Spiritual Life Church

 "Having God in Your Life Improves the Quality of Your Life" - Rev Daniel Hodlin

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Spiritual Life Church
Rev. Daniel Hodlin  
Ordained Minister

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"A Christian Ministry for your busy lifestyle"   Rev. Daniel Hodlin

God’s Promise   by Rev. Daniel Hodlin
This week, I would like you to read the following Scripture:
Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 1:39-45 ( 46-55 ); Hebrews 10:5-10

Pastor’s Prayer
The eve of Emmanuel! O dear God, precious savior, we fidget and fret with impatience. We want peace in our world dropped in our laps. We want justice for all the fall from the sky. But we aren’t willing to do your legwork. We act as though either you haven’t called us to love our neighbors or we don’t really believe that you are coming again. We punch our tickets with an embarrassed response to an altar call, and then sit on our hands. God, forgive us for our lazy, simplistic answers to the world’s woes. Give us the heart of Christmas, not only during this season of festivity and celebration, but every day of the year. Give us a new heart. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

God’s Promise
Micah 1:1 tells us that he was a prophet in Judah, sometime around 742-687 B.C.E. He lived at the time of Isaiah and Hosea. He came from Moresheth, a small village outside Jerusalem. He was from among common folk. He was an advocate of the pure worship of God and for social justice. Within his prophecy, there are words of judgment and promised hope of restoration.

It may be helpful in studying this passage to look at the complete pronouncement from Micah 4:6-5:9. Prior to verse 5:2, there is a siege. The people of God are walled in; they are surrounded. There is an urgent need for help. Someone must come to the rescue. In the midst of the siege, the prophet speaks a word of hope, although his audience probably didn’t hear it as such. In verse 2, the prophet reclaims the promises of the past by proclaiming that a shepherd king will come from Bethlehem to rule Israel, just like David. Matthew 2:6 quotes this verse to show Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Verse 3 is not a happy verse to hear when one is under siege. It refers to the time of exile. God will give up God’s people until this new ruler comes. Look at Micah 4:10: “Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor…you shall go to Babylon. There you will be rescued…” The image of labor is the suffering and pain the people must go through until the coming of the new ruler. In 5:4, the prophet uses shepherd imagery. The new ruler will protect and provide for God’s people. None of the messianic prophecies speak of the Messiah to come as the incarnation of God. This prophecy, does, however, come close to declaring that he will care for the people in God’s strength and majesty.

Verse 5 also gives a unique characteristic of the ruler to come. He will come as one of peace. This is contrary to the expected military messiah of the Old Testament and even during the time of Jesus.

It may be tempting to look at the Micah passage simply as a prophecy that was fulfilled in Jesus’ coming. The New Testament confirms this interpretation. However, don’t forget the original historical context of these verses. If we use the imagery of the woman in labor, then we see the exiles had a time of waiting ahead of them, just as there is a time of waiting and suffering for a woman in labor. Then think of the great anticipation and joy that occurs after the labor is over and the woman has delivered.

Hearing these words while they were under siege, the people were probably neither happy nor hopeful. “Yes, but how long must we wait?” was probably the question uppermost in their minds and on their tongues. They must have thought this prophet Micah had a great imagination to dream of such a messiah coming and restoring them. No Davidic king had saved them from such great powers before. What a wonderful, unbelievable dream this was! The prophet had no way of knowing it would be another seven hundred years before it came to pass that this wonderful dream came true in Jesus.

God’s people still find themselves waiting. We are in the “between time”. The Messiah has come and reigns as our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the present time there is suffering and sin, but the shepherd king Jesus has redeemed his people and brings wholeness and renewal in the midst of pain and struggle. In Jesus, we find hope, for the final fulfillment of God’s promise is anticipated as we wait for the Second Coming.

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