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Little Things Micah 5:2-5

December 26, 2014 by Pito

 

We know, when God began to create, there was a progression. He went from disorder to order, from the stuff of creation, like quarks and electrons and atoms and molecules to planets, stars, then to animals and to man. He made big stuff from small stuff. So what is the significance of size?

Outside of us there are some really big things. Inside of us there are some really small things. For instance, each one of us is quite small when compared to the earth and yet, when compared to a red corpuscle, we are quite large. There are 4.8 million red corpuscles in a cubic mm of our blood. Compared to a speck of dust, to an ebola virus, to an amoeba or to a strand of DNA, we are huge.

Outside of us, besides the earth, is a universe of space and large objects. For instance, it would take 109 earths to go from one edge to the other on our sun, and 1,300,000 earths to fill it up. The largest star in the universe that man has discovered is 2,800,000,00 km in diameter and an airplane traveling at 900 miles an hour would take 1100 years to circle that star.

A father and mother look really big to a child and a deer tick looks really small to the same child. If you’ve seen the movie Men in Black, you remember that the aliens were searching for the Belt of Orion, which led us to believe that they were looking for something very large because Orion is a constellation in the heavens. We were astounded to learn that a cat named Orion had a collar around its neck with a galaxy twirling around in a transparent marble.

In the economy of God, small things are just as important as large things. Large things are made up of small things. Each has its place in the plan of God. Children, you are smaller than your parents, but that does not make you of less importance. One day you will have children smaller than you. Do not forget where you came from.

Remember what Jonathan, the son of King Saul, said when he and his armor bearer attacked a Philistine garrison of twenty men,

“Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” It didn’t matter to Jonathan that his force was much smaller than the Philistine force. The two of them attacked by faith and defeated the enemy on about ½ an acre of land.

Small things played a major part of salvation in the OT. Gideon defeated the 135,000 Midianites with 300 men. David defeated Goliath, the Philistine giant, with a small stone from a leather slingshot. Moses defeated the Egyptians with a shepherd’s rod. Jael defeated Sisera with a tent peg.

None of us should ever think that we are too small or too insignificant to make a difference for our King and His Kingdom. God used stutterers, supplanters and farmers to bring the mighty to destruction and to bring salvation to His people. We should not think too highly of ourselves, but we also should not think too lowly of God. Believing that He is King should lead us to the battlefield with confidence and faith that He will continue to defeat and save through small things like us.

Micah, a prophet of God to Judah during the time of Hezekiah, came from a “small,” rural town named Moresheth in Judah. He was an agrarian stranger to the rulers he prophesied to. He had no reason to suspect that his message would be received with open arms and open ears and it wasn’t for many years.

In an attempt to convince the rulers, both spiritual and political, Micah described a big God. He is not referring to physical bigness but to the overall power, wisdom, justice and mercy of God.

He says in chapter 1,

“He comes down and treads on the high places making them melt like wax before the fire, like waters poured down from a steep place.”

Why was God going to do this? Because of the transgression of Jacob and the sins of the house of Israel. Chapter two begins to tell us specifically what they were doing.

1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
Instead of seeing Yahweh as large, they were exalting themselves in the eyes of men, in the eyes of the culture and in their arrogance they were oppressing the poor and middle class, making them poor also. The national leaders were insensitive to the plight of their people. And there is nothing new under the sun.

Micah preached for 16-25 years with no positive results. Micah’s opposition came from the religious leaders who were defending the corrupt political rulers of the southern tribe of Judah. Sound familiar?

God is no respecter of persons or cultures or nations. His judgment is perfect justice down to the smallest detail. Israel reaped the reward of idolatry and so does everyone else.

Having shown how low the house of David was to be brought and how vilely that mighty family was to be cast into slavery, he adds an illustration to confirm that though the people fail utterly, God’s promises are yea and amen in Christ Jesus. God will keep His covenant word and the house of David will one day be established forever.

Notice how Micah describes the Messiah.

It is that He is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting, from days of eternity. This is a description of Christ’s eternal generation as the Son of God, begotten of His father before all worlds. This prophecy belongs to Him and to no other.

Psalm 90:2 “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” And from John 8:58 “Before Abraham was, I am.” He was the Word of God that was in the beginning with God.”

The second aspect of this coming Divine ruler was that He was to rule in Israel. He is King of the Church who will reign over the house of Jacob forever. It is the spiritual Israel that He reigns over, the children of promise, all the followers of believing Abraham and praying Jacob.

He reigns by His Spirit of grace over us, in us and through us, by His Word and ordinances administered through the Church, His body on earth. He manifested His Divine power on our behalf as He commanded the winds and waves and as He forced legions of devils to submit. It was this ruler who commanded diseases to flee and called the dead out of their graves. Only He who was from everlasting to everlasting was fit to be ruler over Israel, head over all things to the Church.

After exalting Jesus’ Divinity, Micah goes on to give specific details of the coming Messiah.

First, He is to be born in Bethlehem, a “small” town in Judah. It was widely known by the Jews of that day where the coming Savior of Israel would be born. They told this to King Herod when he wickedly asked about the new King of Israel.

Bethlehem means house of bread, the fittest place for Jesus, the bread of life, to be born. Once again God exalts things of low degree in the minds of men as Mary sang in her song, Luke 1:52
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
Christ would give honor to the place of His birth and not derive honor from it. Matthew remarks how Jesus touch magnifies even the smallest as seen by the world. A relation to Christ magnifies those that are little in the world.

The efficacy of small things is a favorite theme of God. Christians are like Bethlehem. That city was not worthy of the Messiah being born there and neither are we worthy of the Messiah being born into our hearts. We see Jesus as John did, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. And we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” May we ever behold Jesus with eyes of faith and exalt His name together.

Second, Micah says that in the fullness of time, this eternal, divine Son of God would be born of a woman. The fullness of time as reckoned by men is, “We want what we want, now.” But God leaves Israel to her distress and trouble for many years, until the time is just right according to His comprehensive, divine plan. They wanted to be rescued immediately, but God said, No, Israel will have to wait about 400 years. The Messiah will be brought forth in the place appointed and in the time appointed. All Israel should have been like Simeon, waiting for the consolation of Israel.

Like Simeon, we wait with patience for the conquering of the world through the Church. We have the promise, but the time is not yet. We know the place, the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, but the time is not yet. We patiently wait and we work as we wait.

1 Corinthians 15:58
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
We recognize the importance of small things in the plan of God. We rest in that plan. Our smallness in the eyes of the world is no handicap, but rather an advantage because God uses small things for His glory. We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the glory may be of God. What do we have that we have not received?
Small things are special to God. He conquers by many or by few.
Third, Micah says that the remnant of his brethren shall then return to the children of Israel. The remnant of the Jewish nation shall return to the spirit of true genuine children of Israel, a people in covenant with God.
As Malachi prophesied, the hearts of the children shall be turned to the fathers. Of course we know from the NT that the Gentiles as well as the Jews will become true Jews by the circumcision of their hearts. Jesus is not ashamed to call any His brethren, who call upon him in truth.
Continuing with Micah’s prophecy we see that the Messiah shall be a glorious prince and His subjects shall be happy under His government.
He shall stand and feed…He shall both rule and teach as a good shepherd with wisdom, care and love. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd who embraces the lambs in His arms and protects them from the wolves of this world.
Let’s dwell in this image for a few moments. What does it mean that we are sheep and Jesus is our Shepherd? Here are a few observations. See if you don’t see yourself in these descriptions.
1. In order for sheep to lie down, four things must be true. Owing to their timidity, they
refuse to lie down unless they are free of all fear. They will not lie down unless they are
free from friction with the other sheep. If tormented by flies and parasites, sheep will not lie
down. As long as they feel a need for finding food, they will not lie down.
A flock that is restless, discontented, agitated and disturbed never does well. The only
thing that can reassure sheep is to see their Shepherd in the field. The presence of our
Master, Provider and Protector puts us at ease.

2. Sheep are easily spooked by turbulent water, like large waves and rushing waterfalls, sometimes even gurgly creeks. Sheep appreciate still water. It calms their spirits. Jesus leads His sheep beside this kind of water. The wicked are like the troubled sea that cast up its dirt and mire, but the righteous graze confidently beside water that has been stilled by the voice of our Lord. “Peace, be still,” He said to the crashing waves and it was so—and it still is.
When we are anxious, we undermine Jesus’ peace for us. When we worry and fret because of evildoers or whatever, we have our eyes on ourselves and not on Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Philippians 4:6-7
6 Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your re-quests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
3. A fallen sheep often lies on its back, thrashing around erratically, its feet in the air, struggling to stand up without success. Even the fattest, largest, strongest and healthiest sheep can become cast down and be a casualty. Often the fattest sheep can fall because of losing their center of gravity as they try to get comfortable in a shallow depression. Our confidence is in our Shepherd who vigilantly watches over his flock to restore us to our feet when we fail, to lift us up when we fall, and to resurrect us as we die.

