We can see from the opening verse that Micah prophesied about both the northern kingdom of Israel (Samaria) and the southern kingdom of Judah (Jerusalem) – the reigns that he mentions show that he was a prophet at the same time as Isaiah (Isa. 1:1). As with many of the prophets whose messages are recorded in the Bible, Micah was raised up by God to speak for him against sins that were practiced by God’s people.
Micah begins by saying that the Lord’s imminent actions should be noticed by everyone because of their significance (v. 2). He uses the imagery of great physical disturbances to depict what the Lord’s arrival would be like (vv. 3-4). Such changes to the landscape would be the greatest upheaval Micah could imagine. He is preparing his listeners for the arrival of God in a special manner in his providence for his people.
Why is God coming in such a way? The reason is the idolatry that was taking place in both Israel and Judah (v. 5), and the main location for idolatry in each country was its capital city. Samaria would soon be destroyed for her sinful practices and the judgement was approaching Judah (vv. 8-9), even if it would be realised a century after Samaria fell.
Although he knew that Samaria and Judah deserved to be punished, Micah was very disturbed by the prospect. He likens himself to a mourner already lamenting the death of Samaria and draws in various communities as fellow mourners, lamenting over the fate of God’s people, as they waited for their experience of divine punishment, which was to be exile (vv. 8-16).
Micah’s ministry had some success because Judah served God, especially during the reign of Hezekiah. This suggests that the prophet had to serve through at least part of the reign of Jotham, the full reign of Ahaz (sixteen years), and part of the reign of Hezekiah. He had to wait for about twenty years before he saw signs that the people were listening to his words of warning.
What kept him going? In his book he will describe some brighter days for God’s people in the future, and that would have helped him serve God. Another reason was the state of his heart – he felt for those to whom he was preaching and therefore he kept going to them with God’s message. His lamenting was a sign of love.