The Coming Ruler (Micah 5:2)
Micah is a contemporary of Isaiah, who wrote at least 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ to Mary. Micah and Isaiah likely knew each other in some capacity. In this letter, Micah talks about the Assyrians and the evil empire. The enemy of Israel at that time would’ve been the Assyrians. Micah is writing at a time when the destruction of Israel is right on the heels. The Assyrians are bearing down.
The kingdom is divided, with Israel in the north and Judah in the south. It’s not supposed to be that way, but that’s what happened. So we’re looking at the coming Ruler and the Ruler’s reign.
Notice that the city is personified in saying, ‘From you, One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.’ He’s talking about Bethlehem as though it was a person. This is an apparent reference to Christ. Bethlehem Ephrathah is a complicated thing. It’s incumbent that we know this would be a larger region.
When you go to Jericho, you will find ancient Jericho, which is 1.5 miles away from modern-day Jericho. In antiquity, it is a fair distance in a place the size of Israel. So when you look at this area, you’ve got about 5 to 8 miles from where Bethlehem is to where Jerusalem would be.
2 Samuel 7
2 Samuel 7 is significant because that passage is about The Davidic kingdom, that someone will reign forever on the throne of David. It doesn’t mention Saul when we talk about the kingdom of God. He’s an epic failure right from the beginning. David, probably a preteen at the time, is chosen to be the king instead. God looks at the heart, not at the outward man. In 1 Samuel 16:1, we read of David being born to Jesse in Bethlehem. In line with the Davidic covenant, the birth of Jesus occurred in Bethlehem.
This text sets up a coming ruler personified by saying, ‘As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah. From you, One will go forth for Me to be Ruler in Israel.’ Fast forward in the story, Herod the Great is a megalomaniac and essentially occupies Israel. The Herodium was about 5 miles from Bethlehem to Jerusalem proper. You can see Bethlehem and Jerusalem clearly at the Herodium on a clear day. Herod freaked out because he heard rumors of the birth of Jesus.
In Matthew 2:3-6, we read that Herod, the King, was troubled when he heard of the birth of Jesus. So he called together the local Jewish scribes and Pharisees. The word scribe here refers to a Jewish lawyer who knew the law of God. He called the chief priest to whom the scribes would answer in some sense, and he said, ‘Where is the Messiah to be born?’ They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea.’
The shepherd’s fields were the most important part of Bethlehem, second to Jesus being born there. The shepherds took care of sacrificial animals. The scripture states that if the distance was too far between where the Lord God puts His name for you to worship, you’ll take your money and go to this place, buy many things, and offer them to the Lord.
They take care of sheep, a postage stamp reminder of the Passover. We know that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God Who will take away the sin of the world. Jesus came from Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy because this was God’s design for the Davidic lineage. The Messiah also tells us that He eternally existed. The prophet Micah is saying the Ruler who will come has already lived. As it says in Colossians 1:17, ‘He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together.’ He did not just show up when Mary bore Him in Bethlehem in a manger. He came, but He’s always existed.
Seasons come and go, and we can draw a breath right now because Jesus Christ is the Creator and Sustainer of all. It’s easier to believe in God’s word at face value than it is to come up with ways to explain away why the scripture’s wrong. The ancients were wiser than we are today. Yes, we have the technology they did not have, but they had a relationship with God that most Christians today don’t understand.
If He can create water and turn it into wine, walk on water, and create a new set of eyes for the blind man in John 9, He certainly has power over nature and creation. Any miracle that Jesus did broke the laws of physics and biology. That’s why it was a miracle.
The Ruler’s Reign (Micah 5:3-5)
We can split this passage up into two points. First, the remainder will return, and second, He will shepherd His people. The dispersed Jews will return to Israel in the future, until that time when she, in labor, bears a son. He’s going to shepherd His people. Birth pangs are a metaphor used here to describe the dispersion of Israel. When things get closer together and the Israelites return to Messiah, we will watch Messiah arise. This has got to be a reference to resurrection.
Shepherding is an interesting concept in the Old Testament, and if you’ve not read Ezekiel 34:7, it is chilling what God says about shepherds who do not care for their flock because they’re responsible for God’s people. Jesus’ prophecy is saying He will shepherd His people not in the flesh, not by wisdom, not by wealth and power, but in the strength of the Lord. Then He will be great to the ends of the earth.
Israel has got to learn something. As we go back and read 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, or Samuel, how often do you read, ‘And he did evil in the sight of the Lord?’ This King who is coming will have a perfect reign. The birth of Jesus Christ fulfills all prophecies.
He’s the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Our history of 240 years in counting versus Israel’s history versus the world’s dynasties is nothing compared to eternity. He is the God of gods, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the one true eternally existing God who came. We should take note. We need a bigger picture of history. There’s One who will reign, and you, as a believer in Christ, need to look with clarity and confidence at Him, not the insanity we’re swimming in.
Phillips Brooks – The Candle of The Lord
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