He Will Be Their Peace
Key Verse 5:4
“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.”
This section here is a prophesy about the coming of the Messiah. The first verse tells us what was to happen to Judah’s last ruler, before the coming of the Messiah. And verse 2 tells us of the birth of the final ruler of Judah (and of the world) who is Jesus the Messiah. What was happening in the kingdom of Judah at the time of the prophesy when Micah was prophesying in God’s name? The Southern kingdom was already captured and exiled by King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:1,2) of Assyria. And the northern kingdom of Judah was about to be swallowed as well, and terminated as a kingdom. The Assyrians liked to assimilate any conquered nation among all the other conquered nations, so that no one people or nation could maintain their national identity. This way, there would be no danger of any conquered kingdom to rise up and rebel against its conqueror.
Now why was the southern kingdom in danger of being captured and exiled? The answer is simple. God wasn’t very happy with them. Judah’s rulers had abandoned God and were obsessed with wealth and position— like most worldly rulers who think that their kingdom exists only to serve them. So God was now prophesying through the prophet Micah that Jerusalem (the capital of the kingdom of Judah) with all its wealth and power, was about to be overrun by the enemy. And all the king’s armies couldn’t save the city and the country from impending destruction. But of course, the prophesy also has the good news side of things. And that’s what the prophesy in this section is all about— the good news in the midst of the bad news.
Look at verse 1. “Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.” The ruler or king at the time, most probably was King Zedekiah, the last king in David’s line to sit on the throne of Judah. What Micah tells us in the following verses, is that the next king to sit on the throne would be the Messiah. Of course, according to prophesy, the Messiah was going to be from King David’s line. But the throne he would sit on was not going to be an earthly throne. It was a heavenly throne and therefore, the Messiah’s kingship and kingdom would not be a temporary one like all the earthly kingdoms, but it would be a permanent one, a forever kingdom, an everlasting kingdom, an eternal kingdom.
Isaiah the prophet, who was contemporary to Micah tells us who this Messiah is and what kind of kingdom he would rule. He said: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) If you look at verse 2, Micah confirms the Messiah is eternal— he is God’s Son, the King of Kings and Lord and Lords, “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
In verse 1 Micah tells us of the fate of the last king of Judah and in the following verses he tells us of the coming of the next King, the Messiah, but there were generations that passed before the Messiah came. So we can say that the prophesy in verse 1 took place almost 8th centuries before the coming of the Messiah and the last and Only King of Judah, and eventually the world as well. The prophesy here in these verses spans countless generations, up the coming of the Messiah, and even up to the time when God would bring the rest of the Jews into the Christian family. But that is not what we want to discuss today. The prophesy here clearly tells us what kind of a Ruler/King this Messiah would be. And what he would do.
Read verse 2. “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.” It tells us where the Messiah would be born. And this is very interesting. He will come from an insignificant town called Bethlehem. The reason Bethlehem is famous now is because we already know where the Messiah was born. He was born in Bethlehem. And that’s what put this small an insignificant town on the map. But way before Bethlehem was put on the map, it was a small town in the Israel. The only other thing that makes Bethlehem even a town to mention, was that King David, the greatest ruler of Israel was born there as well. But there was nothing special about it. The question then is why then would the glorious God choose this village above all other villages as the birthplace of his Son, the Messiah? The reason God chose this place was not because of its geographic or economical importance. But it’s precisely because it had no significance. And that’s the way that God is and that’s how he usually works.