Micah 5 – A Ruler from Bethlehem
A. The birth and the work of the Ruler from Bethlehem.
1. (1-2) From the lowly and humble in Israel comes a Ruler.
Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; he has laid siege against us; they will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
a. He has laid siege against us: Israel will be humbled by foreign powers, and even her judges will bear insults.
b. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah . . . out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel: In this time of humiliation under foreign powers, God will raise up a great Ruler from a humble place – Bethlehem.
i. Bethlehem was well known as the hometown of David, Israel’s greatest king; yet it was never a great or influential city. It was truly little among the thousands of Israel. Yet God chose it as the birthplace of the Messiah, the Ruler in Israel.
ii. This passage from Micah 5 was quoted by the chief priests and teachers of the law when Herod asked about the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:5-6).
iii. Bethlehem means House of Bread, and Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). “And now for that word Ephratah. That was the old name of the place which the Jews retained and loved. The meaning of it is, ‘fruitfulness,’ or ‘abundance.’ Ah! well was Jesus born in the house of fruitfulness; for whence cometh my fruitfulness and thy fruitfulness, my brother, but from Bethlehem? Our poor barren hearts never produced one fruit or flower, till they were watered with the Savior’s blood.” (Spurgeon)
c. Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting: This glorious promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and Micah’s prophetic voice declares that though Jesus came from Bethlehem, He did not begin there. His goings forth are from eternity past.
i. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22:13) This means from the very beginning, Jesus was there.There was never a time when the Jesus did not exist.
ii. Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He existed as the Second Person of the Trinity(John 17:5, 17:24). These passages tell us that there was a relationship of love, fellowship, and shared glory that the Father and the Son shared in eternity past. The name “Jesus” was not known as a name for the Second Person of the Trinity until the angel Gabriel announced it to Mary (Luke 1:31).But the eternal Son existed before He revealed Himself as “Jesus.”
iii. Before Bethlehem, Jesus was the creator of all things (Colossians 1:16-17, John 1:1-3). “He was before all things. As he is the Creator of all things, so he is the Eternal, and no part of what was created. All being but God has been created. Whatever has not been created is God. But Jesus is the Creator of all things; therefore he is God; for he cannot be a part of his own work.” (Clarke)
iv. In the Old Testament, Jesus appeared as God made visible or “The Angel of the Lord.” There are many instances in the Old Testament where individuals are shown to have had a face to face encounter with the Lord. (Genesis 16:7-13, Genesis 18, Genesis 32:24-32, Joshua 5:13-15, Judges 6:11-24, Judges 13:8-24, Daniel 3). In each situation, the Person is given different titles, but in all cases the person is plainly referred to as the Lord Himself, but appearing in a human form.
v. From eternity past, God’s plan of the ages included Jesus (1 Peter 1:20, Ephesians 1:4).
vi. Knowing that Jesus’ goings forth are from of old, from everlasting shows us some important things:
· It shows us the glory of Jesus, that He is far more than a man
· It shows us the love of Jesus, that He would leave the glory of heaven for us
· It shows us the nature of Jesus, that He would add humanity to His deity
· It shows us the sympathy of Jesus, that He remains fully man and fully God
Matthew2:15 Out of Egypt I have called my Son............
Jesus spent time in Egypt, the family fled Bethlehem to escape the wrath of Herod who then killed all the children there!!!1.
(1-2) Israel: Called by God
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. As they called them, so they went from them; they sacrificed to the Baals, and burned incense to carved images.”
a. I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son: God remembers His tender love for Israel, when more than 500 years before the time of Hosea He brought them out of Egypt.This is an “unexpected prophecy” fulfilled in the life of Jesus.Matthew 2:15 shows how the words out of Egypt I called My son were fulfilled when the child Jesus return from Egypt after escaping there on the eve of Herod’s massacre of the innocents.
Jeremiah31}15 Herod kills all the little boys in Bethlehem !!!6. (15-17) Rachel weeping.
