O Little Town
READ: Micah 5:1-6 1People of Jerusalem, gather your forces! We are besieged! They are attacking the leader of Israel! God Promises a Ruler from Bethlehem 2 The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.” 3So the Lord will abandon his people to their enemies until the woman who is to give birth has her son. Then those Israelites who are in exile will be reunited with their own people.4When he comes, he will rule his people with the strength that comes from the Lord and with the majesty of the Lord God himself. His people will live in safety because people all over the earth will acknowledge his greatness,5and he will bring peace. Deliverance and Punishment When the Assyrians invade our country and break through our defenses, we will send our strongest leaders to fight them.6 By force of arms they will conquer Assyria, the land of Nimrod, and they will save us from the Assyrians when they invade our territory.
O LITTLE TOWN Micah was a prophet during the time of Kings Ahaz and Hezekiah. He was around during the time of Isaiah and most scholars believe he wrote his book around 700 B.C. Like Isaiah, God used Micah to get the attention of God’s people when they turned their backs on him. As in Isaiah, the enemies are mentioned as well as a warning about the upcoming exile. But there is something unique and incredible about God’s message through Micah, in today’s passage. God reveals the hometown of the coming king. Bethlehem is not a typical place for a ruler to live. (Most scholars believe Ephathah refers to the district where Bethlehem is located). It’s a humble village located about six miles south of Jerusalem. It would make sense for the king to be born in the royal residence in Jerusalem, but God looks back to “ancient times.” This is a different kind of King. He would be born where King David was born. Jesus would be closely identified as the son of David and not merely another successor in the line of David. These prophecies would make it much easier for the people to identify the Messiah when he arrives. As we get closer to Christmas, we’ll see how King Herod and the religious leaders of his day refer to this passage as they search for Jesus. This passage is a great example that God is intimately involved in orchestrating and executing specific details. He didn’t just inform people that a king was coming, he gave specific features so that people would recognize his King.
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for your message through Micah. Thank you for your specific plan for Jesus’ arrival seven hundred years before his birth. Thank you for giving people in Micah’s day hope through this good news. Thank you for the hope we have in you, our Savior and our King. Amen.
DIG DEEPER: As you consider your future, how does this passage give you hope in God’s plans for you? Tomorrow we will begin to look at the coming of Jesus in the New Testament.