Into the Lesson
Pair off your students. Ask each pair to discuss these questions: (1) “What do people (both Christians and non-Christians) think God expects from them?” (2) “What does God actually re-quire?” Allow your students several minutes to discuss the questions, then call for conclusions. Write their responses on the board.
After you hear from several volunteers, tell your class that today’s lesson from the book of Micah explains the difference between what those in the prophet’s day thought God expected of them and what God actually required.
Into the Word
Divide your class into an even number of groups by combining student pairs from the previous exercise. Each group should have four to six students. Assign each group a number. The odd-numbered groups will answer questions one and three. The even-numbered groups will answer questions two and four.
Appoint a discussion leader for each group or let each choose its own leader. If you do not use the student books, you will need to copy and distribute the questions and instructions below. Question#1: What angered God in Micah’s day? Read Micah 3:1-4. Compare what Micah says there with Micah 1:5-7; 2:1, 2; and 2 Kings 17:1-17. Of what sins were the people guilty? What happened to the people as a result? Why was God angry about these sins?
Question #2: What did God expect?
Read Micah 6:6-8 and compare it with Proverbs 21:3; Jeremiah 22:1-5; Hosea 6:6; and Amos5:21-24. What did God expect? Why would God reject the Jews’ sacrificial offerings if He commanded them to him in the first place?
Allow the groups a few minutes, then discuss their findings. Especially discuss the meaning of the commands in Micah 6:8 to “do justly,” “love mercy,” and “walk humbly with thy God.” When you have finished this discussion, tell your groups to move on to questions three and four.
Question #3: What do Christians do today to anger God? Read Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Corinthians 6; and Hebrews 10:26-31. Why are the sins mentioned here particularly offensive to God? How do they compare with the sins committed in Micah’s day? What will happen to those who continue committing these sins?
Question #4: What does God expect of Christians today?
Read Ephesians 5:1-6:9; Philippians 2:3-5;1 Timothy 6:3-11; James 2:8-17; and 1 John 3:16-18. How does God expect Christians to behave today? Especially, how are we to treat one an-other? How does this compare with God’s expectations for His people in Micah’s day? What does it mean for a Christian today to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God?
Allow the groups a few minutes to answer, then discuss their findings.
Display the following headings on the board: Do Justice; Love Mercy; Walk Humbly with God. Ask each group to choose one of the categories for this last exercise. Make sure each category is chosen by at least one group. When each group has selected its category, group members should work together to write several introspective questions that will help an individual evaluate how well he or she is carrying out that command. For instance, a question for the category Love Mercy may be, “Do I make a regular effort to visit the sick, the elderly, and the poor?”
Instruct each group to write at least five questions. Next, ask for volunteers to suggest questions to the entire class. Write these on the board. Finally, tell your students to take a few minutes to ask themselves these questions and to look for areas in their lives that need improvement. They need not share their answers.
Close with a prayer for God to guide your students as they try to keep these commands.