2085.) Micah 5

Israel is building a “separation fence” along and within the West Bank.  When finished, the wall will be almost 500 miles long.  Here, at Bethlehem, it is  26 feet tall of solid concrete.  The people who live in “O Little Town of Bethlehem” must face loss of land, increased difficulty in accessing medical, educational, and employment facilities on the other side of the wall, and restricted access to water sources.

Micah 5 (ESV)

The Ruler to Be Born in Bethlehem

1 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.
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,

Luke 2:1-7 (NLT)

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.  (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.  And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.  She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22:13) This means from the very beginning, Jesus was there.  There was never a time when Jesus did not exist.

Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He existed as the Second Person of the Trinity (John 17:5, 17:24). These passages tell us that there was a relationship of love, fellowship, and shared glory that the Father and the Son shared in eternity past. The name “Jesus” was not known as a name for the Second Person of the Trinity until the angel Gabriel announced it to Mary (Luke 1:31).  But the eternal Son existed before He revealed Himself as “Jesus.”

Before Bethlehem, Jesus was the creator of all things (Colossians 1:16-17, John 1:1-3). “He was before all things. As he is the Creator of all things, so he is the Eternal, and no part of what was created. All being but God has been created. Whatever has not been created is God. But Jesus is the Creator of all things; therefore he is God; for he cannot be a part of his own work.” (Clarke)

In the Old Testament, Jesus appeared as God made visible or “The Angel of the Lord.” There are many instances in the Old Testament where individuals are shown to have had a face to face encounter with the Lord. (Genesis 16:7-13, Genesis 18, Genesis 32:24-32, Joshua 5:13-15, Judges 6:11-24, Judges 13:8-24, Daniel 3). In each situation, the Person is given different titles, but in all cases the person is plainly referred to as the Lord Himself, but appearing in a human form.

From eternity past, God’s plan of the ages included Jesus (1 Peter 1:20, Ephesians 1:4).

–David Guzik

3Therefore 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.
4And 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.

In prophesying these words (verses 2-4) about the coming of the Messiah, Micah reveals to his contemporaries and to us at least three things about God which should turn us away from idols and cause us to want to trust God above all else. The three things are: first, God always acts to magnify his glory, especially the glory of his freedom and mercy. Second, God keeps his promises. Third, God protects his people. If those three things are true, then who would not want the Lord above any idol? Who would not want to be protected by omnipotence and made an heir of promises which involve infinite glory?

–John Piper

5And he shall be their peace.

_________________________

Music:

One of my favorite Christmas carols. Pray for the peace of Jesus for Bethlehem!  HERE  Sarah McLachlan sings “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

_________________________

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;

In contrast to the corrupt leaders that the prophet has lambasted, the Lord, when he comes, will raise up good leaders to help him defeat evil. Assyria/Nimrod in this case is a symbol of all the evil nations in the world.

6they 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.

A Remnant Shall Be Delivered

7Then 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.
8And 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.
9Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries,
and all your enemies shall be cut off.

The Lord declares that he will cut off anything that had previously been used in their idolatry:

10And in that day, declares the LORD,
I will cut off your horses from among you
and will destroy your chariots;
11 and I will cut off the cities of your land
and throw down all your strongholds;
12and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,
and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes;
13and I will cut off your carved images
and your pillars from among you,
and you shall bow down no more
to the work of your hands;
14and I will root out your Asherah images from among you
and destroy your cities.
15And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance
on the nations that did not obey.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Bethlehem wall.   http://images.travelpod.com/users/out-of-nanoose/2.1262679599.section-of-the-concrete-wall-around-bethlehem.jpg
Bethlehem star.  http://forestparktree.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/bethlehem2.jpg
Baby Jesus in a manger.   https://musingsofernie.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/baby-jesus-in-manger.jpg
majesty, greatness, strength.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e0/5b/80/e05b80260e7d1645d675f3fc9325cac4.jpg
lion.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/88/a7/40/88a740547aaef53e3a1bc88e28e55163.jpg
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