"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2
The year is 701 BC and the Assyrians are coming down from the north. They have already come down the coastline and are coming back up from the south to finish Judea off. Hezekiah the king is powerless to save them. It would seem that Judea will be destroyed just like Israel was twenty years before. Why has this tragedy come? It is because the people worship idols and are filled with greed. The nation that once had been built around God has forgotten their God. They have caused this destruction by their evil practices and their denial of the Lord. The year is 2016 and our world seems to be in confusion. We have been through a terrible presidential campaign. Our nation is filled with rebellion on the streets and terror threats in our cities. Fortunately, God has not forgotten His people and offers the same solution – a king from Bethlehem.
Who is this king? The ruler will be from Bethlehem. The prophecy was so clear that the Pharisees of Herod’s court could tell the magi exactly where to find the baby in the manger. In Micah’s day, it tells the people two things about the coming king. It tells them he is humble and of David’s line. He will be humble and be able to relate to people. He will not be born in a palace, but in the little crossroads of Bethlehem about ten miles south. Yet he will be of the royal family and fulfill the promises made to David about his line of kings continuing through the ages. We need a humble ruler. We need one who cares about the people, not wealthy millionaires who run for office and care more about their foundations and businesses than about the people. We need someone we can go to who will bring happiness to average people. We need Jesus.
And when the King comes, there will be peace. He will shepherd his people and they will depend on him. He will lead them beside the quiet waters and he will restore their souls. This will be a king that will bring wholeness to people who live in chaos. We see it in Jesus as he heals the sick and as he brings answers to thousands sitting on the hillside. The people lived in the darkness of the age and yet His light shined so brightly that their world was changed and their lives came together. The world around them may be chaos, but Jesus gives order and light to their lives so that the pieces of life work together to build stronger families and friendships. He changes them from the inside out so that they have character and values. Life is Shalom with Jesus. It has real peace.
Micah presents God’s encouragement to the people, but many did not get it. If they had, the nation would not have gone into the Babylonian Captivity only 100 years later. The wise will bow before this king and follow him with their life. They will put him first in their lives and hang on every word that he says in scripture and seek him out daily in prayer so that they may have his guidance and comfort. They will thrive in the chaos for Jesus will be their leader and light. The fool will try to live life with only a little of Jesus and his guidance. They will have the king, but not let him rule. They will hear his guidance and think that they are wise and don’t need it. They will seek comfort in other places and people. Their lives will not have the peace for they have not sought out Jesus. Wise men and women still seek Him. They bow before the child and make Him their own.