Thus says the Lord:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”
Thus says the Lord:
“Refrain your voice from weeping,
And your eyes from tears;
For your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord,
And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
There is hope in your future, says the Lord,
That your children shall come back to their own border.”
a. Rachel weeping for her children: Here the Lord spoke through a poetic image, picturing Rachel (the mother of Benjamin and Joseph, ancestors of prominent tribes of Israel) weeping for her children. She does this from Ramah, near where she was buried (1 Samuel 10:2).
i. “Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, is pictured as weeping in despair over the exiled tribes. To her comes the comforting assurance that her children will be miraculously returned to her.” (Cundall)
b. Because they are no more: In this poetic picture, Rachel rises from her tomb and sees that her descendants have been taken away in exile and captivity. She is grieved, refusing to be comforted.Matthew the Gospel writer understood this as a type or picture-in-the-poetic-picture of the horrific slaughter of children in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas because of his fear of the birth of the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:16-18).
Elizah before Jesus
2. (5-6) Elijah will come.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
a. I will send you Elijah the prophet: In this unique promise, God assures that He will send Elijah to Israel again before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
i. This was fulfilled in John the Baptist in a figurative sense (Matthew 11:14, Mark 9:11-13, Luke 1:17). Yet because this Elijah comes before the coming of the great and dreadful day, we know that the Elijah prophecy is only completely fulfilled before the Second Coming of Jesus. John 17:11-12 and Revelation 11:3-12 speak of this future fulfillment, when God will either send Elijah back to the earth on this special errand, or send someone uniquely empowered in the spirit and office of Elijah.
ii. In anticipation of this, Jewish homes set a place at the table for Elijah at Passover, just in case he might come on that night to announce the news that Messiah has come. The empty chair and the cup that is filled but never drank is a testimony to their anticipation of Elijah’s coming.
b. Elijah the prophet: Why Elijah? Because he ministered in a time of crisis in Israel, when the nation was far from God, and a time that immediately preceded a terrible judgment.
i. It is significant that in these closing words of the Old Testament, God makes reference to both Moses and Elijah. They both met God at Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:1; 1 Kings 19:8-18). They also both met Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-5). They are probably the two witnesses of Revelation 11.
d. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children: This promise speaks of more than the reconciliation of families. When God turns the hearts of the children to their fathers, it also has in mind turning to the God of their fathers, to the faith of the patriarchs.
e. Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse: The Old Testament ends with the threat of a curse, but also with the expectation of a new dawning of the Sun of Righteousness.This ending of the Book of Malachi bothered the ancient Jews. “The Masorites, who have given us most of the copies of the Hebrew Old Testament we have . . . were so bothered by this that they repeated the next-to-the-last verse of Malachi after the last verse. Similarly, the Septuagint reverses the last two verse so the Old Testament ends, not with a curse, but with a blessing.” (Boice)The end of the New Testament recognizes the rising of the Sun of Righteousness: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! (Revelation 22:21)
3ISAIAH 9:6 The glory of the Messiah who will reign.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
a. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: Most straightforwardly, Isaiah is using the Hebrew literary tool of repetition to emphasize the point. The Child is born, the Son is given. At the same time, we recognize the hand of the Holy Spirit in the specific wording.
b. For unto us a Child is born: This glorious prophecy of the birth of Messiah reminds Israel that the victory-bringing Messiah would be a man. Theoretically, the Messiah could have been an angel. Or, the Messiah could have been God without humanity. But in reality, neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Saviour and High Priest as Jesus was. The Child had to be born.
Unto us a Son is given: This Child would be a man, but more than a man. He is also the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead. Theoretically, the Messiah didn’t have to be God. He might have been a sinless angel, or merely a perfect man like Adam. But in reality, neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Saviour and High Priest as Jesus was. The Son had to be given.
And the government will be upon His shoulder: Ultimately, this will be fulfilled in the Millennium, when Jesus Christ will rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 20:4-6, Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 65:17-25, Zechariah 14:6-21).
His name will be called: The idea isn’t that these will be the literal names of the Messiah. Instead, these are aspects of His character, they describe who He is and what He has come to do.
