The Future King with Ancient Origins
God tells Micah why Jerusalem will be reduced to a heap of rubble—its leaders are sinful. Its judges are so unjust that they’re like cannibals. Its prophets and priests don’t love God; they love money. Because of these things Jerusalem will fall, and the temple will become overgrown with weeds.
But God looks past Jerusalem’s future fall to the even more distant future—to the new Jerusalem. Then the nations will stream to God’s temple, longing for him to teach them his good ways. God will judge justly, and the people will beat their weapons of war into peaceful farming tools. On that day God will bring back the weak remnant of people that he has scattered. He will make them into a strong, never-ending nation.
God tells his people in Jerusalem that they will go into exile in Babylon, but to look at the coming events through the eyes of faith. Even though their city will come under siege and their king will be struck down, they are to remember that they have a King. God is going to raise up a ruler from tiny Bethlehem “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” This Messiah will shepherd and protect his flock with God’s strength.
The King’s Heart
Every bit of the trouble God’s people were facing and were going to face they had brought on themselves. He had unflinchingly told them the ways to life and the ways to death. And they had chosen the path of death.
Though they had earned every ounce of their punishment, God spent more time talking about how he is going to restore them. They would lose Jerusalem because of their sin, but he would rebuild it. They wouldn’t be able to live rightly, but he would raise up a Savior out of Bethlehem who would defeat sin and destroy its curse. God’s people would helplessly fail, hurting him in the process, but he would redeem and save them.
God just wants life to be the way it is supposed to be—where he is close to his people and the world isn’t broken. Sin and destruction are aberrations, and God is excited to get beyond them, to put them completely in the past.
Micah foretold two events that his listeners would have judged as unlikely. He told of Judah’s exile in Babylon at a time when Babylon was significantly less powerful than Assyria (see Micah 4:10). And he foretold that his people’s Messiah would come from one of Judah’s smallest towns, Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2). Both proved true.