Transformation: Begin with Lament


Reflection Questions

1. By looking at some of the repeated words and imagery that Micah emphasizes, how would you summarize the main point of the first chapter of Micah?

2. In verses 2-5, Micah begins this speech as if he is going to address the problems of the world, but he moves his focus to the problems found within God’s people. How does this compare to how religious leaders and church communities usually address problems in our time and place? Where have you seen examples of the American church addressing its own problems first?

3. In verse 7, Micah identifies the central issue of idolatry amongst the people of God. He describes idolatry as involving a vicious cycle and as failing to provide the ultimate life and security we crave. How do you see the church today caught up in the cycle of idolatry? What would Micah’s message be in the American church today?

4. Micah’s example in verse 8 and his final exhortation in verse 16 both point us to lament as the first step in responding to our need for transformation. How would you evaluate the American church’s ability and willingness to practice lament? What about your own?

5. Either on your own or with your small group, take some time to practice lament. Consider three significant shortcomings you see in the church today. Consider one way in which you personally may have been part of one of those shortcomings. Take time to pray a prayer of lament, expressing your sadness to God for what you see amongst God’s people.

Micah 1

The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Hear, you peoples, all of you;
    pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it,
and let the Lord God be a witness against you,
    the Lord from his holy temple.
For behold, the Lord is coming out of his place,
    and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.
And the mountains will melt under him,
    and the valleys will split open,
like wax before the fire,
    like waters poured down a steep place.
All this is for the transgression of Jacob
    and for the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the transgression of Jacob?
    Is it not Samaria?
And what is the high place of Judah?
    Is it not Jerusalem?
Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country,
    a place for planting vineyards,
and I will pour down her stones into the valley
    and uncover her foundations.
All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces,
    all her wages shall be burned with fire,
    and all her idols I will lay waste,
for from the fee of a prostitute she gathered them,
    and to the fee of a prostitute they shall return.

For this I will lament and wail;
    I will go stripped and naked;
I will make lamentation like the jackals,
    and mourning like the ostriches.
For her wound is incurable,
    and it has come to Judah;
it has reached to the gate of my people,
    to Jerusalem.

10 Tell it not in Gath;
    weep not at all;
in Beth-le-aphrah
    roll yourselves in the dust.
11 Pass on your way,
    inhabitants of Shaphir,
    in nakedness and shame;
the inhabitants of Zaanan
    do not come out;
the lamentation of Beth-ezel
    shall take away from you its standing place.
12 For the inhabitants of Maroth
    wait anxiously for good,
because disaster has come down from the Lord
    to the gate of Jerusalem.
13 Harness the steeds to the chariots,
    inhabitants of Lachish;
it was the beginning of sin
    to the daughter of Zion,
for in you were found
    the transgressions of Israel.
14 Therefore you shall give parting gifts
    to Moresheth-gath;
the houses of Achzib shall be a deceitful thing
    to the kings of Israel.
15 I will again bring a conqueror to you,
    inhabitants of Mareshah;
the glory of Israel
    shall come to Adullam.
16 Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair,
    for the children of your delight;
make yourselves as bald as the eagle,
    for they shall go from you into exile.


FOOTNOTES

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.