April 7, 2011

Minor Prophets LX: The Forever King

Micah 5:1-15 shows two distinct narratives that get divided right in the middle of verse 5.

According to Tyndale’s Old Testament commentary, we see in verses 1-6 an “inclusio” bracketing these verses that includes the personal pronoun “we/us” and the Assyrian invasion beginning with its victory and closing with its defeat. Like the previous oracle in Micah it moves from Jerusalem’s king’s (v.1) embarrassment to the Messiah’s victory (v.2-5). The progression is from Messiah’s salvation that begins with God that raises up the governor (v.2) through the faithful community that gives Him birth (v.3) to the Shepherd that by faith in God rule to the “ends of the earth” (v.4). Rule that gives peace and finally to His subordinates who eventually over run and subjugate even Assyria (v.5-6). The tone shifts midpoint verse 5 from the Ruler born in Bethlehem (Jesus) to directly address the Assyrian subjugation (Baker 181).

Verse 7-9 then introduces another oracle link to the last. This portion specifically expands on the Messiah and His kingdom in or among the nations through a future remnant (v.7 & 8). Verses 7 and 8 also have striking parallels in terms of simile as noted.

(v.7) “Like dew”, “like showers” (v.8) “like a lion”, “like a young lion”. They then end in explanations (v.7) “which do not wait for anyone or depend on man” and (v.8) “which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue.” Regardless, God makes them victorious, “your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.”

Verses 10-15 are the final oracle against the nations in this chapter. We see God protecting His kingdom from beginning to end using the first person in each stitch all throughout this stanza: “I will destroy…horses, cities, witchcraft, etc., etc.”. Time after time Israel and Judah had a chance to repent and had been warned of impending judgment. In the last days Israel will be returned to their land but for now they would be ousted to prepare them for the future kingdom. A future where they will see their Messiah, believe in Him and be saved.

The truth is God has not permanently cast aside His people. There is a believing remnant of Jews in the Church. It is my belief that at some point in the future God will gather His unbelieving remnant into their land, they will experience suffering and He will then reveal Himself and give birth to a new nation. The Christians understand this and look to the future also for God to gather His people to Himself (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Baker, David W., T. Desmond Alexander, and Bruce K. Waltke. "The Once And Future King." Obadiah, Jonah, Micah: An Introduction and Commentary. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988. 181-191. Print

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