Wednesday 08 September 2021

Bible Book:

one who is to rule in Israel. (v. 2)

Micah 5:1-4 Wednesday 8 September 2021

Psalm 45


Today we take a break from reading Joshua and turn to Micah, as we mark the traditional date given for the birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Not surprisingly, our text is one which is often seen by Christians as a prophecy of Christ’s birth. Jesus was born in Bethlehem according to the gospels and so Christians often read the text without any reference to the historical context from which it came. However, if we read verse 1 and verse 5 onwards, we begin to see more than a prophecy about Jesus. According to verse 1, Jerusalem is under siege, and the King is facing humiliation. If you read further than verse 5 you will find that the Assyrians are also a threat. For most of this week, we have been reading about the Israelites taking the land from others – here much later in time, they face the threat that others might take the land from them.

 So, with the land and people under threat, the prophet Micah talks of hope. One possibility is that there is a deliberate contrast here between the city Jerusalem which is under siege and the small and unimportant town, Bethlehem. David, Israel’s great king, was from Bethlehem and was anointed king there – even though it was, as Micah puts it, ‘one of the little clans’ (the story is in 2 Samuel 7). Just as David came from humble beginnings and rose to greatness, so from the same humble town will come another who will draw on the strength of God and make the people secure. If there is a contrast between Jerusalem and Bethlehem then there is an irony at the heart of the passage. The ruler who is humiliated in verse 1 is a descendant of David. The Israelites are asked to look back to David’s town for a different source of hope.


To Ponder:

  • At times of great insecurity, what traits do you look for in a leader? Is coming from humble origins on your list? 
  • How would you recognise someone who acts ‘in the strength of the Lord’? What does that look like in practice?

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