Micah 5 begins this way: Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek (v. 1).
While Israel's enemies humiliated their king, Micah taught them of the Forever King who was to come.
Verse 2 reads like this: But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah …
Bethlehem was small and insignificant in the eyes of the people. But God had big plans for this little village.
Micah goes on to say, "From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel."
Seven hundred years after Micah's prophecy, King Herod inquiries where the Messiah was to be born.
In Matthew 2:6, we read, "And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel."
The people of Israel knew that God had promised King David that one of his descendants would sit on the throne for all time. In fact, the promise goes back even further. God promised Abraham that, through his offspring, all nations of the earth would be blessed.
Is that where the promise began? No.
God promised that a descendant of Adam and Eve would crush the head of the serpent who had deceived them. As Micah said, this ruler came forth from of old, from ancient days.
It was always God's plan to send the promised King, our Kinsman-Redeemer, our Savior, from the little town of Bethlehem.
He was unlike anyone who came before Him. He was, and is, the God-Man, God in the flesh. The Second Person of the Trinity. No beginning and no end. The King of kings and Lord of lords.
With the imminent invasion by Assyria, the promise of a coming king who would reign for ever must have been exciting.
Verse 3 says, "Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel."
Micah informed his listeners that there would be a waiting period, comparing the King's coming to a pregnant woman who eventually goes into labor and gives birth.
The prophet was assuring them that God's promise would come to pass at the perfect time. They would have to be patient. But because God is faithful, they could rest assured that this Forever King would come—and He did, seven centuries later. We, too, can experience joy, hope, and expectation, knowing that this King will come again.
And, according to Micah, what would this King's job entail? Verses 4-6 say, "And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace."
And what will the outcome be when this Shepherd King gathers His flock?
Verse 5 says, "And he shall be their peace."
Their King. Their Shepherd. Their Peace.
When I think of peace, it reminds me of the rest that the Lord established when He completed His work of creation. While God, of course, didn't need a day of rest because He had grown weary, He established the Sabbath as an example to us.
One day out of seven, we are to set aside our day-to-day labors and focus exclusively on Him. As we do, we will come to experience "the peace that passes understanding" (Philippians 4:7), the One who is peace itself.
Micah prophesied of the Promised Ruler who would come. This ruler is Jesus Christ. He is our peace because it's only through repentance and faith in Him that anyone can have the rest and peace that comes with the forgiveness of sins.
Ephesians 2:14 speaks of another type of peace. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.
Jesus brings a peace, a unity, that binds all genuine believers together, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or social standing.
Let's look at Micah 5:5: And he shall be their peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men.
Would hard times come? They would.
Could God's people still experience hope and peace? Definitely.
Ultimately, the people would experience triumph.
Verse 6 reads like this: They shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land and treads within our border.
This doesn't mean the people would rise up in rebellion and re-establish their independence. Instead, this refers to proclaiming the Word of God. They would not bow to false gods but would stand for righteousness, for truth, for the Word of God. This action would bring about true change. Deliverance comes from standing on the Word of God.
God refers to the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, when, in Ephesians 6, He lists our spiritual armor. He equips us with this Sword, and all the other pieces of armor, so we can withstand Satan's attacks. So we can experience spiritual victory. So we can make Him known.
We could never accomplish this victory in our own strength. Yet, there is hope because it's not up to us. Our hope, peace, and rest come from Christ, who works through us to advance His Kingdom for His Honor and Glory. Like the old song says, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."
Verse 7 reads this way: Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man.
And verse 8 … And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver.
Do you see the parallel here? Micah is using two different metaphors to describe the impact God's people will have throughout the world.
Verse 7 says God's people will be "like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass."
Have you ever stepped outside when the dew was still on the grass? It's refreshing and calming. God's Word is like dew for our souls. It's nourishing.
But in verse 8, we read these words: like a lion.
Why would God's people be described as both refreshing dew and a devouring lion? To His sheep, God's people and the message they bring are like the dew. But to those who are not His, they are like a lion, proclaiming God's judgment. Micah paints a picture of blessing and judgment, life and death, heaven and hell. We're a blessing to God's people, and we bring judgment to those who aren't.
Second Corinthians 2:15-16 helps us understand how we can bring both God's blessing and judgment. It says, "For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life."
Both the prophet Micah and the apostle Paul teach us of the Forever King, who brings both blessing and judgment, the refreshing dew and the devouring lion.
It is still our responsibility to declare life and death, heaven and hell, blessings and curses. This is a heavy responsibility. It isn't something to take lightly. It is the call of God for all His people. The only way we can fulfill our call is to surrender to the Lord, turn from our sin, and relinquish our idols, those things we desire more than we do a deepening relationship with God.
I believe idol worship, in its various forms, is why church attendance is declining and why churches aren't seeing the spiritual growth they once did.
The complaint that "we've never done it that way" may indicate that personal preferences and traditions, such as how a pastor "is supposed to dress," have been elevated to the position of an idol.
Each believer must honestly examine their thoughts, beliefs, and desires. We must ask God to show us if we've raised anything in our life to the position of an idol. Micah called God's people to purify themselves. While this doesn't mean we can earn God's favor, we do have a role to play. There is a correlation between God's sovereignty and our responsibility.
The remainder of Micah chapter 5 lists the trials the Lord's people would experience. God was going to unseat every idol.
Leviticus 20:26 says, "You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy."
God doesn't turn a blind eye when it comes to our sin, to our idol worship. But we can rely on the promise that "the Lord disciplines the one he loves"
God always keeps His promises. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to guarantee spiritual victory and to rule as the Forever King. The Lord forgives our sin yet calls us to keep short accounts with Him, to run from those things we're tempted to elevate to the position of idol in our life. If we don't flee, God will tear down the idols in our life. Still, He will continue to build up His children. He is our Protector, and yet, we are not to hide away. God sends us into the world to make Him known.
Let's learn from Micah's warnings to God's people and rejoice in the promise that the Messiah did, indeed, come.