We Will Walk in Jehovah’s Name Forever!
“We . . . shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.”—MICAH 4:5.
1. What messages are set out in Micah chapters 3 through 5?
JEHOVAH has something to tell his people, and he is using Micah as his prophet. It is God’s purpose to take action against wrongdoers. He is going to punish Israel for her apostasy. Happily, though, Jehovah will bless those who walk in his name. These messages ring out in chapters 3 through 5 of Micah’s prophecy.
2, 3. (a) Leaders of Israel should display what quality, but what are they actually doing? (b) How would you explain the figures of speech used at Micah 3:2, 3?
2 God’s prophet declares: “Hear, please, you heads of Jacob and you commanders of the house of Israel. Is it not your business to know justice?” Yes, that is supposed to be their business, but what are they really doing? Says Micah: “You haters of what is good and lovers of badness, tearing off their skin from people and their organism from off their bones; you the ones who have also eaten the organism of my people, and have stripped their very skin from off them, and smashed to pieces their very bones, and crushed them to pieces like what is in a widemouthed pot and like flesh in the midst of a cooking pot.”—Micah 3:1-3.
3 Why, the leaders are oppressing the poor, defenseless people! The figures of speech used here are easily understood by those who hear Micah. When a slaughtered sheep is prepared by boiling, it is first skinned and then disjointed. Sometimes the bones are cracked open to free the marrow. Both the flesh and the bones are boiled in a large vessel, like the one mentioned by Micah. (Ezekiel 24:3-5, 10) What a fitting illustration of the abusive treatment the people in Micah’s day are experiencing at the hands of their evil leaders!
Jehovah Expects Us to Be Just
4. What contrast exists between Jehovah and Israel’s leaders?
4 There is a striking contrast between the loving Shepherd, Jehovah, and Israel’s leaders. Because they do not exercise justice, they fail to fulfill their commission to protect the flock. Instead, they selfishly exploit the figurative sheep, depriving them of justice and subjecting them to “acts of bloodshed,” as noted at Micah 3:10. What can we learn from this situation?
5. Jehovah expects what of those taking the lead among his people?
5 God expects justice to be exercised by those taking the lead among his people. This is what we find to be true of Jehovah’s servants today. Moreover, this harmonizes with Isaiah 32:1, where we read: “Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself.” In Micah’s day, however, what do we find? “Haters of what is good and lovers of badness” persist in perverting justice.
Whose Prayers Are Answered?
6, 7. What important point is highlighted at Micah 3:4?
6 Can Micah’s wicked contemporaries expect Jehovah’s favor? Of course not! Micah 3:4 states: “They will call to Jehovah for aid, but he will not answer them. And he will conceal his face from them in that time, according as they committed badness in their dealings.” This highlights a very important point.
7 Jehovah will not answer our prayers if we practice sin. That is certainly so if we are living a double life, concealing our wrongdoing while pretending to serve God faithfully. According to Psalm 26:4, David sang: “I have not sat with men of untruth; and with those who hide what they are I do not come in.” How much less will Jehovah answer the prayers of those who deliberately violate his Word!
Empowered by God’s Spirit
8. The false prophets of Micah’s time were warned of what?
8 What deplorable practices are common among Israel’s spiritual leaders! False prophets cause God’s people to wander spiritually. The greedy leaders call out “Peace!” but actually sanctify war against anyone who does not put something into their mouths. “Therefore,” says Jehovah, “you men will have night, so that there will be no vision; and darkness you will have, so as not to practice divination. And the sun will certainly set upon the prophets, and the day must get dark upon them. And the visionaries will have to be ashamed, and the diviners will certainly be disappointed. And they will have to cover over the mustache.”—Micah 3:5-7a.
9, 10. What is meant by ‘covering over the mustache,’ and why does Micah have no reason to do such a thing?
9 Why “cover over the mustache”? This is something that Micah’s wicked contemporaries do out of shame. And these evil men ought to be ashamed. “There is no answer from God,” as far as they are concerned. (Micah 3:7b) Jehovah pays no attention to the prayers of any haughty wicked ones.
