Micah 5:2 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.
This is one of the most remarkable prophecies in the Bible. The prophet not only foresaw the place of Messiah’s birth, but also his preexistence—as one from ancient times. Christ was born in Bethlehem, but there was never a time he did not exist.
Jesus spoke of his preexistence on many occasions. For I have come down from heaven . . . to do the will of him who sent me (John 6:38). [W]hat if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! (John 6:62). [B]efore Abraham was born, I am! (John 8:58). I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father (John 16:28). And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began (John 17:5).
It may have been through the prophet Micah, in fact, that Jesus became aware of his eternality. We can imagine him as a boy, sitting in the synagogue, as this passage was read. Hearing the words, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times, Jesus perceived his preexistence. If that is how it happened, Jesus got a lot out of the service that day!
Micah 6:6-7 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
God’s people may have felt that God was hard to please. In light of his many commands, and their many failures, this is understandable. Even some Christians have come to the same conclusion. But Micah wanted people to know that God is not hard to please.
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah condensed the many commands of the Old Testament into just three: To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. That is what God was looking for, and it was not terribly difficult. If we think of God as hard to please, we may stop trying to please him. But if we think of God as easy to please, we’ll try to please him even more.
We should think of God as a gracious heavenly Father who is pleased with every good thing we do: every good word, every good thought, and every good deed.
But while he is easy to please, God is not easy to satisfy. Like a good parent, God is always looking for improvement. We can think of him saying, Well done! And I know you can do even better tomorrow! We can serve God with joy because he always wants the best for us.
Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Sin is so destructive that it can separate us from God forever (Matthew 25:46). And sin is so evil that it required nothing less than the death of Christ to pay for it (1 Peter 1:18-19). But since he paid for all our sins on the cross, Christ will hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Imagine God forging every one of your sins into an iron ball, winding up like a major league pitcher, and hurling them into the depths of the sea. With a splash they hit the water and sink to the bottom, never to be brought up. This is what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Reflection and Review
How did Jesus exist before he was born?
Why can God seem hard to please?
Why does God want us to know that we are forgiven?