Micah 6

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Hear what the Lord says:. Rise, plead your case before the mountains,. and let the hills hear your voice. . 2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,. and you enduring foundations of the earth;. ID: 557196 Download Presentation

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Micah 6

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Micah 6

Hear what the Lord says:

Rise, plead your case before the mountains,

and let the hills hear your voice.

2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,

and you enduring foundations of the earth;

for the Lord has a controversy with his people,

and he will contend with Israel.


Micah 6

3 ‘O my people, what have I done to you?

In what have I wearied you? Answer me!

4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,

and redeemed you from the house of slavery;

and I sent before you Moses,

Aaron, and Miriam.

5 O my people, remember now what King


of Moab devised,

what Balaam son of


answered him,

and what happened from


to Gilgal,

that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.’


Micah 6

6 ‘With what shall I come before the Lord,

and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,

with calves a year old?

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’


Micah 6

8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?


Micah 6

9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city

(it is sound wisdom to fear your name):

Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city!

10 Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,

and the scant measure that is accursed?

11 Can I tolerate wicked scales

and a bag of dishonest weights?

12 Your wealthy are full of violence;

your inhabitants speak lies,

with tongues of deceit in their mouths.


Micah 6

13 Therefore I have begun to strike you down,

making you desolate because of your sins.

14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied,

and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;

you shall put away, but not save,

and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.


Micah 6

15 You shall sow, but not reap;

you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;

you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

16 For you have kept the statutes of


and all the works of the house of Ahab,

and you have followed their counsels.

Therefore I will make you a desolation, and your inhabitants an object of hissing;

so you shall bear the scorn of my people.


Reparations and Scripture



Think of reparations from the root word “repair.”

Is defined as the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged.

In this way, r

eparations are

seen as

the mechanism which repairs a relationship.

As Christians we know that God repairs relationships, and the repair begins with repentance.

When we repent, we turn away from sin, turn towards God, and strive to re-establish a right(


) relationship with God & neighbor


Numbers 12 (Interpersonal)

Verse one of the chapter says that “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman).”

Scripture is explicitly clear about why Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, although they go on to say “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?”

Their animosity towards Moses derived from his choice to marry a Cushite Woman.

This beckons us to explore why marrying such a women would be so problematic in their eyes.


Numbers 12


were from the region of Cush.

Cush was notorious for being a region where people were known for their black skin.

Another reference to the distinctive skin color of


is found in Jeremiah 13:23, where it says “Can the Ethiopian [the same Hebrew word translated as “Cushite” in Numbers 12:1] change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good, who are accustomed to do evil.”

The ardent emphasis this passage places on the distinctive nature, and hue, of the Cushite people’s skin is intentional, overt, and unmistakable.


, therefore, were infamous because of their blackness.

Biblical scholar, Daniel Hays, writes that Cush was “where a Black African civilization flourished for over two thousand years. Thus it [Numbers 12:1] is quite clear that Moses marries a Black African woman.”


Numbers 12

Racism is a sin, a relational breach that impacts our relationships with God & neighbor

When people of power act on their prejudices, they have a social impact. We see this in this passage. Therefore, a wrong was committed

A punishment is thereby issued by God

Before reconciliation is possible, an action of repair must transpire, in efforts to restore the fractured relationships, due to sin.

The action needed to restore the relationships was more than an apology, and/or a prayer, or lamentation.


Acts 6 (communal)

Acts 6:1 reads “Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.”

As a result a new, multiethnic, council was formed

The inequality that existed was recognized, and corrected.

The people of God led the way in repairing the social harm which was perpetuating inequality and discrimination in the society.


Luke 19 (social)

Most Christians know Zacchaeus as a “wee little man,” but a closer look reveals not only a short man who encounters Jesus, but a criminal who is restored to God, his victims, his community, and himself.

Zacchaeus was by definition a criminal. He made his livelihood from immoral and harmful behaviors. He became “very rich” (Luke 19:2) by cheating, defrauding, and stealing from others, preying on the poor and vulnerable. As a Jew, Zacchaeus was conscripted by the Roman Empire to unfairly tax other Jews, charging them more than what they actually owed Rome in order to keep the profits for himself. Moreover, as a chief tax collector, Zacchaeus also benefitted from perpetuating a culture of dishonesty, profiting personally from other tax collectors under his leadership who would have also cheated and defrauded fellow Jews. Like many white collar criminals today, Zacchaeus’ flourishing was rooted institutional injustice; his thriving was predicated upon a systemic sin that ensured that the rich would become richer by exploiting, oppressing, and extorting the public.


Linking salvation & reparations

It is important to note, however, that the salvation that Jesus enacts in Zacchaeus’ life was not purely personal.

It was not solely about restoring Zacchaeus’ relationship with God, or even restoring Zacchaeus’ sense of peace and worth in himself.

