The Shepherd King: Micah 5 (6)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 83.1-3
Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
(St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
O God, do not be quiet now; do not be silent, nor be still!
See how Your foes erupt in a row and those who hate You chafe at Your will.
Shrewdly they plan, conspiring as one, against Your daughters and Your sons.
Read Micah 5.10-15
1. Why does God threaten vengeance against the nations?
2. What are the targets of God’s judgment against the nations?
This passage is deliberately vague as to its focus. Only in the last verse does Micah mention “the nations that have not heard.” The rest of the passage might be aimed at any nation – including the nations of Israel and Judah – which resolutely defy and offend against God.
Let’s note the objects of God’s vengeance. First, military might (v. 10). Then population and defense centers (v. 11). Next, false religions (vv. 12-14) and all cities. The vengeance of the Lord brings to naught everything people trust in for safety, security, and prosperity. We must not think that such acts of judgment are reserved to Old Testament times. God can bring down and has brought down even the mightiest of nations and empires which refuse His Word and pursue wicked ways.
But let’s remember the context: It is the last days. The Shepherd King has come. His people are being dispersed throughout the nations as refreshing dew to further the rule of their King. Nations and peoples are streaming up to the mountain of the Lord’s house because of the witness of God’s people. The judgment of God falls on those who will not hear the Good News and who choose instead to persist in their own plans and schemes. Paul says that God’s work of judgment is ongoing (Rom. 1.18-32). The only way to escape the vengeance of God is to hear and receive the Good News of the Kingdom.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Many words of warning and wisdom had already been penned for the people of God to learn from. Words that, had they been taken to heart, would have led the people to lead different lives.
Could it be that we, like they, have missed these words of guidance and command?
Solomon wrote these words of wisdom – the voice of God speaking to each heart:
“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.
Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and
be filled to the full with their own fancies.
For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and
the complacency of fools will destroy them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and
will be secure, without fear of evil” (Proverbs 1. 28-33).
And if we find that frightening, the words to us in the New Testament are even firmer: “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay…’” (Hebrews 10.29,30).
Being a Christian is serious business, and we dare not take it for granted. We have work to do, and commands to keep, and “miles to go before we sleep”. The Day of Vengeance cannot be avoided.
1. Some Christians have a problem with the idea that God chastens or disciplines those who love Him. But how does Hebrews 12.3-11 teach us to think about this?
2. What do the nations of the world need to do to escape the judgment and vengeance of God (Mic. 5.15)? What is our role in this?
3. According to Solomon (Prov.1.28-33), what provokes God to bring judgment against His people?
Here God mentions his wrath and his fury, that the faithful might feel greater confidence, that though now their enemies poured forth grievous threatening, yet this could not prevent God from aiding his people. ― How so? Because if we compare the wrath and fury of God with all the terrors of men, doubtless the threats of men would appear as nothing but smoke. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Micah 5.15
Closing Prayer: Psalm 83.4-18
Pray for Christians everywhere who are being persecuted for their faith. Pray that God would bring their tormentors to shame, and that a great awakening to Jesus would ensue.
(St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
“Come, let us wipe them out,” they say. “Let Israel’s name no more be heard!”
Bold they conspire to do us away, and covenant against You, O Lord.
Peoples and nations cast in their lot for this ambitious, wicked plot.
Deal with them, Lord, and bring them down, as You against old foes prevailed,
when You Midian cast to the ground and all her kings and princes assailed –
all who Your pastures sought to possess You brought to ruin and deep distress.
Make them like whirling dust, O God! Scatter them like the windblown chaff!
Rage like a fire consuming a wood, like flames that burn a mountain pass!
Blow like a tempest, bring them to harm, and terrify them with Your storm!
Fill with dishonor every face that they may seek Your Name, O Lord.
Bring them to shame, dismay, and disgrace, and let them perish under Your Word,
that they may learn Your infinite worth, O God Most High of all the earth!
T. M. and Susie Moore
You can listen to our summary of last week’s study by clicking here.
Micah in God’s Covenant
Where does the book of Micah fit in God’s covenant with His people? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you to answer that question and to gain a better understanding of how the grace of God reaches and transforms us in Jesus Christ. Order your free copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures 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.