Christmas A Prophet out of Bethlehem
A Ruler out of Bethlehem
Welcome and announcements
Doxology Hymn 305:1, 2, 5 “We love this place O God”
Call to worship and Greeting
Hymn no 152: When morning gilds the skies”
Prayer of adoration and Confession of sins
Declaration of pardoning
Hymn no 481: “Saviour, like a sheperd lead us”
Hymn no 483: “Children of the heavenly King”
Offering and Dedication
While the Offering is taken up, all (remaining seated) sing) Hymn no 205: “No weight of gold or silver”
Prayer of Intercession
Old Testament: Micah 5:1-15
New Testament: Matthew 2:1-6
Sermon “A Ruler out of Bethlehem”
So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah, but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. (2 Kings 25:1-7)
But now many nations are gathered against you. They say, “Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!” But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor. (Micah 4:11-12)
As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:8)
Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was old and well advanced in years. (1 Samuel 17:12)
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ”‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:3-6)
“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)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, (Philippians 2:5-6)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)
1. He will reunite and restore the nation.
As Micah had written earlier (4:9), Israel’s spiritual pain in being dispersed (abandoned) was like a woman’s physical pain in labor. But the time will come when the labor will end and birth will come. This refers to Israel’s national regathering (cf. 2:12; 4:6-7), likened here to a childbirth when His brothers (fellow Israelites and all who believe on his Name) will return and join other Israelites. Christ will be one of them.
Micah 5:2-3 puts together the two Advents of Christ, much as is done in Isaiah 9:6-7; 61:1-2.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, (Isaiah 61:1-2)
2. He will care for His people and give them security.
5:4. The Messiah will . . . shepherd His flock (cf. 2:12; 7:14; Zech. 10:3), something the nation’s leaders in Micah’s day were refusing to do (cf. comments on Micah 3:1-11).
Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.” Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets. (Micah 3:9-12)
Christ’s caring, guiding, and protecting role will be accomplished by the Lord’s strength and for His sake. As He shepherds the nation they will have peace and security (cf. Zech. 14:11) because His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth (cf. Mal. 1:11a). since He will rule over the entire world (Ps. 72:8; Zech. 14:9), all will know of His sovereign power, which will guarantee Israel’s safety.
3. The Ruler will destroy Israel’s enemies (5:5-9).
5:5-6. This is one of Messiah’s several accomplishments in bringing peace to Israel (vv. 5-15). He will be Israel’s peace because He will subdue the hostile powers around that nation. Though Assyria will not exist as a nation in the future, it represents nations who, like Assyria in Micah’s time, will threaten and attack Jerusalem (cf. Zech. 12:9; 14:2-3).
Christ will enable Israel to defeat her foes, giving the nation a more-than-adequate number of shepherds or leaders Whereas many nations have ruled Israel with the sword, in the Millennium the tables will be turned and Israel will rule over her foes because He, Messiah, will deliver her (cf. Zech. 14:3).
After Christ will destroy Israel’s enemies the remnant (cf. 2:12; 4:7; 5:8; 7:18) of believing Israelites will be refreshing and influential (like dew and showers) among many peoples. Because the rainy season in Palestine was from October through March, nighttime dew in the other six months helped nourish the crops. As the dew and rain come from God in His timing (they do not wait for man), so God will refresh the nations in His own timing, apart from man’s doings.