Advent: Micah 5:2-5 SERMON NOTES

Micah 5:2-5

Advent 2021

The third Sunday of Advent’s emphasis is “rejoicing”. 

I don’t know about you, but I feel the heaviness and gravity of the barrage of information and difficulty and decisions for my family amidst a world off its rocker. I feel the tension of BOTH / AND debates and positions the church is being thrust into. 

Many of us are being forced out of the margins of society to a place where we can’t hide our faith and convictions stemming from that faith anymore. 

Our faith can no longer be a private matter. God has put us in a place where he is forcing us to tell who we are and why we are and why and how it shapes our decisions. 

This is, in fact, exceptionally good BUT it has not been so nuanced since before the enlightenment, in my opinion. 

We have lost our ability, through lack of practice, to hold two true things that seem opposed in tension without the ability to do that in unison. 

Part of the reason is biblical illiteracy. 

That biblical illiteracy has caused God’s people to not know when and how to actually rejoice. Rejoicing is not predicated on external circumstances. Rejoicing is constructed on eternal realities. 

Our Scripture for this Sunday is full of reasons to rejoice, and those eternal reasons to rejoice were given to a people in the middle of feeling the heat of some external testing.  

BACKGROUND: 

Micah’s ministry spanned somewhere between 730-690 BC. 

Micah’s ministry overlaps Isaiah’s ministry, and these two faithful preachers of God’s word honored the Lord in calling God’s people to repent of injustice to follow the Lord in doing justice for everyone. 

The elders of Jeremiah’s day recall Micah’s prophetic ministry as the ministry that spurred Hezekiah’s religious reform. 

Jeremiah 26:17-19 (ESV) 17 And certain of the elders of the land arose and spoke to all the assembled people, saying, 18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and said to all the people of Judah: ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts,

“‘Zion shall be plowed as a field;

Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,

and the mountain of the house a wooded height.’

19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and did not the LORD relent of the disaster that he had pronounced against them? But we are about to bring great disaster upon ourselves.”

Micah will preach to Israel about their sin (3:8). Injustice was rampant (2:1-2; 3:1-3, 9-11; 6:10-11). 

Therefore, God sends Micah to announce God’s judgment and call God’s people to repentance.

If they would not repent, they would suffer destruction and exile (1:10-16), silence from God (3:6-7) (NOTE: not hearing calls from the Lord to repent is God’s passive judgment in that he stops calling to turn and has set the end, and none of us want that), and frustrated efforts (6:13-16). 

Micah would also balance this hard news with the hope that a remaining faithful group would be spared and be part of an amazing future restoration if they would obey the Lord and remain faithful (2:12-13; 4:1-5; 5:5-9; 7:8-20).

Our scripture for today helps us to see how God was faithful to keep this word to bring that faithful group of his people to the place that they would be the people of the coming King and the people King Jesus would save and thus abundant reason to rejoice.

Let’s read it, and then see how Matthew preached this Scripture so we can give it a proper treatment. 

Micah 5:2-5 (ESV) 2 But you, O Bethlehem 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 coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. 3 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. 4 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.
5 And he shall be their peace.

Matthew 2:1-6 (ESV) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (Cited from Micah 5:2-5a)

LET’S BE CLEAR: Matthew the apostle tells us that Micah’s preaching is fulfilled in Jesus. 

With that lens in place, let’s look at what Micah says about Jesus, the glories of his advent, and thus the truths that give us reason to rejoice

1. Jesus comes humbly from David’s family line. V. 2a

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,…”

  1. Bethlehem is David’s home city. 
  2. Bethlehem becomes synonymous with David, and for the ruler of Israel to come from David’s city is to be from David. 
    1. God chose David and Bethlehem to tell us something of what he values…heart and fruitfulness not bluster and significance. 
  3. Think about this: Bethleham – Small and insignificant
    1. Bethlehem – House of bread
    2. Ephrathah – Fruitful
  4. Think about this: David – the last and smallest son of Jesse who was tending sheep and doing a fruitful and magnificent job at it. 
    1. David is the youngest and smallest and seemingly most insignificant son is the one God chose because God sees mission and heart not what mankind sees. 
  5. Jesus does not come in significance or bluster but from the unknown and the insignificant and taking no advantage for himself. 
    1. He’s humble.
    2. He comes in love to save sinners. 
    3. He comes generously counting his deity as nothing to be grasped but takes the form of a servant (Philippians 2).
  6. IN JESUS’ HUMILITY HE EXALTS SINNERS TO BE HIS PEOPLE AND RESCUES US FROM JUST SENTENCING FOR OUR SIN.
    1. WHAT A REASON TO REJOICE!

