Summary: Micah speaks of the coming of the Messiah and in so doing, speaks of His cradle, His cross, and HIs crown.
Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea. His messages were to both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel. The nation divided after Solomon's death. 10 tribes to the north, were called "Israel" while the two tribes to the south were called "Judah." While "Israel" can refer to the 10 northern tribes, it's also used to refer to the twelve tribes of Israel. Such is the case in our passage for today.
The northern kingdom fell into idolatry quicker than did the southern kingdom. Consequently, they were the first ones taken captive. Around 722 BC, the capital of Samaria was taken by the Assyrians. Later, in 701 BC, the Assyrians attacked Judah; however, they were unable to capture Jerusalem due to the Lord’s intervention in the days of King Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:22). However, Judah eventually caught up with their northern countrymen with respect to idolatry, and God let them to be conquered by the Babylonians, who totally destroyed
Jerusalem in 586 BC after the rebellion of a couple of puppet kings.
In our passage, Micah confirmed that the southern kingdom was just as guilty as the northern kingdom, and would also be judged. So as the prophet speaks of "Israel," he is referring to the entire nation, north and south. But in the midst of speaking of God's judgment, Micah shares a promise concerning the Messiah, when "God’s Peace will Prevail."
"This is perhaps, the most important single prophecy in the Old Testament: it respects the personal character of the Messiah, and the discoveries of Himself to the world. It distinguishes his human birth from His existing from eternity; it foretells the rejection of the Israelites and Jews for a season, their final restoration, and the universal peace to prevail through the whole earth in the latter days." - Matthew Henry
Micah speaks of judgment to come as Jerusalem (city of troops) would be conquered and the people taken captive to Babylon. But in the midst of this prophecy, he tells of a day of hope - when the Messiah would come. In so doing, Micah mentions . . .
1. An incarnation - v. 2
God would take on flesh in the person of the Messiah. The arrival of the Messiah would be . . .
A. Inconspicuous - v. 2a
Micah turns from talking about the most significant city of the nation - Jerusalem, to the least significant - Bethlehem. It's referred to as "Bethlehem Ephrathah" so as to not confuse it with another Bethlehem in the land. Ephrathah was the name used in Jacob's day, the father of Israel. This is an amazing illustration of how precise God's Word is with respect to prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah.
There are 354 prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament, like this, that He'd be born in Bethlehem - each fulfilled exactly. Why is this important? Because it verifies of the claim that Jesus was God in the flesh. Consider these probabilities: Being struck by lightning in a year = 7 x 105 or 1 in 700,000. A meteorite landing on my house = 1.8 x 1014 or 1 in 180,000,000,000,000. Becoming president = 1 x 107 or 1 in 10,000,000. I will eventually die = 1 in 1.
Professor Peter Stoner calculated the odds of one person fulfilling only eight Old Testament prophecies are one in ten to the 17th power (1017). That's one in a number consisting of a 1 with 65 zeros after it): 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Now, what do you think the odds are against one person fulfilling all 354 messianic prophecies of the Old Testament? Astronomical! Yet that's what happened in the with the life of Jesus Christ.
“The fact is, the birth, crucifixion, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ are celebrated worldwide by folk of every race, language, and color, every year. And believing in Jesus, they have been delivered from the most evil, disastrous, frustrating, debilitating habits and life forms possible. The real problem with Jesus Christ is not that folk can't believe in Him—but that they won't believe in Him.” - former US Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson
B. Miraculous - v. 2b
It was here that God would take on flesh in the person of Christ.
"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see - such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross." - Colossians 1:15-20 (NLT)