If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 1 Chronicles 28, 2 Peter 2, Micah 5, Luke 14. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Micah 5.
Like many of the other prophets we’ve read, Micah prophesied doom in the short-term and hope in the future. We saw this immediately in today’s passage. Verse 1 said, “Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.” This verse was about Jerusalem, the stronghold city that David captured, fortified, and used as his capital. Now, however, the Babylonians were laying siege to it, weakening it for its inevitable fall.
In contrast to the city of David’s might, Jerusalem in verse 1, verse 2 talked about the lowly place of David’s upbringing: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah....” Just as this town produced David, Israel’s greatest king to date, now the Lord promised his people that “out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel” (v. 2b). This is the hope in the future that I spoke of at the beginning of this devotional. Micah acknowledged that God’s judgment was coming upon his people, but he also relayed God’s promise of another ruler from David’s hometown. This ruler would be “ruler over Israel.” Not ruler over Judah but “over Israel” indicating that a reuinification of the nation was coming. And what did the Lord have to say about this ruler? His “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” This connected this prophecy about Jesus, the Messiah, to the covenant God made with David (the Davidic covenant). The “ruler” that will come will trace his origin not just to David’s hometown but to David’s family. This is why Luke explained the story of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem and why the gospel writers traced Christ’s human origin through David. As we move toward Christmas, it is important to remember that God has only begun to keep these promises. Christ was born in Bethlehem and did trace his origin to David, but his promised victories in verses 7-15 still await us. Until he returns, then, we pray “your kingdom come” just as Christ himself commanded us to do.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.