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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Micah 5:1-15 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Micah 5:1-15: The chapter opens with an image of Jerusalem being besieged, but a new king is promised who will usher in a time of peace and safety for the people. This king will be a “new David,” because he will come from Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David. Whatever symbolizes dependence on anything other than God will be destroyed.

Today's Scripture: Micah 5:4a

When he comes, he will rule his people with the strength that comes from the LORD and with the majesty of the LORD God himself.

Today's Reading

1People of Jerusalem, gather your forces! We are besieged! They are attacking the leader of Israel!

God Promises a Ruler from Bethlehem

2 The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.”

3So the Lord will abandon his people to their enemies until the woman who is to give birth has her son. Then those Israelites who are in exile will be reunited with their own people.4When he comes, he will rule his people with the strength that comes from the Lord and with the majesty of the Lord God himself. His people will live in safety because people all over the earth will acknowledge his greatness,5and he will bring peace.

Deliverance and Punishment

When the Assyrians invade our country and break through our defenses, we will send our strongest leaders to fight them.6 By force of arms they will conquer Assyria, the land of Nimrod, and they will save us from the Assyrians when they invade our territory.

7The people of Israel who survive will be like refreshing dew sent by the Lord for many nations, like showers on growing plants. They will depend on God, not people.8Those who are left among the nations will be like a lion hunting for food in a forest or a pasture: it gets in among the sheep, pounces on them, and tears them to pieces—and there is no hope of rescue.9Israel will conquer her enemies and destroy them all.

10The Lord says, “At that time I will take away your horses and destroy your chariots.11I will destroy the cities in your land and tear down all your defenses.12I will destroy the magic charms you use and leave you without any fortunetellers.13I will destroy your idols and sacred stone pillars; no longer will you worship the things that you yourselves have made.14I will pull down the images of the goddess Asherah in your land and destroy your cities.15And in my great anger I will take revenge on all nations that have not obeyed me.”

Reflect

Reread verse 2. Christians have interpreted this verse as referring to Jesus, and this verse is quoted in Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:6). How is God’s promised ruler described (verses 4-5a)? Micah goes on to describe a time of deliverance and punishment. Why are the people of Israel who survive described as “refreshing dew” (verse 7)? What will the LORD destroy (verses 10-14)? Why?

Pray

God of deliverance, help me to reach out today to someone who may be hurting so that I may speak a word of hope and encouragement and share the refreshing dew of your love and peace. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Medical personnel serving in countries affected by the Ebola virus

Tomorrow's Reading

Luke 1:1-25: The birth of John the Baptist is announced.

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Readings

Yesterday's Reading

Malachi 3:13—4:6

Tomorrow's Reading