In hard times, in times of strife and in times of confusion it is refreshing to hear someone speak the truth. During Micah's prophetic work there were many things happening in Judah. Micah denounced the idolatry and immorality of his people. He lived and ranged through the country south of Jerusalem and was, like his contemporary Amos, quick to point out the oppression of the poor and the judgment that a Holy God would bring. He spoke the truth ("this is what the Lord says") during times when truth was hard to discern.
In the midst of denouncing the behavior and leadership of Judah, Micah also had an important part to play in the story of Christmas. He writes ... "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)." It was surprising because no one would expect a ruler or a leader coming from a country town like Bethlehem. It was truth because it was God's prophetic voice.
We can learn a lot from God's true voice, especially in times of uncertainty. The first thing we can learn is that God always offers hope. Hope is the first lit candle of the Advent Wreath. Traditionally the verse for this is Isaiah 9:2 ... "The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light." Hope is God sending light into our darkness. Hope is God's voice. Hope is truth when bloviation, conspiracy and disunity fill our social media and our conversation. Hope is God saying, "the place may be small and insignificant, but I don't need much to work with ... just a mustard-seed of faith!" Bethlehem, rural, filled with bakeries (thus it's name meaning "house of bread"). Bethlehem, having a regional prophet that faithfully tells the people "This is what the Lord says." Bethlehem, filled with the people from a subset of the tribe of Judah, who will send out one who will be a great hope for a hopeless people.
The second thing we can learn from Micah's prophecy is that God has it all under control. He has planned it from ancient times. He sends one who will "crush the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15)." He sends one who will "walk among us (Leviticus 26:12)" and be "Emmanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14). Our past, present and future are part of the plans of a God who has the whole world in His hands.
I wonder if God, as we enter the season of Advent, is saying to us what He said on the Mount of Transfiguration ... "This is My Son ... listen to Him!" If there is a year when we need to stop ... reflect ... and listen, this is it! As we enter Advent, we need the Jesus, who will be our God and we His people, to enter our homes, hearts and nation, and lead us from darkness to light. He is our Lord and our hope! Randy