APPLICATION: God himself humbles himself and calls us to do the same. Three characteristics, including humility that are birthed from humility, to apply that will bring growth in you this year:

  1. Humility – Giving the spotlight to others, just like Jesus is always pointing to the Father and Like the Spirit is always pointing to the Son. 
  2. Love – Redemptive action for and toward others for the sake of salvation and flourishing. This love is born from this humility because we have to love even at the risk of being hurt and not loved back. 
    1. Love is to live in this truth and love is to invite people into the grace of coming to Jesus. (NOTE: Grace is not karma. Grace is the power of God toward not second chance opportunity built on actions. That is baptized karma.)
  3. Generosity – Generosity is counting nothing as our own and having a heart of giving. It is born from humility because we recognize that nothing in our possession is ours. It all belongs to God, and I am simply his temporary manager. 

2. Jesus comes as the fulfillment of God’s promise to sit one of David’s sons on his throne as descended from Abraham.

“…from you (David’s home city) shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

  1. “From of old, from ancient days…” is not so much looking at the eternality of Jesus as it is focusing on Abraham and David and God’s faithfulness to keep his promise that was made long ago. 

APPLICATION: 

  1. God keeps his word, so you can bank on it and rest in him. 

3. God the Father accomplishes Jesus’ fulfillment of his promise through adoption. (Gen. 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:12-16). V. 2b

“…from you (David’s home city) shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

  1. Matthew 1:1 (ESV) 1. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
  2. Jesus is adopted into David’s line through Jeseph and it is equal to being birthed into David’s line. 
    1. The significance of of Jesus being fully God and yet adopted as Joseph’s son cannot be overlooked. 
    2. God fulfills his promise to send the Messiah through adoption. 

4. God allows his people to be trained by his loving discipline until the appointed time for Jesus to come and save his people. V. 3a

“Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth;…”

  1. God is going to train his people in order to produce a people who will have new hearts and a desire to love the Lord and follow in his ways. 
  2. When Bethlehem produces the Messiah, the time of God’s promised salvation will have arrived. 

APPLICATION:

  1. When the people who carry God’s name walk in disobedience, God is good to train them to bring about holiness in them. 
    1. This is a gospel reality built into God’s historical work in physical Israel. 
    2. God would bring Messiah Jesus from Abraham’s descendants whether they walked obediently or disobediently.
      1. God is going to bring holiness from his people whether we walk willingly in righteousness or disobediently in sin. 
      2. One way will be pleasant and one will be unpleasant. 

5. God will bring the “brothers” of Jesus into the people of God. V. 3b

“…then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.”

  1. Who are these brothers? Is this merely physical descendants of Abraham? David? 
    1. These brothers are all of those who follow the Lord by faith like Abraham not simply being physical descendants of Abraham. 
      1. Galatians 3:7-9 (ESV) 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
  2. From the beginning, God’s people have never simply been physical descendants of Abraham. 
    1. God has saved by faith (circumcised hearts), not physical birth or law-keeping (descendant of Abraham or circumcision).
    2. This designation of saving by faith opens the door for all nations to come in. 
  3. All those who are joined to Jesus by faith are brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus. 
    1. Hebrews 2:10-11 (ESV) For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,…

6. Jesus is installed as THE Shepherd by God’s strength with the powerful name of the LORD. V. 4a

“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.”

  1. “Stand” = be installed or take his stand as king…
    1. The Lord Jesus is installed as the King/Shepherd as the great “I AM”. 
      1. Jesus is God, and he is the God named “I AM”. 
  2. The Lord Jesus keeps us in the name of Yhwh, “I AM.”
    1. Jesus, Yeshua, means “Yhwh saves”. 
    2. John 17:10-12 (ESV) 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

7. Jesus has made his people secure. V. 4b

“And they shall dwell secure,…”

  1. Hebrews 10:12-18 (ESV) 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
  2. Psalms 84:11 (ESV) 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

8. Jesus will be known and proclaimed as great to the ends of the earth. v. 4c

“…for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.”

  1. God’s global vision begins in the garden before sin and is part of God’s covenant promises through the whole Bible. 
  2. Therefore, the great commission is the church’s vision and driving force. 
  3. AND it’s not simply trips. 
  4. It begins with releasing the church to be disciple-makers in their domains as priests and ambassadors of Jesus Christ right here. 

9. Jesus is his people’s peace. V. 5a

“And he shall be their peace.”

  1. Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. For those who have come to Jesus by faith and live a life of continual repentance, we have peace with God from our state of sinful and war-like rebellion against God and are made daughters and sons of God. 

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