Study Guide Introduction

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Monday, May 18th

The Warm-up:

Why is it important for us to pause and reflect on what we’ve done, what we are planning to do and its impact or potential impact on others?

The Insights:

This week we finish our reflection on the Book of Micah. We end by asking the question, “what hope is there in the midst of the evil in the world?” The verse before today’s passage (Micah 6:8) revealed God’s expectations for humanity; to do justice, to be merciful and to live with a correct understanding of who we are in relation to God and others (humility). Today’s passage revealed how God’s people were living in light of these expectations, and it was not good. What followed were the consequences of what happened when greed, stubbornness and arrogance were standard operating procedures.

The Passage: Micah 6:9-16

Listen! The Lord is calling to the city— and to fear your name is wisdom—

“Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.

Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short ephah, which is accursed?

Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?

Your rich people are violent; your inhabitants are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully.

Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins.

You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty.

You will store up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword.

You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.

You have observed the statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house; you have followed their traditions.

Therefore, I will give you over to ruin and your people to derision; you will bear the scorn of the nations.”

The Questions:

  • Why would those living dishonestly, violently and selfishly never be satisfied or content?
  • What impact did this have on those around them?
  • Why would a God known for forgiveness refuse to “forget or acquit” those living this way?
    • How can this be a warning or wake up call for us today?

 

Tuesday, May 19th

The Warm-up:

How do you grieve when you see or experience brokenness around you?

The Insights:

What happens when you realize your tribe is broken? Your people are unjust, immoral and the best among you are no better than a fast growing, consuming source of pain. Where do you turn? Who do you look to? Today’s passage shares Micah’s views on his tribe.

The Passage: Micah 7:1-4a

What misery is mine!

I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave.

The faithful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains.

Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets.

Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire— they all conspire together.

The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.

The Questions:

  • Why is it important for us to recognize the patterns and rhythms of the culture we are a part of?
    • Being careful that we recognize our part in the culture, what should our response be if we or our culture are not lined up with Micah 6:8?
  • Where do you look to make things right when the best among you are the most corrupt?
    • Where do you think God is present when injustice and arrogance reign?

Wednesday, May 20th

The Warm-up:

How do hypocrisy, deceit and selfishness lead to doubt and confusion?

The Insights:

The last question from yesterday asked, “where do you look to make things right when the best among you are the most corrupt?” Today’s passage answers that question from Micah’s point of view. However, before Micah revealed who he turned to, he revealed how bad it had become. Even families were divided!

The Passage: Micah 7:4b-7

The day God visits you has come, the day your watchmen sound the alarm.

Now is the time of your confusion.

Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend.

Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips.

For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior;

my God will hear me.

The Questions:

  • Why do you think Micah called the season Israel was in the “time of confusion?”
  • What things or situations cause families to turn against one another?
  • Who did Micah turn to?
  • Do you think Israel’s situation would have been different if God was sought out first by the tribe?
  • What can you do to help create a culture where God comes first?

 

Thursday, May 21st

The Warm-up:

What does light do?

The Insights:

Today, we finally begin to answer the question “what hope is there in the midst of the evil in the world?” After Micah had painted an ugly picture of his reality, he revealed that his hope was in God. Specifically, God as savior (see Micah 7:7). In this passage Micah turned his focus to those who preyed on Israel’s brokenness.

The Passage: Micah 7:8-10

Do not gloat over me, my enemy!

Though I have fallen, I will rise.

Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause.

He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.

Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the Lord your God?”

My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.

The Questions:

  • What did Micah do as he waited for God’s deliverance?
  • In our own brokenness, what do we need to own and sit with while we wait for God’s deliverance?
  • When corruption and sin is exposed, what happens to those who were benefiting from them?
    • What did Micah warn would happen to those benefiting from Israel’s sin?

 

Friday, May 22nd

The Warm-up:

What are some things you have been delivered from that have allowed you to thrive?

The Insights:

Today’s passage builds upon the question we began to answer yesterday: “what hope is there in the midst of the evil in the world?” The answer is hope is found in God. That God would save and deliver. Adding to that is the idea that protection and growth come with deliverance. And, once others see the prosperity of those who have been saved, their deeds will be exposed prompting them to be a part of what God is doing!

The Passages: Micah 7:11-13

The day for building your walls will come,

the day for extending your boundaries.

In that day people will come to you

from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,

even from Egypt to the Euphrates

and from sea to sea

and from mountain to mountain.

The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants,

as the result of their deeds.

The Questions:

  • How does the promise of protection bring hope?
  • Why do growth and prosperity cause others to look at what they are doing?
    • What things have you abandoned or changed in order to be a part of what God is doing?
    • What can you do this week to better align yourself with what God is doing in and around you?

 

Saturday, May 23rd

The Warm-up:

How do fulfilled promises shape potential for the future?

The Insights:

At the end of his oracle, Micah offered up a prayer and praise to God. He asked God to lead and care for His people. Then he marveled in the wonder and character of the God who wipes away sin, stays faithful to His word and extends compassion and mercy!

The Passage: Micah 7:14-20

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, which lives by itself in a forest,

in fertile pasturelands.

Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in days long ago.

“As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them my wonders.”

Nations will see and be ashamed, deprived of all their power.

They will put their hands over their mouths and their ears will become deaf.

They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground.

They will come trembling out of their dens; they will turn in fear to the Lord our God and will be afraid of you.

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.

The Questions:

  • What characteristics of God does Micah focus on in this passage?
    • What characteristics of God do you focus on in the midst of difficult times?
  • What did Micah request of God in this passage?
  • What do we pray for when we are struggling?
  • What do you think God’s “shepherding” looks like in the midst of our current pandemic?