The Lord would soon send the Assyrians against Israel and Judah. The reigning human “judge of Israel” would suffer the indignity of a pagan emperor’s discipline. Yet in the years to come, a Ruler would be born in Bethlehem who would be “from ancient days.” He would gather “the rest of His brothers” from far off lands. They would “return to the people of Israel” where this new King would “shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord.” The final Son of David would “be great” not only among the Jews, but “to the ends of the earth.” What would the importance of this Savior be to both Jews and Gentiles? Micah announced, “He shall be their peace.”
The Messiah would be able to achieve the most important restitution of relationship that all human beings desperately need—shalom with God. Because of their sin God’s justice stood against all of mankind. Through His obedience and His atoning death, Jesus has healed the breach between His chosen ones and their God. This does not mean that there would be no discipline from the Lord for God’s elect. The horrors of brutal oppression would bring much sadness to the descendants of Jacob for the next two centuries after Micah. Yet eventually God would accomplish a glorious victory that no military power in creation could ever have brought about.
Meanwhile, the Assyrian and Babylonian armies would decimate communities in both Israel and Judah. Because of these external attacks, the “remnant of Jacob” would be broadly scattered “among the nations” of the known world. This would create a Jewish diaspora that God would use in order to make the message of Jesus known not only to Jews but also to those Gentiles who had been drawn to synagogues where they were admirers of the monotheistic God of Israel.
Through the centuries of gospel proclamation, the story of the child of Bethlehem who obeyed the Law of God for us and then died on a Roman cross has become the common knowledge of many people all over the earth. Yet followers of Jesus need more than information. They require a powerful healing of body and soul that only God can give. Micah prophesied that the Lord would take away from His family all their idols that once captivated them. Throughout their history they had looked to foreign powers to save them, but the Lord would remove these false hopes from their grasp. He would also take away strongholds of occult practices and base idolatry that they once imagined to be their spiritual strength.
Even now our King is rooting out of His church every sin that so easily besets us. When our life here below is completed and we come into His presence, we are instantly perfected in holiness (Hebrews 12:22-23). In the kingdom of eternal life that will be revealed at the last day, there will be no “sorceries” or “carved images” for false worship. The reigning Lamb of God will be our joy forever. All this was announced first to shepherds in the vicinity of Bethlehem by a great host of angels saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased.”
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father, You have sent us a great Savior to be our holy Ruler. Your eternal Son was born in Bethlehem, according to Your Word. He is now the Shepherd over Your people. We are being gathered from many nations. You have helped us in the midst of our adversaries. You have brought us into a safe place, for You have cut off from among us all our idolatries. Your Son will come again to execute vengeance upon the people that will not obey You. Our only refuge is in His perfect righteousness, for He is our Substitute.