Advent Week 4
Jesus has come and Jesus shepherds his church
The theme of the book of Micah:
Judgment and forgiveness. The Lord, the Judge who scatters his people for their sins, is also the Shepherd-King who in covenant faithfulness gathers, protects and forgives his people.
(there is a historical reality and an eschatological reality to these texts)
The Lord has brought his case against Israel for their idolatry and the prophet’s preaching of lies and the people’s willingness to listen to preachers of lies.
Then the Lord transitions to chapter 4. Chapter 4 takes up a wonderful new theme: one day there will be peace on earth and righteousness will reign. Mt. Zion will become the capital of the world; all the armies will be dismissed and the weapons destroyed. How can this happen? Through the promise in chapter 5: The Deliverer will come.
‘Now’ (unfortunately omitted by the NIV) links this oracle (chapter 5) with the preceding verses (9, 11); all of them begin with the present distress (1) and move to salvation (2–6). To fortify spiritually the blockaded city Micah commands: Marshal your troops, O city of troops. The siege … laid against us is Sennacherib’s blockade in 701 bc (1:9, 12; 2:12–13; 4:11). They [the Assyrian horde] strike Israel’s ruler [Hezekiah] on the cheek with a rod (‘sceptre’), showing that he has no defences of his own, even as God’s enemies later struck the greater Son of David to humiliate him (Mt. 26:67; 27:26, 30).
There is a sharp contrast between the weak “judge” of Israel (verse 1) that is struck on the cheek by the invading King of the North (Sennacherib in 701 BC) and the strong King who would rule his people well (v 2-5a).
This King, who is the one who will do the chapter 4 peacemaking, is none other than the longed for Messiah who would come and that is none other than Jesus who would be born in Bethlehem.
How does Micah describe the King who will make peace for the nations and gather them to himself?
1. The Eternal Bread of Life v. 2
A. He comes from Bethlehem (house of bread; John 6:33, 35, 48, 51)
“Bethlehem (house of bread/food) Ephrathah (fruitfulness)”
1. “…too little to be among the clans of Judah…”
a. The Lord delights in doing large work from small sources
1. David (smallest / youngest brother)
2. Bethlehem (least / not mentioned in Joshua 15)
3. Jesus (born of a virgin, suspect by others,
4. You, me, us (Rome, TRCC…)
B. He comes from the small for the purpose of the Father, not his own
“shall come forth for me”
1. To the extent that Jesus comes to save me it is first for the
Father, meaning that Father loves us and our salvation is on his
mind. So in our salvation Father is exalted.
C. He is ruler in Israel
D. He is eternal and historical
“…whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days…”
Jesus is not just a man who told us what is right.
Jesus is not just God so as to not be a merciful and faithful high priest.
Jesus is the eternal Second Person of the Trinity who takes on flesh and enters
time and space to teach, save and be known.
There is a dual phrase that has historical and eternal implications. “From of old,
from ancient days” has historical roots and eternal roots. In this passage the
immediate reference is from Jesse and the promise made to David. In the
light of the whole counsel of Scripture and the words of Jesus the implications
are that this one rooted in history is eternal as the God / Man.
1. The Tri-une God of the universe entered time and space and has
come near to man as the true food for the soul of man
(eternal and historical)
a. Father is near
b. Father is knowable
c. Father is experiencable
2. Jesus Grows His Church From all Nations v. 3 (Romans 11:25-29)
A. There is a dynamic nature to this text, historical and eschatological
From the promise that Zion’s new age will be inaugurated with the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem, Micah concludes that Israel will be abandoned without a human king until she who is in labour gives birth (see 4:9–10) to the Messiah. The prophecy found fulfilment about 700 years later through the faithful Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, Joseph and, above all, Mary (Lk. 1:5–2:40;
Is. 7:14). The nucleus of Zion’s new kingdom centring on the Messiah consists of the rest of his brothers, who are related to him not only by blood and history but also in spirit. They return (a word that signifies conversion) from their captivity to sin and judgment to join the true Israelites (a term that has a religious meaning). Having gathered the elect remnant, Christ inaugurated his kingdom from heavenly Zion when he sent the Holy Spirit on the brothers gathered in the upper room, and they turned the world upside-down (Lk. 3:16; Acts 2).
1. Jesus who comes will not only be faithful to complete his promise to Abraham but he will save a number of Gentiles from all nations.
2. Jesus will grow his church from all nations.
3. Jesus Shepherds His Church with Strength v. 4
A. “stand” – Jesus will endure forever (Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 14:24)
B. “shepherd his flock” – Jesus will provide for his church’s every need including
their spiritual nourishment and he will protect them (John 10; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet
C. “in the strength of the LORD” – Jesus will rule not through human
engineering and manipulation but in the supernatural strength of Trinity
D. “they will dwell secure” – Jesus will keep his people from the evil one
E. “to the ends of the earth” – Jesus will shepherd his church from all nations with
4. Jesus Is Our Peace v. 5a
Jesus has reconciled us to Father and has made us not only acceptable but adoptable to become children of God.
Because Jesus has made peace and brought us back to Father we have a new identity.
Some Gospel affirmations (taken from Neil T. Anderson, see footnote), because Jesus is our peace, to send you out for Christmas:
1. I have been justified: completely forgiven and justified Rom 5:1
2. I died with Christ and have died to the power of sin’s rule over my life
3. I am free forever from condemnation Rom 8:1
4. I have been placed into Christ Jesus by Father’s own doing 1 Cor 1:30
5. I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely
given to me by God 1 Cor 2:12
6. I have been given the mind of Christ 1 Cor 2:16
7. I have been bought with a price. I am not my own. I belong to Father 1 Cor
8. I have been established, anointed and sealed by Father in Jesus Christ, and I
have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing my inheritance to
come 2 Cor 1:21; Eph 1:13, 14
9. Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ 2 Cor 5:14, 15
10. I have been made righteous 2 Cor 5:21
11. I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who
lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life Gal 2:20
12. I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing Eph 1:3
13. I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and
blameless before Father Eph 1:4
14. I was predestined to be adopted as Father’s son Eph 1:5
15. I have been made alive together with Christ Eph 2:5
16. I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven Eph 2:6
17. I have direct access to Father through the Spirit Eph 2:18
18. I may approach Father with boldness, freedom and confidence Eph 3:12
19. I have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the
kingdom of Christ Col 1:13
20. I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has
been canceled Col 1:14
21. Jesus Christ himself is in me Col 1:27
22. I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built-in him Col 2:7
23. I have been spiritually circumcised Col 2:11
24. I have been made complete in Christ Col 2:10
25. I have been buried, raised and made alive with Christ Col 2:12, 13
26. I died with Christ and I have been raised up with Christ. My life is now hidden
with Christ in God. Christ is now my life Col 3:1-4
27. I have been given a spirit of power, love and self-control 2 Tim 1:7
28. I have been saved and set apart according to God’s doing 2 Tim 1:9; Titus
29. Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed
to call me brother Heb 2:11
30. I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and
grace in time of need Heb 4:16
31. I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which
I am a partaker of God’s divine nature 2 Peter 1:4