Advent 2022 – Micah 5:2

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days (Micah 5:2).”

If it seems like we’re trying to highlight some forgotten or lesser known passages in relation to the advent of Christ, it’s because we are. Christians and even many non-Christians alike can quote your Isaiah passages, your Matthew and Luke passages, and maybe a couple lesser known. Micah 5:2 counts as one of those lesser known passages. In fact, it probably is a borderline obscure passage due to the fact that many of the “minor” Prophets take a backseat to Prophets such as Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah. Micah 5:2 is actually part of a longer prophecy regarding the coming Messiah throughout Micah 5:1-6. However, all that said, we would be doing injustice to the Prophet Micah and to scripture itself to not highlight this one very powerful verse spoken by the Prophet of old. Now to be fair, this verse pops up again in Matthew 2:6 so many people have heard it; they might just not realize the significance. For many it’s simply the answer to Herod’s question when attempting to snuff out a perceived threat to his authority, “where would Christ be born?”

The answer is profoundly important: Bethlehem; the birthplace of King David near Jerusalem. Though David was born in Bethlehem, it remained a small, relatively undistinguished town of little importance up until the birth of Christ. At least, that is the generalized thought about the place, though in the narrative of the Bible, the town of Bethlehem and the surrounding area play a key role in various important biblical events. Rachel (the mother of Joseph and Benjamin/Jacob’s wife) was buried nearby, the valley east was where the story of Ruth and Naomi takes place, David was born there, later David was anointed king there, David’s “mighty men” risked their lives to bring him water from the well there, and, as we’re discussing now, it was the birthplace of the Messiah. Just taking a quick look at the genealogy of Christ found in Matthew 1 shows how some of the above events are related when it comes to his birth and Bethlehem. Abraham to Isaac, Isaac to Jacob (who buried Rachel), Jacob to Judah, [skip some names here], Boaz to Obed (who’s mother was Ruth), Obed to Jesse, Jesse to David, [skip a lot of names here], Joseph the husband of Mary. When we consider the events surrounding this little town in light of the genealogy of Christ, we realize that Bethlehem has always been a significant town in terms of biblical locations.

From this tiny town would come forth one to rule the world. This is speaking of Jesus Christ and it is not the first time we see such language when his coming is prophesied. In Genesis 49:10, as Jacob is blessing his sons we see that, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” So not only would the Messiah be born in Bethlehem, he would be born a king as Micah declares and as others before also prophesied. When Gabriel is proclaiming the coming of Jesus to Mary and telling her of her coming child he states, “the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:32-33).” The current and everlasting kingship and kingdom of Jesus are nonnegotiable, irrefutable truths. To live in any manner that stands in defiance of those is to ignore part of the Christmas narrative, countless prophecies, and other scriptures (Isaiah 9:6-7, Daniel 7:13-14, Ephesians 1:20-21, Hebrews 1:3-4).

Lastly in this verse, Micah 5:2, we see that this ruler, this Messiah is coming from eternity past. This is only ever applied to God himself as we see in Deuteronomy 33:27 or Habakkuk 1:12. Micah is speaking of more than just a human king or a human Messiah; he will be God incarnate. To put it simply and to reiterate something that we write and preach about constantly, Jesus is the exact imprint of God in terms of his nature. He is a perfect representation; to be of the perfect nature of God is to be God. Jesus is God the Son. Jesus backs up such claims made by the Prophets throughout scripture when he makes the simple yet powerful assertion that, “before Abraham was, I AM (John 8:58).” While we cannot get into the complexities and importance of the “I Am” statements of Christ in John, it needs to be understood that he was declaring not just that he was divine, but that he is God. If you are familiar with the story of the burning bush, you may recognize the importance of Christ’s statement. He was applying the name of God that we find in Deuteronomy 3:14 to himself. Since one of God’s attributes is his eternal existence or eternal nature then it stands to reason that Jesus, by the fact that he is God, is also eternal and so the one coming forth from old that Micah is referring to is Jesus. As we continue deeper into the advent season and move ever closer to Christmas Day and the celebration of his coming, we must not lose sight of who’s birth we are celebrating. It is the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, of an eternal and excellent king, of a perfect sacrifice and of the Messiah. No matter how much we dig into such glorious truths we will barely even scratch at the surface of the wonder that is Jesus Christ. Let us use this advent season as a way in which we focus on him and dive deeper into the person, purpose, and nature of who Christ is.

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