Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

The End of the Beginning

David's earthly kingdom comes to an end. Micah 5.1

The Shepherd King: Micah 5 (1)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 79.6-9
Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You,
And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name.
For they have devoured Jacob,
And laid waste his dwelling place.
Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us!
Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us,
For we have been brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation,
For the glory of Your name;
And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins,
For Your name’s sake!

Sing Psalm 79.6-9
(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Pour out, O Lord, Your wrath on all who deny Your Name.
Who trust You not nor seek You, bring down to deepest shame!
For they have with great rancor Your precious saints devoured;
lay waste their habitation at this late dreadful hour.

Read Micah 5.1

Preparation
1. What is going to happen?

2. What will happen to the leaders (“judge”)?

Meditation
The kingdom established under David and his descendants, though prophesied from of old (cf. Gen. 49.8-11), was never intended to be the final Kingdom of God. It was but the beginning of God’s economy. In Micah 5, the prophet looks beyond the nation of his day to the world-scattered flock of the Shepherd King Who will rule all nations.

Verse 1 is Micah 4.14 in the Hebrew Bible. It introduces at the end of that breathtaking vision of the coming Kingdom a note of reality: The present kingdom is doomed. The verse begins with the word “Now”, signaling a return from the “last days” and “that day” to the present, if only for this one verse. It announces a coming siege and the silencing and breaking of Israel and her rulers. The people of Judah and Jerusalem will gather all their troops to fight against Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, but they will not prevail.

The siege will reduce the sinful people of Jerusalem to helplessness. The fall of Jerusalem will see the striking of Israel’s “judge” – her king, judges, priests, and prophets – “with a rod on the cheek.” The kingdom of Israel/Judah will be no more. That which God promised through Abraham (Gen. 17.6) and prophesied through Jacob (Gen. 49.8-11), Moses (Deut. 17.14-21), and Nathan (2 Sam. 7.4-16), and which He began with David and his offspring (Ps. 132), has now reached its end. When the people return from captivity in Babylon, no king will take the throne until the coming of the Shepherd/King promised in this chapter. The remnant who return from Babylon will not be a kingdom, but merely “the Jews.”

For the Old Testament people of God, this verse marks the end of the beginning of God’s redeeming work. But not the end of that work, nor of His Kingdom.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
How grateful we are as believers that there was a time in history that marked the end of one work and the beginning of God’s redeeming work in Jesus.

All the gathering of troops and the mobilization of armies could not fix the problem of the sinful heart.
It still cannot. The only remedy is repentance and salvation in Jesus. And happily, we are given the opportunity to accept this prescription for our need.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and
by His stripes we are healed” (Is. 53.5).

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5.21).

Jesus. The Beginning and the End.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1.1).

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1.8).

Reflection
1. The kingdom of David ended with the Babylonian captivity, but it continues in Jesus. How is it different now?

2. Why was it necessary for the earthly kingdom of David to fail?

3. “They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.” How does this point forward to Jesus?

He means that the Jews would be subdued by their enemies that their judges and governors would be exposed to every kind of contumely and dishonor, for to strike on the cheek is to offer the greatest indignity; as indeed it is the greatest contempt, as Demosthenes says, and is so mentioned by the lawyers. We now then perceive, that the Prophet's object was to show, ― that the Jews in vain boasted of their kingdom and civil constitution, for the Lord would expose the governors of that kingdom to extreme contempt. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Micah 51

Closing Prayer: Psalm 79.10-13
Pray for Christians who are being persecuted around the world. Pray that the churches in our country will be revived, give thanks and praise to God, and declare His praise to the world.

Psalm 79.10-13
(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Why should the nations mock and say, “Where now is their God?”
Let there be known among them harsh vengeance for our blood!
Hear, Lord, our groans and sighing; preserve us by Your pow’r.
For we are fairly dying each day and hour by hour.

Reproach those who reproach us with judgment sevenfold!
Let thanks and praise to You by Your precious flock be told.
We are Your sheep, O Savior, we thank You all our days.
Look on us with Your favor as we declare Your praise.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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