December 16, 2021

Micah 5:1–7:20

Micah continues his word to the nation of Israel, but in the midst of it, He also prophecies of the coming of Christ, and mingles in messages to the whole wide world. 

The siege in Micah 5:1 is most likely a continuance of the Babylonian invasion, but it begins to morph into one of the clearest Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Micah identifies WHERE the Messiah would be born. 

Micah 5:2 (NKJV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

Bethlehem wasn’t a big city, but it WAS the city of David. It would therefore be the ideal birthplace for Messiah-King whose rule would bring perfect and permanent peace. The ONLY one who could possibly bring this type of peace on earth would have to be the Maker of heaven and earth and it turns out to be true. He goes all the way back to the days of eternity. 

It’s not random that Bethlehem means “House of Bread,” for Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48), He’s the manna from heaven (John 6:31-33). He’s the only one who can satisfy our spiritual appetite and sustain us in the “wilderness.”

The prophecy of Christ speaks not only of His first coming but His Second Coming in verses 3-5a.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “As Micah had written earlier (Micah 4:9), Israel’s spiritual pain in being dispersed (abandoned) was like a woman’s physical pain in labor. But the time will come when the labor will end and birth will come. This refers not to Mary’s giving birth to Jesus, but to Israel’s national regathering (Micah 2:12; 4:6–7), likened here to a childbirth when His brothers (fellow Israelites; cf. Deuteronomy 17:15) will return and join other Israelites. Christ will be one of them. Micah 5:2–3 puts together the two Advents of Christ, much as is done in Isaiah 9:6–7; 61:1–2.”

Micah 5:5b-15 speak of the defeat of Assyria, the rise of Israel, and God’s judgment upon the nations of the world.

Micah 5:15 (NLT) “I will pour out my vengeance on all the nations that refuse to obey me.”

In Micah 6 God reasons and pleads with His people to get right in their relationship with Him, but their refusal to repent, led to the judgment of God.

When we look back at all God has done for us, the way He’s saved and sustained us, shouldn’t it bring us to love and obedience? Tragically that wasn’t the case for Israel. Although God had redeemed them from slavery in Egypt, protected them from the curses of Balaam and Moab they still refused to walk with God. I wonder if we’ve finally realized that it’s not about superficial sacrifice and routine religion, it’s all about walking with-and-like God.

Micah 6:8 (NKJV) “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Such a beautiful passage we would do well to memorize…and of course take to heart, and live out loud. Tragically the Israelites did not do what God had vividly shown them to do – they continued to practice abominable injustices and idolatry – the worship of Baal – which led to their downfall.

Times would get so bad, that the faithful men and women would be obsolete (Micah 7:2). It wouldn’t even matter if you were related, you’d be hunted down, turned in to the authorities, betrayed even by “friends.” This was no-doubt the case in the days of Israel’s Assyrian captivity, but it is also a prophecy of what would happen to the followers of Christ. Jesus quoted this passage in Matthew 10:35-36.

In closing the book we are once again reminded that God gets the last word, and over the centuries the nations may come against God’s people, but His mercy towards those who have placed their faith in Him prevails. Israel will be exalted and all believers will be forgiven.

There really is no one like our God!

Micah 7:18–19 (NKJV) “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. 19 He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.”

Revelation 7:1-17

The next vision John had, was four angels standing at the four corners of the earth (North, South, East, and West) and they were holding the “winds” – speaking of the way the invisible God was working visibly on planet earth, in this case, judging the world. There’s now a pause, judgment is held back for a bit, in order for the angels of God to “seal” 144,000 Jewish servants.

I thought it was interesting how John is writing about the “seals” of judgment, and here God “seals” His servants. It shows us that even in times of Great Tribulation, there is opportunity for great service and salvation. 

Warren Wiersbe wrote along the same lines, “The day of the Lord will bring judgment and destruction, and it will also result in the saving of people. In wrath, God remembers mercy (Habakkuk 3:2). When you experience trials, ask God to use you to win others to the Savior even in the midst of troubles.”

