Micah is the last of the four great eighth-century prophets. Like Isaiah, he prophesied in the southern kingdom of Judah. Like the other three eighth century prophets, Micah had a message of both judgment and hope. Unlike his contemporary, Isaiah, who spoke largely in Jerusalem, Micah was focused on the rural towns and villages of Judah. One commentator called him “The Country Preacher.” Like those in the capital city, those in the rural areas had also rejected the Lord and his commandments and would face judgment.
But Micah, like other prophets, also looked to the future and a messianic kingdom that would be ruled by a child who would, one day, be born. Micah even identifies his birthplace, Bethlehem Ephrathah (5:2). This child would be the true king of Israel (5:2), the true shepherd (5:4), and the bringer of true peace (5:5). This is the one first mentioned all the way back in Genesis 3:15! And now, almost 800 years before his birth, the prophet speaks about him! And, in Phillips Brooks wonderful old Christmas carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” at the end of the year, we sing about him. Why not rejoice in singing those words, right now, in the middle of the summer!
O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin, and enter in,
be born in us today!
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell.
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel.