s Word of Condemnation and Restoration – Micah 3:1-5:15
    • God’s Word of Condemnation (3:1-12)
      • Cannibalism
      • Injustice
      • Destruction
    • God’s Word of Restoration (4:1-5:15)
      • After labor pains, restoration will come to all nations through Zion.
      • After exile, restoration will come through the eternal king.
  3. God’s Word of Indictment and Hope – Micah 6:1-7:20
    • God’s Word of Indictment (6:1-7:7)
      • Injustice
      • Corruption
      • False worship
    • God’s Word of Hope (7:8-20)
      • Confession of sin, faith in God, and delight in the Light.
      • Eternal shepherd gathers his people from all nations.
      • God is totally unique because of his steadfast love and forgiveness.

3. Key Themes and Motifs 

  1. Sin, Oppression, and Justice
    • Because the people of God lost sight of who God is and what he had done for them in generations past, idolatry and injustice ran rampant. People were taken advantage of, abused, and oppressed. The religious leaders were falsely proclaiming the Word of the Lord for their own selfish gain. Thus, as one loses sight of who God is and does not properly worship him, love him, and walk in his ways, the idolatry of self and injustice towards neighbor follow.
    • As a result, God judges them though exile and temple destruction. The promised land is lost to foreign invaders, the dwelling place of God is destroyed, and they are dispersed from one another in exile. These are a means to an end. God must cleanse and purge the people so that he might save his remnant.

  2. Temple, Nations, and Worship
    • With the temple being made just another hill in the forest and the people scattered throughout the world, the Lord is going to rebuild Zion. His people from all nations will flow to Him so that he will teach them his ways and they will walk in his paths. Thus, the true people of God, those with confidence in the Lord and his promises, will walk in the name of the Lord their God. This gathered people is made up of the lame, afflicted, and oppressed from all nations.

  3. Messiah, Remnant, and Israelite Credo
    • God accomplishes this restoration through the Davidic Shepherd-King. The Lord declares that a future ruler will be born in Bethlehem. But this King is no ordinary King; he is from of old, from ancient of days. This unique King is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, who takes on flesh to defeat sin and death, thus leading his remnant out of enemy bondage and he shepherds them in the eternal love and protection of the Trinity.
    • Thus, the total uniqueness of the Lord’s character and nature is what Micah preaches to Israel for them to return to covenant fidelity. And it is the Lord himself who is their foundation and assurance of such future remission of sin and salvation from death. Micah is declaring that there is absolutely no one like the Lord because he can actually save and forgive sins—unlike the mute, man-made idols of Israel and her nations. The Lord chose, initiated, and sustained his people throughout all history—He is not contingent on anything outside of himself. Israel is dependent on the God who is life in and of himself. Thus, the LORD himself is the source of their hope because he is underived and self-sufficient (Exod. 3:14).
    • Furthermore, the language of Micah 7:18-19 is based on the Israelite Credo in Exodus 34:6-7. There, God reveals his glory to Moses by explaining his name as full of grace and truth and steadfast in love. As God the Son takes on flesh, John says He is the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14). The glory revealed to Moses has taken on flesh and is steadfast love embodied. In the only-begotten Son, our sins have been cast into the depths of the sea.

4. Problem Passages 

With the exception of a few text critical notes, the book of Micah is fairly straightforward.[1] However, a couple thematic issues may be addressed: 1.) The justice of God in judgment and 2) the nature of the “Ruler in Israel” in 5:2.

First, Micah’s portrayal of God may seem contradictory at first, or even describe God as changing. In the three movements, God is both judging and rescuing, condemning and saving. However, Micah, and the rest of Scripture, is clear that what is going on is not change or fluctuation in God. Rather, divine justice is being rendered: judgment on sin and sinners. Those who practice injustice, abuse of power, oppression, and idolatry will receive the judgment of God. The change occurs in man. Those who walk in the name of the Lord their God will have their sin pardoned and forgiven. The divine judgment will be satisfied by the eternal Ruler in Israel who pleads our cause, executes judgement, and brings us into his light.

Second, the nature of the ruler in Israel is considered. What does it mean that his coming forth is from of old, from ancient of days? To be sure, the eternal plan of God orchestrates the use of David’s throne and lineage to bring about His redemption. Familial language is present. However, it is emphatically more than this. The Trinitarian subject matter and context of Scripture provides a hermeneutic and “the retina that allows us to see the text’s ontological relation to its subject matter.”[2] The identity of the coming Davidic ruler who assumes David’s throne is the eternally begotten Son who shares in the divine essence with Father and Spirit. It is Jesus Christ, the true and better Davidic king, who will stand and shepherd his people in the strength of the Lord (God the Spirit; Luke 4:14, 18), in the majesty of his name of the Lord his God (God the Father; Heb. 1:3), thus providing security for his remnant from all nations.

5. Helpful Commentaries and Resources 

Pastoral Commentaries

Calvin, John. Calvin’s Commentaries: Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum. Volume XIV. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009.

Phillips, Richard D. Reformed Expositional Commentary: Jonah and Micah. Phillipsburg: P&R, 2010.

Shepherd, Michael B. A Commentary on the Book of the Twelve. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2018.

VanGemeren, Willem. Interpreting the Prophetic Word: An Introduction to the Prophetic Literature of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.

Technical Commentaries

Dempster, Stephen. The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary: Micah. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017.

Gignilliat, Mark. International Theological Commentary: Micah. London: T&T Clark, 2019.

McComiskey, Thomas. The Minor Prophets: Obadiah, Jonah, Micha, Nahum, and Habakkuk. Volume 2. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1993.

Waltke, Bruce. Micah: A Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.

Other Resources

Billings, J. Todd. The Word of God for the People of God. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.

House, Paul. Old Testament Theology. Downers Grove: IVP, 1998.

Swain, Scott. Trinity, Revelation, and Reading. London: T&T Clark, 2011.

6. How to Preach Christ from Micah 

Micah is loaded with ways to preach Christ. Like all of the divinely inspired Old Testament, Micah has as its subject matter the Triune God himself. Of primary note, which has already been touched on above, is the Messianic Davidic Shepherd-King. This unique king will: assemble and lead his people out of bondage by breaking down the enemy walls (2:12-13), reestablish Mount Zion by gathering his people from all nations and teach them to walk in the ways of the LORD (4:1-8), shepherd his people in the strength of the LORD and majesty of the name of the LORD his God (5:4), be faithful to covenant (6:8), and come out of Egypt to plead our cause, vindicate us in his light, shame the enemy, shepherd us in a garden land, and have compassion on us as he casts all our sins into the depths of the sea (7:8-20).

The Messianic Davidic Shepherd-King is able to do all these things and more because there is absolutely no one like the underived, self-sufficient, covenant-keeping, iniquity-treading, and liberally-compassionate Triune God. He is the source of goodness, justice, and salvation. The Triune God himself is life, light, and love himself.

7. Why You Should Preach Through Micah

  1. The book of Micah declares needed correction against injustice, oppression, idolatry, and forgetfulness.
  2. The book of Micah declares that there is always hope in the Lord despite circumstances.
  3. The book of Micah declares the Ruler of Israel is eternal and will bring us into his light.
  4. The book of Micah declares that there is no one comparable to God because he pardons iniquity, delights in steadfast love, and is unchangeably faithful.

8. Downloadable PDF available soon.

[1] For an apt summary of such notes, see Stephen Dempster, The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary: Micah. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017, 49-51, and Bruce Waltke, Micah: A Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007, 16-19.

[2] Gignilliat, Mark. International Theological Commentary: Micah. London: T&T Clark, 2019.

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