Why did they seal them? David Jeremiah explains, “It was common in John’s day for masters to seal or brand their slaves on the forehead or hand to declare ownership. This mark also granted protection from those who would steal or misuse them.” Ephesians 1:13 speaks of the fact that all Christians are sealed with the Person of the Holy Spirit.

It’s puzzling how some people get confused as to who the 144,000 are! The Jehovah Witnesses even claim this as an elite group amongst themselves, but the Bible clearly states that these people are the children of Israel, and God gets even more specific by stating there would be 12,000 from each tribe. It’s important for us to remember that during this time, God will be dealing with, and drawing the nation of Israel back to Himself; He is not done with the Jews (Daniel 9:24-27; Romans 11).

You may have noticed that the tribes of Dan and Ephraim are not mentioned in this list. That doesn’t mean that descendants of these tribes won’t be saved, it just might mean that they won’t serve in the same sense during this period. Keep in mind that Ephraim was Joseph’s son and Dan is mentioned in the Millennial Kingdom in Ezekiel 48:32, which takes place after the Tribulation Period…so they’re still around.

In this chapter there is mention of those who are protected from harm (Revelation 7:1-8) and those who are martyred for their faith (Revelation 7:9-17). God in His perfect wisdom knows what’s best for everyone, and even in a Christian’s death, there is blessing beyond our wildest imagination!

I believe that these 144,000 Jews will be like 144,000 Paul the Apostles and people from every nation will be saved as a result of their witness. Here they are from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues in the wonderful worship of God and thanksgiving for their salvation. The angel identified them as Tribulation Saints who will forever serve God day and night. 

B. F. Westcott said, “We make a great mistake if we connect with our conception of heaven the thought of rest from work. Rest from toil, from weariness, from exhaustion—yes; but rest from work, from productiveness, from service—no. ‘They serve God day and night.’”

Being a tribulation saint meant much suffering on earth, hunger, thirst, unimaginable horror as the elements of the earth erode and the rule of the antichrist prevailed, but now they were led and comforted by Jesus Himself…forever.

Psalm 135:1-21

Hallelujah means “Praise the LORD,” and that is the thrust of this Psalm. Praise Him and sing to Him. When we gather together assembled as a congregation we should come ready to worship – for He is good!

We have reason to praise.

We’ve been chosen by God, we’re His special treasure (Matthew 13:44) – created and redeemed – those are some of the reasons the Psalmist calls us to praise the LORD.

Creation, Redemption, and then there’s Provision. He’s taken care of me all my life. All this has come from the hand of the LORD Himself. Unlike the statues and wanna-be gods that the world puts their trust in and prays to, our God is the living God, who speaks, and sees, and hears. 

Psalm 135:15–17 (NKJV) “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; 17 They have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths.”

The Psalmist reveals the fact that we become like whatever it is we worship. In this case all who worship lifeless idols, are spiritually lifeless!

Psalm 135:18 (NKJV) “Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”

Bless the LORD – Israel, Aaron (the high priest), Levi, and all who fear Him (Gentiles). All of God’s people have ample reaons to praise.

I believe this Psalm emphasizes that part of our lives where we SING praises to God. May we all cultivate that vital part of the celebration of salvation.

Proverbs 30:5-6

Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6 Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”

We are blessed by the Word of God…and according to this Proverb, every single Word of God is pure – it’s tried, true, and tested!

Psalm 12:6 (NKJV) “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Psalm 19:8 (NKJV) “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

Psalm 119:140 (NKJV) “Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it.”

Trust in God and His Word, provide power and protection, He Himself will surely be our shield.

Psalm 18:30 (NKJV) “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

They say Captain America has a pretty cool shield, but I have a hunch that ours is a bit better. What do you think?

Genesis 15:1 (NKJV) “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’”

God is our shield! This truth should eliminate our fears, knowing that nothing touches us unless God gives the green light. It should make us HAPPY!

Deuteronomy 33:29 (NKJV) “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, and you shall tread down their high places.”

The latter portion of verse 6 reminds us that we should never add, take away, or alter God’s Word in any way! Another warning is issued at the end of the Bible.

Revelation 22:18–19 (NKJV) “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Modern liberalism takes away portions of God’s Word. The serpent in the Garden of Eden added to the Word. Beware of either or.

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