Reading: Micah 5; Matthew 2:1-12
Bethlehem is the place where David was born and grew up. In Bethlehem also the Saviour should be born, the true Son of David. God’s choice for Bethlehem as the place for the birth of the Saviour is the rejection of those who rule in Jerusalem. This was already announced by Micah. In his days it was abundantly clear that the leaders of God’s people did not lead God’s people in God’s ways. God was going to reject them. Because of their sinfulness and unfaithfulness, God deems it necessary to make a new start and go back all the way to Bethlehem, there where it all started: David. David was the man who was loved by God.
In Micah 1:5 we read: What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem?
And in 2:1 Micah spoke about those who abuse their power to oppress their subjects. Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.
These last words remind us of Ahab and Jezebel and what they did to Naboth. And now Micah says the same about many others of the leaders of God’s people. They who have the responsibility to maintain justice misuse their power for their own gain and they don’t care about the poor and the weak. Micah had to prophesy that God’s judgment would come upon them.
God expresses His deep displeasure. He will call a new King, from Bethlehem. He will make a new start. He will not continue with the gang in Jerusalem. He rejects their rule, their unfaithfulness.
David trusted in God and God blessed him and the people.
If the king does not follow the LORD and leads the people astray, after idols, and false gods, then the people will suffer. Such kings do not only lead them away from God into a spiritual desert and spiritual death but also abuse their people for their own lust and own pleasure. So the people will suffer double under the unfaithful king, who is a false shepherd.
God will reject those leaders. God will make a new start. He will give a perfect King, the true Seed of David, Who will rule perfectly and with justice. His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
The apostle Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 10. We must learn from the example of Israel. And then in verse 6, he says: Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.
God teaches us in the OT why the coming of the Lord Jesus was necessary. The OT is like a mirror: look, this is how you are, by nature. This is why you need the Saviour! Now don’t be stubborn and don’t go the ways of Israel. Know that only Jesus Christ, the Saviour, can save you.
In Micah 5:3 we read that first, Israel will be abandoned before this new King comes. Exile was necessary to prepare the coming of the Saviour. There will be a new beginning. But first the old must be removed. Everything in which Judah put their trust, should be destroyed. They should be brought to nothing. They should humble themselves, and seek their life outside of themselves, in God, in the Saviour.
Key Text: Micah 5:2a: But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, …’
Mediation: God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). God does not see ar man sees (1 Samuel 16:7). Bethlehem was small and unimportant, but it became the town where the Saviour was born. Consider what is important in your life, and is that also important in God’s eyes?