Justice+Mercy: Week Two Study Guide

In week two of our study through the Book of Micah, we’ll explore God’s heart for justice, the consequences of injustice, and God’s plan of redemption for His people. Watch as Pastors Doug Rasku and Reuben Ramsaran discuss these key themes and invite us into the conversation!

 

TALK IT OUT

Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to reflect on and questions to discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week.

Memory Verse of the Week: Micah 4:1–4 (NIV)

“In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken.”

Getting the Conversation Going: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” These words, from Charles Dickens’ famous novel A Tale of Two Cities, expresses two radical opposites taking place at the same time. As we arrive at Micah 3–4, we see a very similar dynamic explored. How so? Well, these two chapters present two very different cities or kingdoms—in Micah 3 we read about the kingdom of men and in Micah 4 the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of man was filled with brokenness. Its leaders had turned away from God. They were idolatrous, wicked, greedy, and took advantage of the downtrodden, marginalized, and oppressed.

The kingdom of God—referenced here and also in Isaiah 2:1–3, 32:17–18, and Revelation 20:1–6—is filled with peace, joy, and comfort and is defined by four freedoms . . .

  • Freedom from ignorance (“He will teach us His ways”)
  • Freedom from war (“Nor will they train for war anymore”)
  • Freedom from want (“Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree”)
  • Freedom from fear (“No one will make them afraid”)

Because of this, it will be a time of obedience (Jeremiah 31:33), holiness (Isaiah 35:8), truth (Isaiah 65:16), and knowledge of God (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14). Christ will rule as King (Isaiah 9:3–7, 11:1–10).

As believers, we currently live in both kingdoms. How so? Though we are citizens of the kingdom to come, the kingdom that is fully present right now spiritually that gives us peace, joy, comfort, and freedom has not been fully realized physically, as the Lord has not yet come back to establish what is referred to as the millennial reign. And so, as this kingdom is both here and not yet, we still live and operate in a fallen and sinful world. And all around us, every day, just like in the days of Micah, there are leaders and authorities who take advantage of others, oppress the defenseless, and hate good but love evil. We see this in our country and culture. And while it sometimes seems like they “get away with it,” we can rest assured in knowing that God is a God of justice, that nothing escapes His justice, and that “because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience” (Colossians 3:6 NKJV). One day, unless they turn from their wicked ways, they will experience God’s righteous judgment and wrath as He brings about true and lasting peace and justice.

Discussion Question 1: Why are passages and prophecies like Micah 3–4 so crucial for believers?

Discussion Question 2: What does it look like to be kingdom minded in a fallen world?

Redeeming the Remnant: The divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah (who were once a single nation under God) were being warned of the impending doom that would befall them for their sins. Included amongst their sins were idolatry and injustice. Israel had exploited the poor and twisted the Scriptures. So, Micah, along with other contemporaries such as Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, and Jeremiah, spoke of the consequences that would befall Israel and Judah, but also of the future hope of redemption and restoration for God’s people . . . a future that is entirely dependent on the faithfulness of God.

You see, God promised, even in the sinfulness of the people, to preserve a faithful remnant, to give rest and relief to the weary, faithful flock, and to establish them within a new Jerusalem on the other side of the consequences of the nation’s sins. Matthew Poole explains, “Christ’s kingdom is the ancient, supreme, and most glorious kingdom; and by his redeeming us from the bondage of hell, is set up, and shall be continued firm and unmovable . . . more large than ever David’s or Solomon’s kingdom . . . and therefore greater in glory, for Christ is King of kings.” This is the kingdom we preach, the kingdom Jesus brought spiritually with His first coming, and the kingdom we get to be part of physically with His second coming!

Discussion Question 3: How do you see God’s sovereignty and faithfulness at work in Micah 3–4?

The Vine and Fig Tree: Micah 4:4 (NIV), which is referenced in Lin Manuel Miranda’s famous musical Hamilton, says, “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken.”

To sit under your own vine and fig tree was a proverbial picture of peace, security, and deep contentment. But when you examine the continuing moral decay of the world, the state of “evangelicalism” in the West, and the persecution of the Church across the globe, how are we able to experience this peace and contentment? How can we sit under our own vine and fig tree right now?

John 15:1 (HCSB) tells us how! During what is commonly referred to as the last supper, Jesus says to His disciples, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper.” Now, when Jesus uses the word “true” here, it’s not in comparison to any other falsehood. Instead, true (alēthinē) alludes to the real, perfect ideal. It’s the only one, the genuine article, complete with a certificate of authenticity as opposed to everything else. True emphasizes the organic connection (authentic unity) between what is true and its source or origin. And in this case, what makes Jesus the true vine is His connection to the vineyard keeper, God the Father.

As He continues, Jesus tells His disciples, “Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me” (John 15:4–5 HCSB). What a sobering and powerful reminder of our helplessness and hopelessness apart from Christ, our Savior and Redeemer! When we remain connected to Him, not only can we experience true peace and contentment, but He also produces fruit in our lives. He is able to do great things in and through us—exceedingly, abundantly great things beyond what we could ever ask, think, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Discussion Question 4: How can we as believers sit under our own vine and fig tree in a world full of sin and tragedy?

Discussion Question 5: What are you doing to stay connected to the vine of Jesus?

THIS WEEK

Who needs to hear about the hope of Christ’s kingdom today? Pray about how you can share the gospel with them! 

A LOOK AHEAD

In our next study, we’ll dive into a discussion of Micah 5.

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.