‘Reflections’ on the Writing Prophets 09
M I C A H
Micah 4:1 to 5:15
The message of Micah suddenly changed. From issuing warnings and appeals to this wayward people, he spoke of days of triumph and glory ahead. “The mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains.” Mount Zion will be elevated both physically and spiritually to become the centre of worship once again. This time, still future our present generation, speaks of the millennial kingdom of Yeshua. And it is not for the house of Israel and the house of Judah alone. “Many nations shall come and say ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths’.” This identical prophetic announcement was given to the prophet Isaiah, with the slight difference that Isaiah said “all nations” (Isaiah 2:2). It will be a time of complete peace “Swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.” The Torah of the LORD will be the ‘law of the land’. Here’s the ‘rub’. It was available to the people who comprised Micah’s audience. They wilfully rejected it!! It was, and remains, God’s intent for those who are called by His name.
But then, Micah returns to the reality of his day. For the inhabitants of Judah, he saw their pain, and he saw their future. Prophesying an event which was still over 100 years into the future, he saw that they would be driven from the city (Jerusalem) and would dwell in fields. Not in their own land, but in Chaldea (now Iraq), Babylon the land of their enemy. Beyond that, Micah had a word much further into the future. “Now many nations have gathered against you, who said ‘Let her be defiled, and let your eye look upon Zion’.” Have you noticed how Israel’s enemies today rarely refer to ‘Israel', choosing rather to refer to ‘Zion’? “But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, nor do they understand His counsel; For He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor”.
It’s an unfair match isn’t it? Almighty God, Creator of the Universe on the one hand. And on the other hand mankind, made by Him, known intimately by Him. The first, steadfast, sure, unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing. The other, pumped up with self-importance, proud, intelligent, limited, driven by greed and hate. In the modern idiom, ‘it’s a one horse race’, one certain outcome. And yet, in this day and age, millions of people are prepared to ignore, or outrightly reject, the option of salvation and hope offered by our Creator, through the sacrificial death and resurrection of the only One able to make such offer. And that is exactly what the prophet Micah turned to next.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting”. There is no way that can be misunderstood. It clearly prophesies the place of birth of Messiah Yeshua. One of the 7 ’I am’s’ in John’s gospel is “I am the bread of life”. Did you know that Bethlehem (Heb. ‘Beit Lechem’) means ‘house of bread’? Micah is privileged by God to announce the birth place of Messiah Yeshua. It is this knowledge which the ‘chief priests and scribes’ used to tell Herod, who was intent on ‘killing off’ the One he presumed came to usurp his authority, where the newborn Messiah was born. As we proceed in our ‘reflection’ of understanding this prophecy we need to keep a close eye on the text because the prophet continued with some statements (Micah 5: 3,4) which have a quite wide perspective, covering a time span up to the establishment of the coming Millennial Kingdom, ruled in peace by the One who was born in Bethlehem. Before then returning (Micah 5: 5-8) to the period in which we can identify as the period in which we live today. And finally, in our text this week, (Micah 5: 10-15) covering the time of the last days immediately before the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom.
Now we need to understand that the prophet himself could not possibly have had any idea of the totality of things God revealed to him. But, because he lived in the time of the demise of the northern kingdom, he could envisage elements of his message being replicated in his day. Idolatry and disobedience to commands of Torah were evident. So for him, it was a message of urgency. His motive was twofold. Principally that he himself be obedient to a command of God of which he had no doubt. And in so doing, to urge the people to repent in order to avoid the devastation which that message proclaimed was about to fall on them. It was clearly a message for his time. But the mystery and power of the word of God is its ageless relevance. For that reason we may identify lessons for ourselves in this text.
The evidence that this prophecy is of God, is in the appearance of Yeshua, born in Bethlehem. The demise of the northern kingdom in 722 BCE. and the southern kingdom in 586 BCE. The dispersion of the Israelites from the land in 135 CE. All history for us. We may be assured then, that the prophecy of Micah 5: 3,4 about the Millenial Kingdom is also of Him. The events we see taking place in the world today are evidential of the signs we are told would occur in the last days. God has provided 16 writing prophets, 4 gospel writers and 5 Apostolic writers to ‘warn’ us to get right with Him. What more, I ask myself, could He possibly do to convince people, His own people, you and me, to be obedient to His commands?