10 Micah has no reason to “cover over the mustache.” He is not ashamed. Jehovah answers his prayers. Notice Micah 3:8, where the faithful prophet says: “On the other hand, I myself have become full of power, with the spirit of Jehovah, and of justice and mightiness.” How thankful Micah is that throughout his long and faithful ministry, he has always been “full of power, with the spirit of Jehovah”! This has given him the strength “to tell to Jacob his revolt and to Israel his sin.”
11. How are humans empowered to declare God’s messages?
11 Micah needs more than human strength in order to proclaim God’s message of adverse judgment. Jehovah’s spirit, or powerful active force, is vital. What about us? Our preaching commission can be fulfilled only if Jehovah strengthens us by means of his holy spirit. Attempts to preach are sure to fail utterly if we willfully practice sin. In that case God could not answer our prayers for strength to do this work. We certainly cannot declare our heavenly Father’s judgment messages unless “the spirit of Jehovah” rests upon us. Through prayers that are heard and with the help of the holy spirit, we are able to speak God’s word courageously like Micah.
12. Why could Jesus’ early disciples ‘keep speaking God’s word with all boldness’?
12 Perhaps you recall the account at Acts 4:23-31. Imagine that you are one of Jesus’ first-century disciples. Fanatic persecutors have been seeking to still the lips of Christ’s followers. But these loyal ones pray to their Sovereign Lord, pleading: “Jehovah, give attention to their threats, and grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness.” The result? When they make supplication, the place in which they are gathered together is shaken, and they are one and all filled with the holy spirit and speak the word of God with boldness. May we therefore prayerfully look to Jehovah and rely on his help by holy spirit as we carry out our ministry.
13. What will happen to Jerusalem and Samaria, and why?
13 Think again of Micah’s day. According to Micah 3:9-12, the bloodguilty rulers judge for a bribe, the priests instruct for a price, and the false prophets practice divination for money. No wonder God has decreed that Judah’s capital, Jerusalem, “will become mere heaps of ruins”! Since false worship and moral corruption flourish also in Israel, Micah is inspired to warn that God will make Samaria “a heap of ruins.” (Micah 1:6) In fact, the prophet lives to see the foretold destruction of Samaria by Assyrian hordes in 740 B.C.E. (2 Kings 17:5, 6; 25:1-21) It is evident that these powerful messages against Jerusalem and Samaria could be delivered only in Jehovah’s strength.
14. How was the prophecy recorded at Micah 3:12 fulfilled, and how should that affect us?
14 Judah certainly cannot escape Jehovah’s adverse judgment. In fulfillment of the prophecy recorded at Micah 3:12, Zion will be “plowed up as a mere field.” From our 21st-century vantage point, we know that these things took place when the Babylonians brought devastation upon Judah and Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. This occurred years after Micah prophesied, but he was sure that it was coming. Surely we should be just as confident that the present wicked system of things will end in the foretold “day of Jehovah.”—2 Peter 3:11, 12.
Jehovah Sets Matters Straight
15. In your own words, how would you describe the prophecy recorded at Micah 4:1-4?
15 Looking back, we see that Micah next delivers a thrilling message of hope. What heartening words we find at Micah 4:1-4! Says Micah, in part: “It must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it peoples must stream. . . . And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.”
16, 17. How is Micah 4:1-4 being fulfilled today?
16 Who are the “many peoples” and the “mighty nations” mentioned here? They are not the nations and governments of this world. Rather, the prophecy applies to individuals out of all nations who turn to united sacred service in Jehovah’s mountain of true worship.
17 In keeping with Micah’s prophecy, the clean worship of Jehovah will soon be practiced in the fullest sense earth wide. Today, people “rightly disposed for everlasting life” are being instructed in Jehovah’s ways. (Acts 13:48) Jehovah is rendering judgment and setting matters straight spiritually for believers who take their stand for the Kingdom. They will survive “the great tribulation” as part of the “great crowd.” (Revelation 7:9, 14) Having beaten their swords into plowshares, even today they live at peace with fellow Witnesses of Jehovah and with others. What a delight to be among them!
Determined to Walk in Jehovah’s Name
18. What is symbolized by ‘sitting under one’s own vine and fig tree’?
18 In our day, when fear covers the earth like an ominous cloud, we are thrilled that many are learning Jehovah’s ways. We long for the time now near at hand when all such lovers of God will learn war no more but will sit under their own vine and fig tree. Fig trees are often planted in vineyards. (Luke 13:6) Sitting under one’s own vine and fig tree symbolizes peaceful, prosperous, and secure conditions. Even now, our relationship with Jehovah gives us peace of mind and spiritual security. When such circumstances exist under Kingdom rule, we will be unafraid and totally secure.
