The Unusual Way of God

Pastor Jonathan is preaching on the book of Micah today so I would like to bring a word of exhortation to you from Micah.  The passage that I want to look at is Micah 5.  The context, which Jonathan will expand on is that Israel and Judah are being found guilty of many sins.  In essence the people have rejected God and the relationship is broken.  God’s plan with these people is to bring an enemy nation in and break up the people so as to get their attention.  And with a remnant, that is a small group of survivors, God will bless them and be with them as they repent and trust in Him.  Micah 4:10 sums up God’s plan “Writhe and groan O daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you shall go out from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued; there the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.”

The stage is set for a rescue mission.  The remnant people will be small in number, small in stature. From the looks of it, there is no way this remnant will be able to make anything happen in and of themselves.

So how is this rescue mission going to work?  Micah 5 says that there will be a ruler that will rise up to rescue exiled people.  A ruler that has no origins, which means this will be a special ruler that is not like a normal human. 

The ruler will be a shepherd that gathers and protects those whom he calls. This ruler will bring peace to his people and those who are exiled will find refuge.  They will find safety with this ruler.

Jesus fulfilled all of this.  Micah was written 700 years before Jesus was born and Jesus’ birth was spot on.

What can we learn from this?  Our God does things differently from what we might think. He does not operate like we do as self-serving people.  See, our main problem is that our hearts reject God and we want our names to be praised and we want glory and honor.  We think that “winning” means accumulating power and control and fame and wealth.  God doesn’t work that way. God sends Jesus from Bethlehem. Jesus grows up a carpenter’s son. Jesus grows up in a simple, low-income community.  Jesus blesses the masses but gives himself to a few fishermen to disciple. Jesus rides into town on a donkey.  Jesus doesn’t fight with an army, Jesus wins by dying on a cross.

How do we live?  Do we have a heart that says, “Honor is not found in being rich and famous, but in serving others.”  “Yes, I may have money and wealth since I live in America, but that doesn’t define me as a person.” “Instead of being served, I want to serve.” “Instead of craving attention and craving my name to be mentioned in the next round of promotions, I want Jesus’s name to be made known and I want to serve others for his sake.” Which is exactly how Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake.”

Where is our peace and security?  Does it come from the one who came from Bethlehem, or do we want to control our lives so that we create our own security and peace.  These people thought they needed a powerful army.  God says they needed a leader.

And when the leader came, how did the people respond? The light came in the world and the people rejected the light because they loved the darkness.

I want us to think more, as a church, of what it means to be a servant instead of wanting to make ourselves great. Maybe even start now by thinking of this morning; did we have a disposition or an attitude that truly focused on helping others or of ourselves being noticed.

Again, at this point in our service we want to confess our sins. We all fall short in all that I have mentioned. I am convicted of the various things I’ve mentioned. Let’s take a minute now and bring that to God and get it in the light.  Don’t hold back.  God is ready to help you.  Our God is full of grace and mercy and is ready to forgive if we ask him.  Let’s ask him now in our moment of silence.

Prayer of Confession

Father God, indeed we confess our sins, and you say that if we confess our sins you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins, on the basis of Jesus dying in our place.  Thank you for hearing our prayers.  In Jesus name, amen.

Assurance of Pardon

You have confessed your sins. You have acknowledged your iniquity. Therefore, by the authority of Jesus Christ, and as a minister of his gospel, I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Congregation: Thanks be to God!