After the death of Azariah (Uzziah), his son Jotham becomes the next king of Judah. “And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done (although he did not enter the temple of the Lord). But still the people acted corruptly.”
So the Lord came to Micah “in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.” Micah is from a small town in southwest Judah and is a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah. “Micah may have spoken these words of judgment shortly before Israel was captured by Assyria in 722 BC” (OYCB).
Micah begins his prophecy by calling all the people of the earth to listen. He says judgment is coming from the Lord for all the sins of the house of Israel. He specifically calls out Samaria and Jerusalem because they are the capitals of Israel and Judah. Micah is foretelling the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians and the future invasion of Judah by the Babylonians. Micah mourns the thought of his people in exile.
After the death of Jotham, his son Ahaz becomes the next king of Judah, “and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord, as his father David had done. For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made molded images for the Baals. He burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and burned his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. And he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.”
During the reign of king Ahaz, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel join forces, and they attack Judah. The Lord delivers Judah into the hands of their enemies “because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers.” At this time the Assyrian Empire is gaining power, so instead of trusting the Lord, Ahaz sends messengers to the king of Assyria asking him to save him from the hand of the king of Syria and the king of Israel. “And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and sent it as a present to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria heeded him; for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus and took it, carried its people captive to Kir, and killed Rezin.”
When Israel takes two hundred thousand captives from Judah to Samaria, the Lord rebukes Israel for zealously attacking Judah — “Look, because the Lord God of your fathers was angry with Judah, He has delivered them into your hand; but you have killed them in a rage that reaches up to heaven. And now you propose to force the children of Judah and Jerusalem to be your male and female slaves; but are you not also guilty before the Lord your God? Now hear me, therefore, and return the captives, whom you have taken captive from your brethren, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.” So Israel releases the captives to return home.
The Lord sends Isaiah and his son Shear-Jashub (whose name means ”a remnant shall return”) to Ahaz to tell him not to fear his enemies and to trust the Lord to protect Judah, David’s bloodline. Isaiah says to him, “If you will not believe, you will not be established.” The Lord is going to accomplish His plans no matter what. The Lord said that Jerusalem would not be destroyed at this time and it wasn’t. However, Ahaz does not receive blessings from the Lord because he did not trust in God to deliver, instead he trusted in man, the king of Assyria.
Isaiah says, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.” The immediate fulfillment of this prophecy is that the kings of Syria and Israel will be defeated; but the magnificent long term fulfillment is the birth of Jesus by the virgin Mary whom they will call Immanuel, which means “God with us”. (Matthew 1:20-23).
Isaiah goes on to warn Ahaz of Assyria’s power and the future destruction of the land by the Assyrians, the nation King Ahaz trusts for protection instead of the Lord. More from Isaiah tomorrow, so keep reading. (2 Kings 15:32-38, 2 Chronicles 27:1-9, Micah 1:1-16, 2 Kings 16:1-9, 2 Chronicles 28:1-15, Isaiah 7:1-25)