The Messiah is Wonderful: The glory of who He is and what He has done for us should fill us with wonder. You can never really look at Jesus, really know Him, and be bored. He is Wonderful, and will fill your heart and mind with amazement!
i. As well, this is a reference to the deity of Jesus; “The word ‘wonderful’ has overtones of deity” (Grogan) (See also Judges 13:18)
g. The Messiah is our Counselor: Jesus is the One fit to guide our lives, and should be the Christian’s immediate resource as a counselor. Jesus can help you with your problems. He may use the presence and the words of another Christian to do it, but Jesus is our Counselor.
The Messiah is Mighty God:
The God of all creation and glory, the Lord who reigns in heaven, the One worthy of our worship and praise.
i. Can there be a more straightforward declaration of the deity of the Messiah? Yet some groups (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses) try to make a distinction between Mighty God and Almighty God. Scripturally, there is no distinction, because both titles are used of Jesus and Yahweh specifically (Almighty is applied to Jesus in Revelation 1:8).
ii. In Isaiah 10:21, the prophet uses the exact same phrase to refer to Yahweh: The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. Therefore, this is a clear statement of absolute deity“And indeed, if Christ had not been God, it would have been unlawful to glory in him; for it is written, Cursed be he that trusteth in man. (Jeremiah 17:5)” (Calvin)
i. The Messiah is the Everlasting Father: The idea in these Hebrew words is that Jesus is the source or author of all eternity, that He is the Creator Himself. It does not mean that Jesus Himself is the Person of the Father in the Trinity.
j. The Messiah is the Prince of Peace: He is the One who makes peace, especially between God and man.
The glory of the Messiah’s reign.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
A Greater son of David......... The character of the King.
1. (1) A stem sprouts forth from the stump of Jesse.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
a. Isaiah 10:33-34 left with the idea of the Lord chopping down the proud as if they were mighty trees. Now, the Lord is looking over the stumps, and causes a Branch to grow out of one of them, the root of the family of Jesse, David’s father.
i. Indeed, Jesus did come from the stump of Jesse. The royal authority of the house of David had lain dormant for 600 years when Jesus came as King and Messiah. When Jesus came forth, it was like a new green Branch coming from an apparently dead stump.
ii. The Lord wanted Judah to know that even though the Assyrians and others would come and bring judgment, God would still use them and bring forth life from them. Even if they looked like a long-dead stump, God can bring forth life.
iii. “We see a bare, withered tree stump, robbed of its trunk and top, and it looks as though the stump will never bear any fruit any more. But, a small shoot sprouts from the root of this dry stump which is the Davidic dynasty. Because of its unsightliness and misery, it is not named after David but after his father. When Christ was born, there was nothing royal about that dynasty. But a new shoot sprang from this old stem.” (Bultema)
b. In calling the Messiah a Rod from the stem of Jesse, the Lord is emphasizing the humble nature of the Messiah. Jesse was the much less famous father of King David. It is far more humble to say “from Jesse” than to say “from King David.”
Messiah is born of a Virgin
b. Therefore the Lord Himself will give you as sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. This is one of the most famous prophecies regarding the birth of Jesus the Messiah in the Bible. It also illustrates a principle of prophecy, that prophecy may have both a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment.
Spurgeon said of this passage, that it is said to be “One of the most difficult in all the Word of God. It may be so; I certainly did not think it was until I saw what the commentators had to say about it, and I rose up from reading them perfectly confused.”
“It is characteristic of predictive prophecy that it often mingles different times together in one composite picture” (Martin)
Genesis 49:10You are he whom your brothers shall praise…as a lion…the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet…to Him shall be the obedience of the people: Each of these refer to the ruling position Judah will have among his brethren. He inherited the leadership aspect of the firstborn’s inheritance. This leadership position among his brothers meant that the eventual kings of Israel would come from Judah and that the Messiah – God’s ultimate leader – would eventually come from the tribe of Judah.
Rejected by His people
O God, You know my foolishness;
And my sins are not hidden from You.
Let not those who wait for You, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed because of me;
Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel.
Because for Your sake I have borne reproach;
Shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brothers,
And an alien to my mother’s children;
Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting,
That became my reproach.
I also made sackcloth my garment;
I became a byword to them.
Those who sit in the gate speak against me,
And I am the song of the drunkards.
Speak in Parables Psalm 78:2-4
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
Isa_53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Daniel ch9 vsDan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Zec_9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.