Saturday, September 16, 2006

Micah 5, The Total Christ

But you, O Bethlehem of 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 origin is from of old, From ancient of days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; Then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace...Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver.
Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.

This chapter is such a wonderful example of how God works to further His kingdom. The Church at this time was obviously in a very prideful and therefore sinful state (see ch.1). And we all know what God does when the Church is acting like this; she gets smacked across the face by a rod.
He brings forth judgment to purge her from sin (v.1, 10-15) and discipline to make her more beautiful for the sake of world (v.4, 7-9).
The nations which rage against God are here used by God to humble His people (ch.4:11-13, 5:1), a slap across the face! Certainly in times like these, when the Church is seen to be a mockery in the midst of the people, our reaction is far too often bewilderment and hopelessness. But the prophet shows that the faithful ought never to be in such circumstances.
God always works through death and resurrection. The prophet reminds them of the humble circumstance from where God has brought forth for them the promise of salvation, His eternal kingdom in which they will be a part of.
His people were at the brink of disaster with the Philistine army before them and a faithless king leading them (I Sam.). Yet, out of this seemingly hopeless state God brought forth a man, a king in fact who was a Shepard boy (v.2, 4). Not only was he from the most humble of places, Bethlehem (v.2), but David was in the humblest of circumstances. He was the youngest brother left out in the fields to tend to the sheep while the nation was at war. Man had not asked him to lead them in fight but rather to serve them bread. Does this sound familiar? David came to feed his brothers but he ended up fighting for his brothers, laying down his life (true bread), which resulted in conquering the enemies of God and him becoming king (death and resurrection).
By saying that a ruler will come from Bethlehem (v.2), God is reminding the people of His promise of salvation through the line of David (origin from old, ancient). We are also told here that this is God’s eternal plan. Therefore, we know that He is speaking of His Son, Jesus Christ the Son of David (the eternal word, who is also the son of David).
Like David, Jesus is from Bethlehem, the city of David, and he will come forth to rule over them "in the majesty of the name of the LORD". But unlike any other king, Jesus like David, is a gentle Shepard who brings forth peace and security for His sheep by conquering all the beasts so that he may lead them to still waters (v.4-5).
A very important point we must take note of is found in verses 5-9. Yes, the king has come and therefore his kingdom with him, but this kingdom is surrounded by beasts and enemies which need to be conquered. When Jesus’ ministry began his kingdom was at hand, and through his death and resurrection (and ascension) it was inaugurated, but it’s still yet to come in its fullness.
In these verses we see how this is to be done. Christ crushes the head of the serpent under the foot of the Church (v.3 His brothers coming forth, v.5 seven Shepard’s with him, v.7-8 the remnant of Jacob). In doing this God spreads his grace through the Church like dew over the grass of the fields, like rain on a dry and weary land replenishing it, that it may bear good fruit (amazing peace through destruction of evil). We also see the Church is like a roaring lion conquering all the beasts throughout the land.
As God’s people we will go through many difficult times. But, we must remember that this is a part of God’s work in bringing forth His kingdom. We share with Christ the responsibility of bringing the kingdom of God to bear on earth as in heaven. Wow, what an exciting mission! The trials, as we must remember, are for the purpose of making the faithful more like the Shepard King, more like the one from Bethlehem, the one who was born in a manger, the one who took on our flesh, the one who became a servant, the one who died on a cross and now reigns over all. We are called to bring forth the glory of the King like dew and rain on the grass of all nations, in the midst of many people. Our message through our lives needs to be a breath of fresh air. When people see the Church, (first step being we need to be seen) our families, and all that comes from us, they need to be refreshed by our fruit. This comes from the preaching and the living out of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When this is done faithfully the Church will stand in the midst of the entire world like a mighty lion that has conquered all!

No comments: