Monday, December 9, 2019

Prophecy 6: Micah 5:2

Daily Thoughts – December 9th

Prophecy 6: Micah 5:2
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." - Micah 5:2
Micah was one of the minor prophets in Judea in the mid to late 700 BC century. His prophecy regarding the birthplace of the Messiah was referenced over many generations as they awaited the arrival of the Messiah. There is more than one Bethlehem referenced in the Bible, but the reference to Bethlehem Ephrathah was directed toward the Bethlehem in Judea, 5 miles south of Jerusalem. I've been to this small village and to the Church of the Nativity, marking the spot where many believe Christ was born. Micah's prophecy is fulfilled in Matthew 2:1 and is used by King Herod to identify the location of the Messiah's birth in Matthew 2:3-7.
In looking at this prophecy, I think it's important to break it into 3 questions: Who sent the Messiah?, Where did he come too?, and finally What did he come for?
First, Who sent the Messiah? To address this we must realize that Micah is speaking as a prophet of the Almighty God, and therefore the words are the words of God as captured by the man Micah. Keeping this in mind, read "...out of you will come for me...".  In this statement, God the Father is giving His approval and acknowledgment that His Son will come from Bethlehem, and by doing so, in essence, is sending His Son to be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah.
Second, Where did he come to? Of course, the scriptures are clear on this point. The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah, but why? What was so special about Bethlehem that God would send His Son to be born in this little village? A little history lesson from my research on Bethlehem. Within this city were significant biblical events: Rachel dies while giving birth to Benjamin; the marriage of Ruth and Boaz was celebrated in the streets of Bethlehem and they were blessed with the fruitfulness of the Lord. This lead to the genealogy of David: Boaz - Obed - Jesse - David, and as we have studied up to this point the House of Judah, Stump of Jesse and Tent of David are all prophesied to the same Messiah. This alone justifies Bethlehem, but wait there's more. The word Bethlehem means "The House of Bread" and "The House of War". Jesus Christ came to become the bread of life for all mankind's nourishment, and yet at the same time declared war on the unrighteous and evil nature within man's soul. Finally, humility. Bethlehem was little among the thousands of cities in Judah. In the shadows of the mighty Jerusalem with its temple, polished stone, gold, and marble. Yet, Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth in the North past Jerusalem another 5 miles to the small village of Bethlehem at the very moment she is to give birth. Coincidence? Do you think Caesar Augustus was trying to force this prophecy to come true by his own hand?  I think not. Only by God's hand influencing Caesar Augustus to decree that all men return to their home at that very time in history could align these specific events to fulfill the scripture. 

Finally, What did he come for? Micah clearly states that the Messiah will rule over Israel. A baby as the King of the Jews? This would be hard to accept for any from that time, Roman, Assyrian, Israelite or Gentile. Becoming a King was a process that required education, anointing and an appointment by the authority at that time. This would pose a threat to the current rulers of the day, and for years I am sure it caused them to keep a close eye on Bethlehem for one coming out of that city in prominence. How surprising to have the King of the Jews born in a stable and leaving the village on a donkey with no fanfare or celebration of his royalty.
Here again, we are drawn to the realization that Jesus Christ's birth in Bethlehem Ephrathah fulfills this prophecy from the mid-700BC century.
- Rich

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