The Ultimate Offering

November 2, 2014



God is in a feisty mood.

The prophet Micah is also in a feisty mood.

To understand why, look at the context. Micah, a Hebrew prophet who lived in the southern kingdom of Judah about 720 years before Jesus, cared passionately about ordinary people. Micah was no urbane aristocrat like the prophet Isaiah. Instead he was an ordinary working class guy from the village of Moresheth. Micah felt great compassion for his friends and neighbors who were poor.  And he was scandalized at how the rich and influential used their power to exploit vulnerable people.

One of the chief problems was taxes, especially military taxes. In those days tax revenues were not plowed back into the broader society to help the vulnerable. There was no Social Security, Medicare, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Instead tax revenues mostly funded the nation’s military. Judeans were afraid of the Assyrian empire, which was then the most powerful nation in the region. To defend itself against the Assyrians, the Judean government built walls and other fortifications around important towns, and strengthened the Judean army. Every year, the government also paid a hefty tribute to the Assyrians to try to keep them away. Essentially they paid the Assyrians not to invade them. Protection payments, you might call them.

Bible References

  • Micah 6:1 - 8