But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah — Micah 5-7

Micah’s prophecy, like many of the other prophets, is interlaced with many passages of both condemnation and hope. One great passage of hope in the reading today is a famous one about the Savior.

From you One will go forth

Little Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-4), who would have thought that anything significant would come out of you? You’re small-town Israel, a farming community, your name means “house of bread” for the grain fields around you. But from you came the great king David, the man after God’s own heart, and from you would come the Savior, the Messiah, of the world! “This One will be our peace!”

Is your church too small, is your bankbook too small, are you too insignificant, to do anything important? Think again. You may be just the person God has been looking for. God seems to like “too small”, “too poor”, “too insignificant”, “too weak”, nobodies to do His world-changing, mind-blowing things.

What does God require?

We’ve seen the essence of what is called the “heart of the prophets” twice already and in Micah 6:8 it is spoken again: “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8, NAS95. It isn’t a complicated formula; none of the things that God has commanded are. Remember back in Deuteronomy 30:11-14?

““For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ “Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”

We need to remember this, when we’re faced with temptation. Instead of crying out, “It’s too hard,” let’s have a little reality check and realize that it really isn’t. Yes, sometimes things do get complicated, and yes, our flesh is sometimes rather powerful, but “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13, NAS95.

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Despite the fact that Israel was full of such rotten fruit (7:1-6) Micah stands as a great example of the faithful life — waiting on the Lord’s salvation. And that’s not always easy, when even those close to you may be wronging you; the impulse to get revenge or to fight fire with fire is great. But Micah knows that the Lord will hear and rescue, and so he tells even his enemy to not claim victory so quick. “Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.”

I’m reminded of Paul’s crescendo in 1 Cor. 15: “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:25, 26, NAS95. and ““O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”” 1 Corinthians 15:55, NAS95.

Who is a God like You?

Micah knows how to end on a high note:

“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18, 19, NAS95.

Praise God!

See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the Rock Hill church of Christ in Frisco TX (rhcoc.org) where I've worked since 2020. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, and the Lord's church.
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