The previous chapter describes the Messiah as born in Bethlehem. The continuation of Micah’s prophecy portrays this Servant as the Ruler and King of Israel.
Micah 5:2b “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
New Testament Fulfillment:
When Pontius Pilate questions Jesus about His identity, he asks if He is a king. Jesus replies in the affirmative; this was the reason that He was born—while informing the Roman Procurator that His kingdom is not of this world.
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world…”
John 1:49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
John 12:13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!”
Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
The Ruler of Israel
Micah’s prophecy of the Savior—born in Bethlehem, continues with a further revelation: This Baby, born in a manger to a poor family and hardly noticed by the leaders of Israel, will be the Ruler of Israel.
The Jews living at the time the Messiah was born in Bethlehem were expecting a King—far different from the one that was presented to them. Since 27 B.C., the nation of Israel had been under the dominion of the Roman government. The Jews had lost their right to self-rule and many people had begun to feel as though they were forsaken by God. When Jesus presented Himself as a suffering and dying Messiah, the leaders of Israel were unprepared to receive such a King. The Jews desired a conqueror who would set their nation free from the oppression of the Romans. Jesus taught that the Messiah would make His appearance twice: once for salvation, and second time—to overthrow the kingdoms of men and establish His righteous kingdom.
Jesus came first to conquer sin and death; later, He will overcome and subdue all of the kingdoms of this world. It was the timing of God’s Messiah that the Jews did not understand.
The Lord’s schedule is always perfect, as we examine the prophecies of the Bible. In every prophetic utterance made by God, there was a specific time of fulfillment appointed. Jesus made sure that He always followed the Father’s predetermined plan and not the will or expectations of men.
Just before Jesus would go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He would be arrested and taken violently—scourged, and crucified, He went before the Father in prayer. John Chapter 17 records the words of this true “Lord’s prayer.” In these 26 verses, Jesus prays directly to the Father. He speaks of the hour that has come, in which all the prophecies that we have looked at together so far, would be fulfilled.
John 17:1-5 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
It should be noted that once we surrender our life to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are on His timeline. The Lord will place us into a predetermined plan that He designed for us before He made the world or anyone upon it. Most often, we may not be aware that we are following a plan that God has determined for us. It is not until we begin to experience difficulties or suffering, that we may doubt whether we are in the will of God. It is during times of trial that we might question the reality of God’s love for us—when He allows our suffering. In reality, it is because the Lord does love us so dearly, that He permits our discomfort.
As we learned in the previous chapter, the circumstances of Jesus’ birth were not what we might consider “ideal.” By the time Jesus was just two years old, Herod had sent an detachment of vicious troops to kill every child, two years and younger, in Bethlehem. The chapter: “Threatened with death at Birth,” details a prediction made by Jeremiah, that a great injustice will be done in Bethlehem. Matthew records the fulfillment of this terrible event in chapter 2, verses 16-18.
Old Testament Prophecy:
Jeremiah 31:15 Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 2:16-18 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”
The Bible records a great number of trials and difficulties during the first two and the last three and one half years of Jesus’ life. The Father ordained that His Son would suffer so that He might learn obedience.
Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
If your life has had moments of suffering and loss, then you should have great confidence that you are on a sure course that the Lord has chosen for you. Trials are the loving act of a Father who deeply cares for His children. Through the process of being humbled through our trials, we understand that God is disciplining and teaching us. If we endure our suffering with confidence in the Love of God, then we have achieved the intended results of our trials.
Hebrews 12:5-7 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
In these difficult and painful moments of our life, we should use the time of our suffering to draw near to the Lord and express our love and continued trust in Him. For as we suffer, we know that we are being refined and purified as fine gold. In the heat and fire of our testing, only the worthless dross of all the empty and fleeting things of this world are being removed. When we come through the trial, what is left is a purified heart that understands the love of God and His great care, in greater clarity than we could have experienced—without our trials.
Though we may understand these realities in principle, none of us cares much for times of difficulty. When we are suffering, it hurts; and we feel miserable until circumstances improve in our life. If we would remember that not only will good things come into our life but also the bad, we will be better prepared. The Lord permits both light and darkness for the same purpose: To show us who we are in times of suffering and to show us who He is, as He brings us through suffering.
Isaiah 45:6-7 …I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.’
When we pray and ask the Lord for help or direction, often, the answers seem slow in their arrival.
This is because the Lord is trying to build character in us. His delay in sending help creates an environment where patience can grow. As we wait upon the Lord, we learn to trust Him more—while we observe that His timing is always perfect. Waiting on the Lord is one of the most difficult things to accomplish in life. A lengthy delay in solutions to our problems does, however, give us endurance and humility. If the Lord did for us, the things that we want Him to do, as quickly as we asked Him to do them; we would not grow and trust Him nearly as much as we can when He delays the answer to our needs.
I find that waiting on the Lord is perhaps my greatest struggle. I have no problem believing in the goodness of the Lord and His desire to show His love to me. What I suffer through time and time again is waiting on Him after I ask for His help. In my small world, the Lord always takes far too long. My impatience persists until I receive the answer I had been waiting for. It is then that I can clearly see that had the Lord given me the solution I sought any earlier, it would not have accomplished as much in my heart as when I was forced to wait and trust Him.
God has delayed the coming of the Messiah’s kingdom until after He has completed the elements of His prophetic word that must occur first.
If we should ever believe that prophecy is not really that important, we should consider that every detail of Jesus’ life as the Savior of the world was guided and directed by prophecy. As we go through each one of these prophecies, we become keenly aware that the Lord has been following a very detailed set of plans. The revelation for how these plans will unfold are here for us in the Bible. My job has been to try and bring awareness to the importance of these many prophetic words and show you how sure and reliable the word of God is.
As you come into an awareness of the way in which the Lord works in even the smallest details of your life, you will gain greater peace, as you understand that He is working all things together for your good because He loves you.