In this chapter, Micah passes on a personal plea and warning from the Lord. In order to strengthen his appeal, the prophet calls on the mountains and the hills to witness what God has to say. The implication is that since the mountains and hills seem to last forever they will never have seen such a situation before (vv. 1-2).
The Lord begins by asking his people what they had against him. After all, he had done so much for them. At the Exodus, he had delivered them from Egypt and provided them with gifted leaders. Even although they had been threatened by powerful opponents, he had brought them into the Promised Land. The assumption would be that experiencing such divine goodness would make them devoted servants of God (vv. 3-5).
They had assumed that all that the Lord wanted from them was participation in religious rituals (vv. 6-7). Their assessment was that such practices were good. The Lord thought otherwise. He wanted them to practice righteousness with one another, show compassion to the needy, and walk humbly with him (v. 8). Of course, such behaviour was not merely his desire, it was also his requirement and failure to practice it would result in divine judgement.
Instead of living in such a way, the people of Israel had done the opposite. The Lord could not ignore their sinful behaviour. Therefore he would send several judgments, which would climax in desolation. Instead of living according to the rules of their true King (the Lord), they had followed the rules of their false kings (Omri and Ahab). But their choice would end in disaster (vv. 9-16).
Their problem began with a bad memory (they forgot about the Exodus) and ingratitude. They degenerated into blind and willful disobedience. So we should ensure that we retain a healthy memory of the Lord’s goodness and a thankful heart concerning his kindness to us.