Instead, we see by Zacchaeus’ actions that true “salvation” also involved providing reparations to those he harmed. As Jesus chooses to bind himself to Zacchaeus in relationship, Zacchaeus must also choose to bind himself to those whom he had hurt by making amends for his crimes.

For example, Zacchaeus states that “if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much,” (Luke 19:8) thereby recognizing the multiplicative effect that his crimes had, and making reparations accordingly. Such an act would have required both honestly naming and facing his victims, acknowledging every person he had harmed and the impact of his dishonest actions.


Reparations as confession & repentance

Furthermore, Zacchaeus recognized that his crimes may have not only hurt his direct victims- those he directly defrauded- but also the broader community, as he stated, “Half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor” (Luke 19:8).

Through this gesture, Zacchaeus recognized that the system of tax collection may have led to patterns of debt and poverty, constructing a perpetual underclass and hurting more than those he directly cheated.

He paid a costly price to acknowledge both the communal and systemic impact his crimes had, and chose to end generational cycles of sin and oppression by bringing economic transformation to his entire community.


Reparations as part of God’s salvific restoration

Ultimately, it is through Zacchaeus’s restoration- to God, to himself, to his victims, and to his community- that Jesus was able to declare, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9).

The man who was once a criminal, cut off from his people and excluded from membership in covenant community, has now been reconnected to the family of God.

Zacchaeus was no longer defined by the offenses and injustices he enacted, but known as the one who made reparations for his wrongdoing.

He was no longer destined to exist in isolation, but was invited to participate in covenant community. He was no longer complicit in an unjust system, but is one who is sacramentally bond to the poor.

In Zacchaeus, Jesus transformed a socially invisible, isolated, and despised person into an indispensable member of God’s family and a productive member of his community.


Micah 6 (institutional)

verses 1-7 provide the proper context for 6:8 to be heard and understood.

Verses 9-16 show how we are much more likely to be cast as the Israelites in this passage than to play the role of the Lord’s prophet.

To understand what occurs in the later half of the chapter, it is essential to contextualize verses 1-8. These verses represent what is called a prophetic rib (litigation).

Within this rib, God begins the chapter by calling nature to serve as witnesses against Israel in a civil suite in.

In verses 1-3, God is suing Israel in this civil suite for forgetting the price which was paid for their freedom.


Micah 6: 1-5

God summons nature as the jury for this proceeding because it has stood the test of tests and thus can testify to the saving nature of God historically.

In stating the case against Israel, God’s covenantal faithfulness is elucidated, while Israel, serving as the second party of the established covenant, is shown lacking and unfaithful to the covenant’s requirements.

God’s faithfulness to the


covenant is illustrated in verses 4 and 5 with references made to the historical events in which God has displayed unmerited grace, mercy, restoration, and liberation on account of Israel.


Micah 6: 6-7

In verses 6 and 7, we see Israel’s response to God’s charges.

Israel, blinded by its sin, approaches the one true God as if Yahweh were a king or a pagan god. They come before God as if Yahweh mandates sacrificial offerings upon being wronged.

In seeking forgiveness in this manner, Israel profanes any ponderable offering concerning atonement for its sin.


Reparations and repentance as worship

Theologian Juan Alfaro writes “Israel does not know the only authentic way to ‘come before the Lord,’ which is total personal conversion. True religion was not going to let persons commit the sins and let animals pay the price.”

Therefore, Israel, because of its sin, is separated from God and consequently is unable to see and recognize the true character of God.

God does not want blood sacrifices.

Yahweh did not and does not need our material sacrifices, regardless of their extravagance. There is only one sacrifice that the Lord truly desires from us, and that is what the ever--popular verse 6:8 encapsulates.


Micah 6:8

God requires a change of heart, a change of lifestyle, and of disposition toward both God and neighbor.

In verse 6:8, the prophet Micah aggregates the essence of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah through connecting the proper atonement for human sin, authentic worship, and the covenantal requirements of God.

Amos professed that God desires justice rather than sacrifices

Hosea depicts what it means to love compassionately, with mercy

And Isaiah stresses faithfulness and obedience to God, which leads to the social activism that procures liberation as well as justice for the oppressed in what is deemed true worship.


Without reparations do we appear before God dirty-handed & empty-hearted, without justice?”

In speaking of the insufficiency of Israel’s offering, Juan Alfaro points out that Israel might have been even more afraid to come before the Lord empty handed. However, he says “Micah points out that there is something worse than appearing before the Lord empty-handed, namely appearing before him dirty-handed and empty-hearted, without justice.”

This quote sets up the second half of the chapter perfectly because this is exactly how Israel came before God, without justice



Context for reparations

The second half of the chapter is an oracle proclaimed by the prophet Micah.

