Micah 5:2

Verse of the Day Devotion: Micah 5:2

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” – Micah 5:2

The scriptures tell us where the coming Messiah will be born.  From a verse in Genesis, we know this is Bethlehem.  “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Genesis 35:19. Now, we see some interesting things regarding Bethlehem.

First, it was too little to be among the clans of Judah.  Here is how this is explained by Albert Barnes in his commentary on the book of Micah.  “Each tribe was divided into its thousands, probably of fighting men, each thousand having its own separate head. Places too small to form a thousand by themselves were united with others, to make up the number . So lowly was Bethlehem that it was not counted among the possessions of Judah. In the division under Joshua, it was wholly omitted . From its situation, Bethlehem can never have been a considerable place.”  It was too small to be on its own, therefore it was merged with other small places in order to amass the thousand needed.

However, though it was small, a great event would happen within this town. One would come forth from there who would be the ruler in Israel, one however whose rule would never end.  This is the one who would fulfill the Father’s will and purpose from eternity.  Jesus Himself said this was His purpose.  “Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” John 4:34.

Lastly, we see that His goings forth are from long ago, from eternity.  His coming was known from before time began. His coming was known before this universe was created.  “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you  1 Peter 1:19-20.  Also, this one knew us from the foundation of the world, for because He foreknew us; those who would accept Him and follow His ways, our names were put in there from the foundations of the world.  “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” Revelation 13:8.

This was no normal child who would be born in this small town of Bethlehem, one so small it was not even considered a clan of Judah on its own.  However, from this small; at the time insignificant, town would come the greatest gift God could give us; the means of salvation by the sacrifice of this not yet born ruler of Israel. Nothing today from any town, city or metropolis, can compare to what happened in Bethlehem.  Praise God.  He let us know through the prophet Micah.  However, many of the rulers could not accept this prophecy, and thus ignored it.  What a shame, for they missed the fulfillment of the most significant and important prophecy of all time. The birth of the only begotten Son of the Father.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Genesis 49:10

Verse of the Day Devotion Genesis 49:10 

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” – Genesis 49:10   

Up to Christmas day, I will be looking at the different prophesies which foresee the coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ.  He came here in order to offer the means of salvation for all.  An important idea to remember is that God knows everything and forgets nothing.  “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10.

Our focus verse today in Genesis speaks of Jacob’s blessings to his sons prior to his death.  He starts with Reuben, Simeon, and Levi.  He does not have much to say that is good regarding these three. Regarding Reuben, “Reuben, you are my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it, he went up to my couch.” 49:3-4.  Reuben defiled himself by sleeping with Bilhah, His father’s concubine. “And it came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard of it.” Genesis 35:22.  And with Levi and Simeon, they were considered violent by Jacob. “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their council; Let not my glory be united with their assembly; Because in their anger they slew men, And in their self-will they lamed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel. ” Genesis 49:5-7.

However, now we come to Judah.  “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?”  Genesis 49:8-9.  This verse speaks of the countenance of Judah.  A high pre-eminence is destined to this tribe. Besides the honor of giving name to the Promised Land, David, and a greater than David the Messiah, sprang from him. Chief among the tribes, it grew up from a lion’s whelp, meaning with a little power, till it became  an old lion that is calm and quiet, yet still formidable.

However, the main item Jacob speaks of is in our focus verse.  “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Genesis 49:10.  Basically, the scepter will come into the tribe of Judah, which was fulfilled in David, on whose family the crown was given. The meaning of the term, ‘till Shiloh comes’ is that the scepter would continue in that tribe till the coming of the Messiah.  Shiloh, in the Hebrew, means he whose it is.  What Jacob was saying was that the scepter and the rulers staff would remain with Judah, until the true owner has come, that being Jesus, who is the true Messiah and High Priest, who will rule for all eternity. We see this idea also in the Book of Hebrews.  “But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.” Hebrews 1:8.  So, this is clear.  When the Messiah came into the world and accomplished His purpose of dying on the cross for our benefit in paying the penalty of our sins, He took back the scepter which is the scepter of ‘His kingdom’ which is forever and ever.  

At the end of Genesis, Jacob gave a blessing to all his sons.  With some it included some negativity as with Reuben, Levi and Simeon, and others declaring the  goodness in them and their activities.  But with Judah, he said good things about him but then prophesies the coming of the Messiah who would rule and reign for ever and ever, without end.  And this Messiah would be born to a virgin and give the greatest gift ever given, the payment of the penalty of sin. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18.  This is the true meaning of Christmas, the coming of our redeemer.  It is important that we remember this as we celebrate this wonderful holiday.  He did for us what no one, including ourselves, could do for us.  And this is the greatest gift there is, salvation and eternal life with Jesus.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Micah 5:2

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Micah 5:2 

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” – Micah 5:2

Our next verse this Christmas season refers to the place of His birth.  First, let us look at the situation from where this prophecy comes from.  We read in verse one the following, “Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; They have laid siege against us; With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek.” Micah 5:1.  They have been besieged by another kingdom, whom many see as the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar.  This was a very difficult period for Jerusalem, for Babylon was a cruel and harsh conqueror, and the failure of Judah’s king only made this situation worse. 

Moving on to our focus verse, God, through Micah, brings about a glorious prophecy.  “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2.  First, he refers to Bethlehem Ephrathah.  There were two Bethlehem’s in Israel.  There was one in Zebulun which is not the one referred to in this verse.  “The border circled around it on the north to Hannathon, and it ended at the valley of Iphtahel. Included also were Kattah and Nahalal and Shimron and Idalah and Bethlehem; twelve cities with their villages. This was the inheritance of the sons of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.” Joshua 19:14-16.  Micah uses the name Bethlehem Ephrathah to distinguish which Bethlehem was meant, for, as we see in Genesis, there was a town named Ephrathah which also went by the name Bethlehem.  “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” Genesis 35:19. 

We know that Bethlehem is a small town, for it is stated as ‘Too little to be among the clans of Judah’.  The tribes of Israel were divided into groups called clans.  Many times, towns had enough to be a clan in themselves.  If not, they were grouped with others to produce a clan.  Bethlehem was too small to be a clan of itself, so it was combined with others to create one.  However, even though they were so small, out of them would come a king, the Messiah.  This king would be a descendent of David as shown in the psalms. “My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.” Psalm 89:33-37.  And finally, it says what He would do was set up from eternity.  Not from a period of time, but before time in eternity.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1, 14.

Moving on to verse three we read, “Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.” Micah 5:3.  He will give up the disobedient and rebellious Jews into the hands of other nations, till she who is in labor gives birth.  This is Mary who will give birth to Jesus.  And when this happens, the remainder of Christ’s brethren will return to the sons of Israel.  This refers to both families, that of Judah and of Israel.      

In closing, the Messiah was prophesied to be born in a small, somewhat unimportant city according to the Jews, call Bethlehem Ephrathah.  And this was fulfilled because, for though they were living in Nazareth in Galilee, Caesar Augustus declared a census of everyone under his rule, which required them to register in Bethlehem since Joseph was of the lineage of David.  This definitely was the work of God who knows the end from the beginning.  And He assured His people that their strife and misery would end because the one to be born was the Christ.  It is amazing when we look back how God uses everything to fulfill His purposes.  And we must remember that He is doing the same today.  So, take heart.  All will happen as He says, and He cannot be thwarted.     

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.