19. What does it mean to walk in Jehovah’s name?
19 To enjoy divine favor and blessing, we must walk in Jehovah’s name. This is powerfully expressed at Micah 4:5, where the prophet declares: “All the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” Walking in Jehovah’s name does not mean merely saying that he is our God. It calls for more than our participation in Christian meetings and the Kingdom-preaching work, although such activities are also vital. If we are walking in Jehovah’s name, we are dedicated to him and are endeavoring to serve him faithfully out of whole-souled love. (Matthew 22:37) And as his worshipers, surely we are determined to walk in the name of Jehovah our God to all eternity.
20. What was foretold at Micah 4:6-13?
20 Now please consider the prophetic words of Micah 4:6-13. “The daughter of Zion” has to go into exile “as far as to Babylon.” That is exactly what happened to inhabitants of Jerusalem in the seventh century B.C.E. Nevertheless, Micah’s prophecy indicates that a remnant is to return to Judah, and at Zion’s restoration Jehovah will see to it that her enemies are pulverized.
21, 22. How was Micah 5:2 fulfilled?
21 Other dramatic developments are foretold in Micah chapter 5. For instance, note what is said at Micah 5:2-4. Micah prophesies that a God-appointed Ruler—one “whose origin is from early times”—will come out of Bethlehem. He will rule as a shepherd “in the strength of Jehovah.” Moreover, this Ruler will be great, not just in Israel, but to “the ends of the earth.” His identity may befuddle the world in general, but it is no mystery to us.
22 Who was the most important person ever born in Bethlehem? And who will “be great as far as the ends of the earth”? None other than the Messiah, Jesus Christ! When Herod the Great asked the chief priests and the scribes where the Messiah was to be born, they answered: “In Bethlehem of Judea.” They even quoted the words of Micah 5:2. (Matthew 2:3-6) Some of the common people knew this too, for John 7:42 quotes them as saying: “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ is coming from the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem the village where David used to be?”
True Refreshment for the People
23. What is now happening in fulfillment of Micah 5:7?
23 Micah 5:5-15 refers to an Assyrian invasion that will meet with only fleeting success and points out that God will execute vengeance upon disobedient nations. Micah 5:7 promises the restoration of a repentant Jewish remnant to their homeland, but these words also apply to our day. Micah declares: “The remaining ones of Jacob must become in the midst of many peoples like dew from Jehovah, like copious showers upon vegetation.” This lovely symbolism is used to foretell that the remnant of spiritual Jacob, or Israel, will be a blessing from God to the people. Jesus’ “other sheep,” who have an earthly hope, are delighted to serve shoulder to shoulder with the modern-day remnant of “the Israel of God,” helping to refresh others spiritually. (John 10:16; Galatians 6:16; Zephaniah 3:9) In this regard, there is a significant point for reflection. As Kingdom proclaimers, all of us should cherish our privilege of bringing true refreshment to others.
24. What points from Micah chapters 3 through 5 have impressed you?
24 What have you gleaned from chapters 3 through 5 of Micah’s prophecy? Perhaps such points as these: (1) God expects justice to be exercised by those taking the lead among his people. (2) Jehovah will not answer our prayers if we willfully practice sin. (3) Our preaching commission can be fulfilled only if God strengthens us by means of his holy spirit. (4) To enjoy divine favor, we must walk in Jehovah’s name. (5) As Kingdom proclaimers, we should cherish our privilege of bringing true refreshment to the people. Other points may have made an impression on you. What else can we learn from this prophetic Bible book? The next article will help us to draw practical lessons from the last two chapters of Micah’s faith-strengthening prophecy Mic chapters 6, 7.
How Would You Answer?
• What does God expect of those taking the lead among his people?
• Why are prayer and holy spirit important in connection with our service to Jehovah?
• How do people ‘walk in Jehovah’s name’?
[Picture on page 15]
Can you explain Micah’s illustration involving a cooking pot?
[Pictures on page 16]
Like Micah, we courageously carry out our ministry