Verses 9-16 represents a traditional two part prophesy pattern within Scripture, where the wrongs of the people are exposed and their penalty as a people due to their unfaithfulness is exposed through the God--ordained words of the prophet.

This oracle from the Lord can be broken down into three sections:

1) the business and social sins of Israel in verses 9-12,

2) the penalties for these actions that God will ordain in verses 13-15,

3) a summation of both the sin and punishment in verse 16.


God’s judgement against systemic sin

Verse 9 articulates the transition of the prophet’s words from urging the people to repent to alerting them to the destruction coming their way because of their unwillingness to repent.

Verses 10-11 speak to the unscrupulous nature of merchants within Israel. They fixed their scales to exploit the poor. Juan Alfaro says “The lack of official national standards for weights and measures as well as the influence of international commerce, for which measures with some names but with different values were used in each religion, favored a confusing diversity of measures that worked effectively against the poor.”


Intuitional injustice’s impact

Additionally, these merchants frequently constructed weighted apparatuses which distorted the mass of produce and consequently calculated items to be heavier than they actually were, making the items more expensive.

Consequently, Israel’s marketplace was flooded with dishonesty, manifesting itself through the use of distorted scales and inflated food prices that left workers with depreciated values concerning their actual wages.

This had a disproportionally devastating impact on the most impoverished populations of Israel


Corporate sin requires reparations

Verse 12 speaks of the violent nature of oppression. In referring the corporate nature of evil within society, this verse highlights the role of those in power. This verse illustrates how the collaboration of government leadership and social elites created a social monopoly of authority within Israel’s aristocracy.

Judges and the legislative systems of Israel played paramount roles in the merchant’s ability to steal from customers. It provided the legislative enforcement needed to sustain systems of injustice.

Ultimately, the merchants’ personal corruption would have been impossible to sustain without the coupling of legislative corruption.

This duality of evil, made manifest within the judges’ legislative dishonesty and the merchants’ distorted scales, bred a system of institutional injustice within Israel


Reparations holds us accountable for our wrongs

Verses 13-15 represent the Lord’s judgment against Israel. Israel, like the merchants who cheated their customers, got away with sin and exploitation for a while.

They both believed that God was too busy with other things to pay attention to their corruption and social collaborations of evil.

Unjust power structures were so entrenched within the region that the most vulnerable populations who were dependent upon the faithfulness of believers and the honesty of the government, seemingly had no-where to turn.


We cannot serve two masters

Israel’s deification of money is brought into light in verse 16. The unjust society they established was predicated upon greed and not need. People plotted schemes of exploitation as opposed to restoration and violence instead of liberation.

Verse 16 makes a connection between the oppression Israel endured during the Babylonian exile and the injustice it is now inflicting daily amongst its own marketplace


Eric J. Miller, a professor at Loyola Law School, said the case for reparations starts with an honest accounting of the racism that black people have experienced.

“Part of our history is our grandparents participating in these acts of terrible violence [against black people],” he said. “But people don’t want to acknowledge the horror of what they engaged in.”


Calculating reparations


alculating the number of hours all men, women and children enslaved in the United States worked from 1776, multiplied by average wage prices at the time, and finally assessing a compounding interest rate of 3 percent per year to overcompensate for inflation over the last 200+ years, the most fiscally fair estimate to date of what reparations for slavery could cost is between $5.9 trillion and $14.2 trillion.*


William Darity, Duke public policy professor

The extended history of government-sanctioned segregation and other forms of racial oppression in the Jim Crow era

Terror campaigns launched by the KKK

, often in collaboration with government officials

The nationwide legacy of Lynching, and lynch-law

Post-WWII public policies that were designed to provide upward mobility for Americans but

in practice

did not include black people (such as the

GI Bill


Redlining, which made home ownership a possibility for white people while shutting out black folks

Ongoing discrimination against and associated denigration of black lives


Justification for African American Reparations



Coates’ noted article

“The Case for Reparations,”

details how the often celebrated post-WWII G.I. Bill serves as another reason for reparations

Coates says it “failed black Americans, by mirroring the broader country’s insistence on a racist housing policy. Though ostensibly color-blind, Title III of the bill, which aimed to give veterans access to low-interest home loans, left black veterans to tangle with white officials at their local Veterans Administration as well as with the same banks that had, for years, refused to grant mortgages to blacks.”


Reparations isn’t even on the table today

“If not even an avowed socialist can be bothered to grapple with reparations, if the question really is that far beyond the pale, if Bernie Sanders truly believes that victims of the Tulsa pogrom deserved nothing, that the victims of contract lending deserve nothing, that the victims of debt peonage deserve nothing, that that political plunder of black communities entitle them to nothing, if this is the candidate of the radical left — then expect white supremacy in America to endure well beyond our lifetimes and lifetimes of our children.”





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