No one wants to hear words of destruction or severe criticism of one's leaders and fellow citizens. Prophets of doom are usually not appreciated until it is too late to do anything to avert the catastrophe that is proclaimed. Micah is told that he should not preach such woeful words (v. 6). His critics claim that to bring such a message reveals a lack of trust in God's promises and patience (v. 7). Micah's pessimistic words, say the critics, serve only to frighten the people, to take away their sense of security. After all, God had called them to be God's special people and had made an everlasting covenant with them. God had promised that there would always be a son of David on the throne and that God's name would always dwell in the temple in Jerusalem.
Such criticism of negative prophecies is an issue in almost every age. Our desire is to look ahead to a bright future, not one full of dire events. The tendency is to turn off the bad news and listen only for the prophets of hope, whether or not they are realistic in their evaluation of the situation. And the leaders of a society generally encourage a hopeful outlook and denounce those who criticize and condemn. The critics are accused of disrupting the society's sense of well-being and trust in the work of the leaders.
6 Do not preachthus they preach
one should not preach of such things;
disgrace will not overtake us.
7 Should this be said, O house of Jacob?
Is the Lords patience exhausted?
Are these his doings?
Do not my words do good
to one who walks uprightly?
11 If someone were to go about uttering empty falsehoods,
saying, I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,
such a one would be the preacher for this people!
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
10 February 2011