Philip J. King calls Micah 6:1-8 “the Magna Carta of prophetic religion.” It is hard to read the passage and not be confronted with its frightening tone. The faithfulness of a perfect God is met by the sinful, mocking tone of the people. Sin is a disease that quickly affects the whole community. Christians today do well to read Micah 6 often and import its ethical and virtue calling to their everyday praxis of faith and prayers. Given the weight of the passage, it is little surprise it attracts so much attention.
The book is a composite of three papers delivered at a conference in 1983. It is focused on Micah 6 with special emphasis on 6:8. The short book, at sixty-three pages, is beneficial and a thoughtful reflection on the context of Micah and its enduring significance for today’s church.
The exegetical work is erudite without the presentation becoming pedantic. Being birthed from a conference gives a texture of conversation. The authors offer insights into the prophets at large and the historical context of Micah. They capture well the voice of lawsuit and deliverance well. All readers will find insights they have not seen before.
Brueggemann and the team helpfully offer a provocative book filled with exhortatory calls to Christians, society, and the church. I will highlight one very apt offering that comes from Brueggemann. He makes the distinction between voices of the day and voices of the night. The former is the political policy in the land. Such policies and rulings come from government institutions. However, the voices of the night, a provocative little term, are the more powerful and effective. As Brueggemann contends, “it is the peculiar work of the Church to address these matters because the Church has access to these aspects of life like no one else in our society.” The church is the present hands and feet of Christ that can promiscuously penetrate society and lives in far better ways than government institutions. The end goal of the church’s mission is the salvation of souls and not just economic and political equality—very important points even thirty-eight years after the conference.
While I do not always follow the authors’ precise concluding directions, I recommend the book for all interested in Micah 6, social justice, and the virtuous Christian life. I believe the short read will encourage and challenge many thoughts about the church and one’s Christian, humble walk with God.
Rev. Dr. Chris S. Stevens
John Knox in Ruston
Philip J. King, “Micah,” in The Jerome Biblical Commentary (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.) 1968, 1.288.
Walter Brueggemann, “Voices of the Night—Against Justice,” in To Act Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly: An Agenda for Ministers (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1997), 18.