Friday, November 11, 2011

Redemption via Bethlehem.

Micah is speaking to a people who had grown used to peace.  Several generations in a row lived in peace.  Then during Micah's time that peace was broken.  Things were not going well.  The people had lived extravagant, decadent lives and now were broken, at war, and scared.

He preached and prophesied to people ready to hear him.  To People who needed it.  His words went from promises of hope and restoration to promises of Judgment.  This Chapter 5 is the conclusion of one of the promises of restoration.  The hope that was coming.  

He begins:  

Now you are walled around with a wall; siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the ruler of Israel upon the cheek. 

Bad stuff is coming--bad things are happening....

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel,

The Ancient Jews believed him to be talking of a Messiah--they knew that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem!  Just where Jesus came from! 

whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. 

This points to Mary and his brothers and sisters in the world!  Seems a good prophetic voice to me!

And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

Jesus talked about being the shepherd--this is prophecy from here and from Psalm 23 (Directly after 22 which we dealt with)

And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; 
and he shall be the one of peace. 

Price of Peace!  We heard that in Isaiah!  But, the Ancient Jews were expecting an earthly King--forcing peace by strength.  How God's arithmetic doesn't make sense.  How God's power seems so backward!

If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil,
we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers. 
They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword; they shall rescue us from the Assyrians if they come into our land or tread within our border. 

This part is harder for me.  I'm not sure of the connection--other than it was Micah's understanding.  Maybe its an assurance that evil can't overtake the grace and love of Christ.

Then the remnant of Jacob, surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass,
which do not depend upon people or wait for any mortal. 
And among the nations the remnant of Jacob, surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, with no one to deliver.  Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off. 

More talk about how Israel will prosper and be safe even amongst enemies!  Talking about how God wins!

On that day, says the Lord,
   I will cut off your horses from among you
   and will destroy your chariots; 
and I will cut off the cities of your land
   and throw down all your strongholds; 
and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,
   and you shall have no more soothsayers; 
and I will cut off your images
   and your pillars from among you,
and you shall bow down no more
   to the work of your hands; 
and I will uproot your sacred poles from among you
   and destroy your towns. 
And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance
   on the nations that did not obey. 

Here is talk like in Daniel about the Day of the Lord--that God is coming to save. I'm not sure if all of this points to Jesus--but it points to their understanding of the Messiah.

Whats your understanding of the Messiah?

blessings--Pastor Emily 


Anonymous said...

Once again, I am too late with my readings to create discussion for you. However, I do appreciate your 'teaching' on the subject at hand. these are great passages to read when you think the world has gone to hell in a handbasket; maybe so, but God will triumph in the end. And we need to maintain the faith whether life is good or bad. Becky Black

Mary said...

I think those last verses talk about how much God hate the idols and false gods the Ancient Jews (and we too) worship and all the things we build, make, pile up thinking we can take care of ourselves. And the Messiah is to lead us to dependence on God and to worship Him only.
Maybe Micah's time is too much like ours. We have taken advantage of good times and we are not prepared for lean times. We need to turn to our Messiah to help us find the way to live in this time and through eternity.