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Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 5/19/2011
(edited July 2019)
Verse 1: “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.”
Micah was a prophet in the nation of Juda in Jerusalem. God’s people, at this time, were under Divine Judgement. The Assyrian nation (modern day Northern Iraq) were in the process of overtaking and carrying away the Northern Kingdom of Israel. And the threat of Babylon (modern day Southern Iraq) would loom over Judah in the Southern Kingdom.
Judah’s leaders were going to be defeated, killed, and/or humiliated by their enemies. This was the message this Old Testament prophet was given to share!
Verse 2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
Here’s a shock! David and his sons had been the rulers in Jerusalem. But King David was gone now and his sons, many dishonorable, were all but defeated and gone. But God, even here, offers them a message of hope: He is NOT done with the House of David, nor with the Children of Abraham.
The New Testament tells us Who this ultimate Ruler would be in this well-known passage from Matthew 2:3-6:
“ When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”
Now, back to Micah’s prophesy:
Verse 3: “Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”
God allowed the Nation of Israel to go through judgement in Micah’s time. But the Lord refers them to a coming Savior Who was yet to be born. They were witnessing the painful fall of David’s sons. But, some 700 years later, eternal victory would come through a “daughter” of king David in the person of Mary.
Verse 4: “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”
Christ was to be glorious in the whole earth!
Verses 5-6: “And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”
Micah has shifted gears here from the distant future and the coming Messiah to their near future and their current crisis as Assyria and soon Babylon would threaten and overtake the Kingdom of Judah. This shifting back and forth seems to happen often in Old Testament prophesies and is a matter of interpretation.
The rest of the passage deals with God’s righteous judgement:
God’s People will soon be driven from their promised land, but not from the eternal promises and power of God. Remember, Micah also is pointing us toward Christ and the Church as well. That Church is also living among all the nations to this day.
Verses 7-8: “And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
What Micah describes next is the kind of deliverance that Israel, and even the Disciples of Christ, were so thirsty for by the time Jesus came on the scene:
Verse 9: “Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.”
But the raw truth that the route to ultimate victory would require Christ to die at Calvary was hard to be grasped, and still a hard concept for us today.
Ancient Israel and Juda had mistaken God’s Love and tolerance as license to ignore and abandon Him:
Verses 10-14: “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.”
Is the Church, in our day, and are we as individuals in need of judgement? Passages like this one should cause each one of us to take stock. The Lord would not be trifled with or manipulated in the Old Covenant, that is abundantly clear. Why would we assume that He can be in the New?
Finally, ancient Babylon and Assyria were not righteous conquerors. They were heathen kingdoms who totally rejected the worship of Jehovah. Their judgement would eventually come also:
Verse 15: “And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.”
Our mission today is not just to reform and purify the Church and our own selves as believers, but to warn an unbelieving and unprepared world of the Day of Judgement still to come. In his New Testament writings, the Apostle Peter put it this way in I Peter 4:17 (and with this we close):
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”