This devotional is about 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.” That verse was about Jerusalem, the stronghold city that had David captured, fortified, and used as his capital many years before Micah’s time. When Micah wrote lived, however, the Babylonians were laying siege to Jerusalem, weakening it for its inevitable fall.
In contrast to Jerusalem, the city of David’s might, described 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 Bethlehem produced David, Israel’s greatest king to that point, the Lord promised his people through Micah that “out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel” (v. 2b). That was 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.
The ruler described in verse 2 will be “ruler over Israel.” Note that he will not be the ruler over Judah (alone) but “over Israel.” That indicates a reuinification of the divided nation was coming. And what did the Lord have to say about this ruler? His “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” That phrase connects 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.
Luke explained the story of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem because of this prophecy in Micah 5:2. This prophecy is also 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.