The world seems anything but peaceful right now. Even as the holiday season unfolds, rife with symbols of peace, our spirits are burdened. News of war, terrorism, and unrest can’t be ignored. Fear is fueling debates, dividing hearts, and troubling our souls.
Hard questions simmer beneath the surface. Can we trust our leaders? What is secure? Are our best years now behind us?
Can we dare hope for the future when all we see is turmoil?
The words of Micah 5 are often included in Christmas messages. We find it quoted in Matthew 2 when Herod panics and asks the religious leaders where the Christ would be found – then sends the wise men off in pursuit. And Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem is seen as a fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy.
Year after year, it is like returning to an old friend when I read this section during my quiet times. I marvel at how ancient words can speak clearly to the present tense.
The assurance delivered in this passage is timeless:
“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.”
Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.
He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.
And he will be our peace. – Micah 5:2-5
As I read through this passage in Micah, I am swept away by assurances given over 2700 years ago. The prophet speaks of a coming king whose origins are from ancient times. This king will stand and shepherd His people in the strength of God, Himself.
His people will live securely – knowing they are protected.
Micah’s original audience was a group of people who were waiting. They were longing for this shepherd to come. And God’s people held fast to these promises for 700 years before they were fulfilled by the arrival of Jesus. Seven hundred years. Can you even imagine a promise being remembered for that long – let alone believed in?
Reading this ancient prophecy in the context of current events is awe-inspiring and incredibly comforting. Because unlike the people of Micah’s day, we don’t have to wait.
Our Shepherd King is here.
The world might look like its coming unglued, but we don’t have to live in fear. We can read these ancient words in the present tense with absolute confidence:
He IS guarding his flock in the strength of the Lord.
We ARE living securely,
For NOW His greatness extends to the ends of the earth.
And He IS our peace.
We are living this promise. We can place all of our fears in His tender and trustworthy hands. We can hope for the future because we know Jesus is on the throne. We can lay the turmoil that surrounds us at his feet.
And He will be our peace.