Pastor Cosand: December 2017
FROM THE DAYS OF ETERNITY
meditation on Micah 5:1-5
Ever since Adam deliberately rebelled against God's command and sin was introduced into the world, life has been harder and darker and more discouraging than it ever was in the garden of Eden. Every generation has its own burdens, but they are fundamentally the same burdens. The troubles of our world in the 21st century are only variations of troubles that have plagued every century. But the troubles today are complicated by an international community and multiplied by the number of people in the world today.
The Christmas season is wonderful, not because it offers an escape from the turmoil all around us, in every corner of the world, but because it reminds us about a man who is the answer to the troubles of our world, and the troubles of our country, and the troubles of our hearts. The description of Jesus Christ in Micah 5 is a description of someone whom the world needs and whom our souls long for … someone to bring peace to our globe and peace to our hearts.
The fulfillment of Micah 5 is shown in Matthew 2 when Herod was searching for a child whom many were saying was the King of the Jews, the promised Messiah. Herod inquired of the Jewish priests concerning where this Messiah was to be born. They told him that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and they quoted Micah 5:2 as the source of this idea.
In Micah 4:9, the LORD speaks to the people of Israel with sarcasm. There will come a day when the enemies overrun Israel and Judah. Samaria and Jerusalem, the respective capitals, would be destroyed and the people taken captive. God speaks: "Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you?" God was mocking the unbelieving Israelites saying, "Where is your king? Don't you have a king to protect you? While you are weeping over your destruction, weep in the hearing of your king so he will help you." It is a pointed challenge to the people who trusted in their wicked kings and rejected the kingship of their God. Now, when they needed help, their king is no help to them.
But God has not cast off His people forever. Micah 5 begins with a call for the Israelites to muster their troops because the siege of the enemy is upon them. It is a reference to the day of judgment. But in the middle of the darkness of Israel's sinfulness and the dark cloud of God's judgment there is a shining light of hope and promise. In fact the light is a blazing light which would light the whole earth.
"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. . . . 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. This One will be our peace" (Micah 5:2,4,5a).
One day, out of the small city of Bethlehem Ephrathah, there will be born a ruler in Israel. Bethlehem was a small city in the tribe of Judah, known primarily as being the city where David's family lived. Thus it was called the 'city of David' (Ruth 4:11; 1 Sam 17:12). Ephrathah was the ancient name for Bethlehem (Gen 35:19). Out of Bethlehem will come a leader in Israel and he will not be like any other king that ever ruled. His origin is "from the days of eternity," the literal translation of Micah 5:2. He will be born in Bethlehem, but His origin is eternal. This is one of the verses which shows the deity of Christ because only God is eternal.
This king, who will come from Bethlehem Ephrathah, will come, not as a tyrant, but as a shepherd to His people. We need someone to rule us with strength and majesty, but also someone who rules like a shepherd. What does a shepherd do when he shepherds his sheep? Primarily two things: he protects them and he feeds them.
The Scripture says, "Call on me in the day of trouble and I will rescue you" (Psa 50:15). What does He rescue us from? Does He rescue us from every difficulty? No. Does He rescue us from every sorrow? No. Does He rescue us from all emotional pain? No. Then what does Jesus save us from? He saves us from any trouble that is outside of the hand of God. Any trouble that comes our way, comes to us from the hand of our Shepherd. He will not allow any enemy to break into His fold and do harm to the sheep, at least not without the design of His purpose.
The second thing a shepherd does is to feed his sheep. The food with which Jesus feeds His sheep is the truth of God. He feeds our hearts and guards our minds and satisfies our souls. He is the only source of absolute truth. And this truth is food for the starving soul, for all who will eat. When we eat the bread of truth that our Good Shepherd offers, our souls are satisfied. There is nothing to compare it to.
And Micah 5:4 also says that this king will come in the strength and majesty of God. How we long for someone like that. We yearn for strength because we are so weak. We long for majesty because there is much around us that is degrading to the dignity of life. How comforting to set our thoughts and our deepest affections on the ruler whose goings forth are from the days of eternity.
Let us not only recite what we already know of the Son of God. Let us dedicate ourselves to understand Him in new and deeper ways … to love Him with greater pleasure … to stand before Him in more profound wonder and more earnest humility … and to commune with Him in more intimate joy. He is all in all.