Micah makes it clear that Jerusalem would have her days of sorrow. She would suffer captivity, 3. 12, and her king would be shamefully insulted, 5. 1. Days of restored glory would come, but the question was how? Micah reveals that the future blessing of that city and the future joy of the daughters of Zion would all depend on the ‘child of Bethlehem’.
By Micah’s time, Bethlehem, though but a small, rural village, was rich in history. Its significance far outstripped its size. There, Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest son, had been born. In the fields of Bethlehem the redemption story of Boaz and Ruth had been enacted. In the same vicinity David, the son of Jesse, had been born. But Bethlehem’s greatest day was still to come. Bethlehem’s greatest birth was still to happen. Now it was predicted, seven centuries before the event. The person involved was none other than the eternal Son of God. Here, we are taken beyond the bounds of time in those far reaching words ‘whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting’. Clever minds have wrestled with alternative translations of these words but, however they are construed, it is impossible to remove all reference to eternity.
Now the picture begins to fill in its details. The One who is eternally divine will have His dwelling among men, located in such humble circumstances. He will touch time at the right moment and will touch earth at this small place. But that will not be the end of the story. There is destiny here as well as history. There is humanity as well as deity. There is eternity as well as time. The lowly One of Ephratah is the lofty One of eternity. The rejected One of Bethlehem’s manger will ultimately be the ruling One of Israel’s hosts.
From Bethlehem He will come, says Jehovah, ‘forth unto me’. To Bethlehem He came ‘for us’; from Bethlehem He came ‘for Jehovah’. His destiny is declared as ‘ruler in Israel’. In a restored and re-united Israel He will be the Ruling One. By virtue of His deity, His eternity, His humanity, His ancestry and His ability, He will exercise His authority in Israel to the blessing of the four corners of the millennial earth.