First Presbyterian Church
Wichita Falls, Texas
April 27, 2011
THE KING WHO RULES GOD’S KINGDOM
Jesus Christ -- The Center of Our Faith: Part 4
Micah 5:1-5 (NIV)
1 Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. 5 And he will be their peace.
‘A siege is laid against us.’ So wrote Micah to the people of ancient Jerusalem. ‘Marshal your troops,’ he urged. Get ready for battle. Not that it would do any good, of course. It was a lost cause even before it started. ‘They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod,’ said Micah. In other words, they would not only defeat Israel’s king; they would humiliate him.
And that’s the way it turned out. After besieging Jerusalem for two long years, the Babylonian army broke through the wall of the city. The king tried to escape, but the Babylonians overtook him and brought him before their own king. The Scriptures then tell us: ‘They killed the sons of [Israel’s king] before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon’ (2 Kings 25:7). Truly, as Micah said, they struck ‘Israel’s ruler...with a rod’ and then some!
It was the end of the war, and God’s people had lost. And if that weren’t bad enough, it seemed to them as if God himself had abandoned them. Long years before, God had promised King David that he would ‘establish the throne of his kingdom forever’ (2 Sam. 7:13). God had said, ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel’ (Jer. 33:17).
But now their king was in shackles, a prisoner of war. And the palace and with it the temple and, for that matter, the whole city was reduced to rubble. Not only was there no king on the throne; there was not even a throne. So, in Psalm 83 we read, ‘You have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with your anointed one. You have renounced the covenant with your servant [David] and have defiled his crown in the dust’ (vv. 38f.).
But now, in our text for today, Micah tells us that the line of David is not ended. God will keep his promise yet. ‘Out of [Bethlehem],’ God says, will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel...[and] his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth’ (Micah 5:2, 4).