But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf. (Micah 5:2)
Micah would have written this prophecy sometime during the the reigns of kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah. Other prophets in his day include Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea. It’s hard to believe these words were written some seven hundred years before they were fulfilled in the birth of our Messiah, Jesus.
Because we’re getting nearer and nearer to celebrating Christmas, that means the Advent season is drawing to a close for another year. What are some of your favorite ways to “get ready” for (1) the birth of Jesus and (2) Jesus’ return? Advent is that perfect time to reflect on both since there is a lot to do to “be prepared.”
Today’s reading puts us in that second focus of preparation. Micah speaks of the last days so we can get a picture of what that will look like. What are some of the images we have to look forward to? We see people coming together in one accord seeking more of Jesus. We see God resolving our disputes and bringing peace. An attitude of fear will have no place in those days.
What a great conclusion to the book of Micah which began with a resounding declaration of doom for Judah and Israel! How fitting that Micah closes this book with what seems almost like a prayer or song reminding us of God’s grace.
Jesus called himself the good shepherd in John 10. Micah uses that image, and I can’t help but think of Jesus. A shepherd guides his sheep and protects their welfare. Even so, the world will see and be amazed at what the Lord will do for us. I long for the day when people will “cover their mouths in silent awe, deaf to everything around them.” Can you even imagine?
Did you see Jesus in this passage? I did, so I looked at some of the resources David has on Micah. Remember he did his dissertation on this book–so there are still plenty of references sitting on his bookshelf. It appears others hadn’t seen Jesus, but I’d like to take this reflection in that direction anyway.
Because I ask the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart when I read a passage, I’m going to go with what I heard today because I’m never sure who is supposed to read my words. It is always my prayer that something the Lord gives me in my reflections will return to him full and overflowing.
The life of a prophet can be lonely, especially when “the godly people have all disappeared.” It’s getting to be the same for us Christ-followers these days. Do you ever feel like you’re in the minority because of your faith? Perhaps you’ve been ridiculed in some way or even “unfriended” on social media. These are trying times, to be sure. While I’m not a prophet, I am an ambassador for Christ and that can also be very lonely.
If we take Micah’s example and keep doing what we’re called to do (tell people about Jesus), then we can appear confident, sure of God’s protection. Micah had an unpopular message from God, and rather than hide it, he exposed it. We don’t have Micah’s job but imagine all the flaming darts being flung at you right now, and then realize God is deflecting most of them. The spiritual battle is real.