Wait and Watch
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. Micah 5:2
The time is one of political instability, social injustice, and moral degeneration. Nations plot against each other. Hatred spills over between countries as they attempt to gain power. People journey through life to please themselves with no concern for God or those around them. Sounds like the present time, right?
Actually, this describes a place in history in the late 8th century B.C. The divided kingdom—the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah—had been at odds with each other. Israel joined forces with Aram to attack Judah and took down 120,000 Judean soldiers. When Judah pleaded with Assyria for aid, the king gave them more trouble than help. Assyria then captured Samaria and brought an end to the Northern Kingdom, and the downfall of Judah continued. A nation that once feared and followed the Lord was rebelling with all her might as she sought riches and glory during troubling times. Worship had become a mere outward show of sacrifice rather than hearts filled with gratitude and praise toward a loving God. So, God called Micah to minister to Judah in this very difficult atmosphere.
One would think Micah’s message would be of complete doom and dread mixed with a hefty dose of harsh judgment and wrath. And it certainly was condemning. The people’s hearts were so far from a God who preserved them, brought them out of Egypt, and saved them from certain peril that the prophet had to confront them with their sin. He prophesied Jerusalem’s destruction in so much detail it seems as if he already lived it as he called the people to repentance.
We need that same message today. We live in a time of political instability, social injustice, and moral degeneration, maybe more now than many of us have seen in our lifetimes. But the problem is not just the world around us. We are part of that problem, too. We rebel first in our hearts. Then as it festers, it works its way to our biting words and our inconsiderate actions. We need the message that helps us see our sin and brings us to our knees in repentance.
God hears our cries for mercy, just as he heard his people’s cries in Micah’s time. Micah’s message from God quickly turned to one of hope and comfort, reassuring the people that God would restore them. He would not forsake them. God gave Micah the words to prophesy the coming of the King to rescue them. He would be more than just an earthly king. This King would reign over them, not just among them. This King from eternity would come from the Almighty God himself, a King different than any they’d ever known. God promised it through Micah and other prophets who never saw this King.
And so, it is with us. We also have Scripture that guides us to God’s promises. This December, like every other before it, our eyes look to a manger and wait in expectation for the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth. But we also wait for another coming of our King as our eyes look to the skies. At his second coming, Jesus will take us to be with him and all the saints and angels in full heavenly glory and splendor. What a glorious day that will be, when God will take all who believe in the promised King to live with him! We don’t know when that day will be, but we trust God to keep us in his care until that day comes. Until then, we walk by faith and not by sight, just as his prophets of long ago.
We join Micah in proclaiming: “But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:2).
O Lord, walk with us until that glorious day of Jesus’ coming! Amen!
Written by Paula Sulzle
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry