Mat 2:1-12; Do You Know Micah?
length: 54:19 - taught on Nov, 15 2023
Wednesday November 15, 2023
Theme: Enjoying the gift of God when surrounded by darkness, evil, sin, corruption, injustice, and hate.
[eye of the storm. Click in pic]
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:
6 'AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH,
ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH;
FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER
WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'"
Contemporary with Isaiah, Micah has a message for Israel and Judah.
A great deal of what the prophets did was to warn Israel of impending doom, and so also to exhort them to repent.
Hear, O peoples, all of you;
Listen, O earth and all it contains,
And let the Lord God be a witness against you,
The Lord from His holy temple.
3 For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place.
He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.
4 The mountains will melt under Him
And the valleys will be split,
Like wax before the fire,
Like water poured down a steep place.
5 All this is for the rebellion of Jacob
And for the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the rebellion of Jacob?
Is it not Samaria?
What is the high place of Judah?
Is it not Jerusalem?
On the other hand I am filled with power —
With the Spirit of the Lord —
And with justice and courage
To make known to Jacob his rebellious act,
Even to Israel his sin.
There has been 500 years of rebellion (few pockets of faithfulness). They worship idols and they oppress the weak and the poor. And God is clear that He is going to destroy them.
Their rulers hate good and love evil. There are false prophets who prophesy for a bribe (3:2, 5, 11). All of what they do is clearly in violation of the Mosaic Law.
Micah is doom with pockets of hope.
One of those pockets is the birth of the Messiah.
The messages of hope should be seen in their context. They come unexpectedly.
“The women of My people you evict,
Each one from her pleasant house.
From her children you take My splendor forever.
10 Arise and go,
For this is no place of rest
Because of the uncleanness that brings on destruction,
A painful destruction.
11 If a man walking after wind and falsehood
Had told lies and said,
'I will speak out to you concerning wine and liquor,'
He would be spokesman to this people.”
“I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob,
I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.
I will put them together like sheep in the fold;
Like a flock in the midst of its pasture
They will be noisy with men.
13 The breaker goes up before them;
They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.
So their king goes on before them,
And the Lord at their head.”
The next one is in chapter 4, but in context …God pronounces judgment upon Judah and the temple:
“Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob
And rulers of the house of Israel,
Who abhor justice
And twist everything that is straight,
10 Who build Zion with bloodshed
And Jerusalem with violent injustice.
11 Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe,
Her priests instruct for a price
And her prophets divine for money.
Yet they lean on the Lord saying,
"Is not the Lord in our midst?
Calamity will not come upon us."
12 Therefore, on account of you
Zion will be plowed as a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins,
And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.”
And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains.
It will be raised above the hills,
And the peoples will stream to it.
2 Many nations will come and say,
"Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord
And to the house of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.
"For from Zion will go forth the law,
Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.
4 Each of them will sit under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid,
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
5 Though all the peoples walk
Each in the name of his god,
As for us, we will walk
In the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.
6 "In that day," declares the Lord,
“I will assemble the lame
And gather the outcasts,
Even those whom I have afflicted.
7 I will make the lame a remnant
And the outcasts a strong nation,
And the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
From now on and forever.”
If we think He shows favor to the afflicted, who among us are not?
Micah then goes on to state that the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity are going to happen and the people will be deported. Interestingly he uses birth imagery to describe it.
“Writhe and labor to give birth,
Daughter of Zion,
Like a woman in childbirth;
For now you will go out of the city,
Dwell in the field,
And go to Babylon.”
But that they will return to Judea and there a new Zion will emerge.
“There you will be rescued;
There the Lord will redeem you
From the hand of your enemies.”
And then comes the birth of the King.
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel [Matthew ends his quote here].
It may be that Matthew also had in mind:
And the Lord said to you [David], 'You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.'"
This is the time in which David was anointed king over all of Israel.
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
3 Therefore He will give them up until the time
When she who is in labor has borne a child.
Then the remainder of His brethren
Will return to the sons of Israel.
4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
5 This One will be our peace.
Micah ends with a man (Micah or Israel) weeping and praying for deliverance. He will have it for two reasons that end the book.
In 7:1 He says, “Woe is me.”
He sees things like vs. 6 which is familiar to us:
For son treats father contemptuously,
Daughter rises up against her mother,
Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
A man's enemies are the men of his own household.
He sees the evil in the world. He sees the terrible things people do to each other, even family members.
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
Why does he have confidence?
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love.
19 He will again have compassion on us;
He will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, You will cast all their sins
Into the depths of the sea.
20 You will give truth to Jacob
And unchanging love to Abraham,
Which You swore to our forefathers
From the days of old.
The more enlightened by truth that you become, the world will not. The love of the world will continue to grow colder and colder.
The more you come to love your Lord and your Father for sending Him, the world will not. The mocking cynicism of the world will only get more frequent and louder.
Christ was born into this world. It was just as corrupt and unloving and cynical then as it is now. He came all the same to glorify God on earth.
You and I must not get discouraged like this man at the end of Micah. Though you will be sorrowful and perplexed at times, you must not fall into the “Woe is me,” routine. And when it happens, you must look to God and pray as this man did. “I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”