The Kingdom's King
The seer Micah prophesied during to the kingdom of Judah in the 8th century B.C. Like his fellow "minor prophets" he spoke words of strong warning to Yahweh's people—people at this point who had grown fat and prosperous. The guilt of their trust in riches and oppression of the rich was laid before them. The shame of their sinful rulers and godless prophets was pointed out. As a result, Micah 3:12 states, "Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height."
But, as do so many of the prophets writers, Micah follows with words of hope in chapters 4-5. Chapter four speaks of the establishment of a glorious kingdom, very reminiscent of Isaiah 2:1-5. It is a kingdom unparalleled in it inclusive nature and peace that rules within it. And, every glorious kingdom must have an equally glorious king.
"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… 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. 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. And he shall be their peace" (5:2,4-5). What are we told about this king?
First, he would come from the most humble of places—the lowly city of Bethlehem, located only a few miles southwest of Jerusalem. Although it was also the home is Israel's greatest king, David, it paled in comparison to the nearby thriving center of wealth. It was viewed as a small, humble town. And, that is precisely the kind of king it would produce—a humble one seeking "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).
Then, we see something very unique about him— his "coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." Unlike all kings before him, this king's rule would be eternal, because he himself would be an eternal—he would spring into our temporal world from his eternal reality. This kingdom would be his to rule forever.
Finally, his concern for his people—his sheep—would be his defining motivation. He would be their shepherd—their protector and provided, doing so by the power of Yahweh. Interestingly, it is noted he would "stand." This speaks of His ever-alert nature as a king. No threat would escape his wrath; no wandering sheep his compassionate gaze. The realm of his flock would be worldwide. And, we are told, he would be their peace.
Who is this great king? The answer is Jesus Christ, born in the city of David— Bethlehem Ephrathah—some 2000 years ago (Luke 2) to the most humble of means. He is eternal, sharing that nature of godhood with the Father (John 1:1), and He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11; Luke 15:1-7)—always watching over His flock. He is all we could ever ask for in a king and so much more. Let's give thanks today for such a loving and serving ruler.