Micah’s Shepherd (27-10-21)
Like most of the Old Testament prophets, Micah is warning the nation of forthcoming destruction if the people do not turn back from the worship of idols and foreign gods, from child sacrifice and from oppression of the poor. As well as a warning though, Micah also offers them hope for the future and gives them a pattern for godly living.
Bible Reading: Micah 5:1-5, 6:8
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 labour 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.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
These verses from Micah are often read at Christmas as they prophecy the birth of a future ruler and leader for Israel in the small town of Bethlehem, in the land of Judah. This promised leader would bring them security and peace, but not as a warrior coming to lead them against their oppressors, but as a shepherd who would tend his flock and who would give his life for them.
Israel’s Saviour was born in poverty and humility in Bethlehem, but his greatness, as Micah prophesied, indeed reached the ends of the earth, and he became our Saviour also. Isn’t that just amazing?
As our Good Shepherd Jesus brings us security in the knowledge of God’s unconditional love for us, and peace in the knowledge that he has dealt with the sin that alienates us from God and from each other.
And what does he require for us in return? Not the sacrifices of the Old Testament, for Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin. What God requires of us is to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God, the very things that he was requiring of Israel. But we seek this in the knowledge that when we fail we won't go into exile as Israel did, but we will be forgiven, restored and sent back out to continue the task to which he has called us.
We may only have limited influence in our own lives, never-the-less there will be times when we can choose to promote justice rather than injustice, where we can show mercy rather than judgement and where we can choose to walk humbly with our God to whom we owe everything.
We can also pray for justice, mercy and humility to be evident around our world.
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring Your love,
Where there is injury, Your pardon, Lord,
And where there’s doubt, true faith in You.
Make me a channel of your peace