4. Sheep left to themselves, left to their own way, left to their own destructive habits, destroy the very pastures they need. They may gnaw the grass to the very ground until the roots are damaged. They may engrave deep ruts, graze the same hills into desert wastes, and pollute their own ground, giving rise to disease and parasites. “All we like sheep have gone astray.”

The key to life for the sheep is for the Shepherd to keep His sheep on the move, leading them to new and flourishing pastures. The Bible calls this sancti-fication. May we this day follow our Lord as He leads us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith as we make our way together to that city not made with hands.

As His remnant people, we follow our Shepherd without reservation or hesitation.

Next, Micah proclaims that the Good Shepherd shall secure the peace and wel-fare of His church against all enemies. The immediate context is the rescue of Israel from the Assyrians, but the shadow is a promise to the Church for deliver-ance from all the designs and attempts of Satan, the powers of darkness, all the demons that seek to devour the Church.

These powers of darkness, the Sodomites, the abortionists, the femininist, the atheists and such, seem to be making much progress in our culture, but we are assured that God will prevail against them, as He always does.

Observe that the danger trod across their borders and crept into the palaces in an attempt to destroy God’s people. And like the Assyrians, Satan surrounded the holy city, even Jesus, to try to defeat His purposes of salvation, but he failed, again.

Even though there are fightings without and fears within, Jesus Himself is our peace. He is our hiding place. He made atonement for sin, reconciling us to God, and as King, He conquered all our enemies. He is our Protector and Defender.

Jesus Himself is our peace. When the enemy rails against us and attacks us with ruthless cruelty, Jesus is our hiding place.

Isaiah 32:1-2
1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
“In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, be at peace, for I have overcome the world.”
X2 Micah then portrays the proper instruments for Israels’ rescue from the Assyrians. He says,
“The shall we raise up seven shepherds and eight principal men,” to oppose the enemy. God uses human agencies like ministers of the gospel and godly magistrates to protect His people. Your elders are here to protect you, the Church, to watch out for your souls and to defend you against the powers of sin and Satan in the world no matter how they may come. We are for you and not against you. Do you believe this?
And what shall happen to those who oppose the Church of Jesus Christ? Micah says that the opposers of the church shall be brought down. Those who threaten to ruin the Church hasten ruin to themselves. Their destruction is the church’s salvation.
When Satan fell as lightning from heaven under the preaching of the gospel , when Christ’s enemies who would not have Him rule over them were slain before Him, this prophecy of Micah’s was fulfilled. Jesus defeated death on the cross and in 70 A.D He destroyed those who had crucified Him. That Israel was to be no more.
The Great Shepherd of the sheep, the son of David, the King of Kings brought salvation to His people as He destroyed the enemy’s main weapon of mass destruction, death itself.
Hebrews 2:14-18
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
As King David ascended the mountain with his sheep, he cleared out the debris that had gathered around the watering holes. He plucked up plants that would be poisonous to his flock. With rod in hand, he kept a close watch on predators who were as watchful for a stray sheep as was the shepherd. The table lands of the high mountains were choice pastures for hungry sheep, and the shepherd led them to green pastures, even as their enemies like roaring lions watched from afar, ready to pounce and devour at the first opportunity.

When we come to the King of Kings Table, we must appreciate all His preparations. He laid aside His glory, being subject to ridicule, false accusations and malicious charges. He was branded a glutton, a drunk, an imposter, a blasphemer, yet he opened not His mouth. He identified with us when He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. But most of all He prepared His Table for us in the presence of our enemies, being forsaken by His Father as
He paid for our sin.

Jesus is not like the shepherds of Israel, the Pharisees, the scribes who fattened themselves on the flesh of the sheep and warmed themselves with their wool. To the scattered sheep, the lost sheep, Jesus the Good Shepherd issues a call to follow. Exalted into the highest heavens, he invites us to a meal, a meal where the sick are healed, the broken bound up, the prisoners are set free, and the weak are strengthened. He offers His flesh and blood as true food and drink. He leads His Flock into green pastures and beside still waters.

Children, if your hands are washed, come and sit at His Table and feast for eternity. Remember that David was a warring king. Picture him in the thick of the battle, swords and armor clanging all around him, men dying on his right and his left – and what does he do? He sits down in the midst of all the bloody chaos of his enemies and has a cup of wine. Let us now join him in this meal on the battlefield.

 


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