Read Micah 5:2-5a
Promise. The prophets serve as the messengers of Yahweh, bringing hope in hard times and warning of consequences when the people stray in their faithfulness. The book of Micah opens in this manner: “The word of the LORD that came to Micah . . . . which he saw.”
The prophets speak from and for the Lord and not out of their unaided opinion. They listen for God’s word, and often they see what God intends them to speak.
They are people of faith who commit themselves to discerning the word of the Lord for their generation. The time of Micah’s prophecies is uncertain, but God’s people need to hope and to trust in God’s promise that a descendant of David will once again lead Israel.
Christians will immediately resonate with the words of promise in this section of Micah because they refer to Bethlehem as an insignificant, small town from which the future ruler of Israel will come to bring peace. Right away we recall the story of Jesus’ birth and interpret this event as the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy; Jesus is the Good Shepherd who feeds and protects God’s people. A people whose history included the struggles of wandering homeless through the desert, enduring war and loss of some tribes, and, possibly, the exile, would find fresh hope if they would but believe in God’s faithfulness.
It is always a challenge to believe God’s promises when circumstances are difficult and we do not yet see any fulfillment on the horizon. The prophets invite us to listen for God’s word and see in daily experience the hand of God at work in the world.
God of peace, give me a listening heart and a willingness to see and become your word made visible in the world. Amen.
Elizabeth Canham is an Episcopal priest and director of Hospites Mundi retreat and pilgrimage ministry. She is associate rector, Calvary Episcopal Church, Fletcher, North Carolina. She is the author of Finding Your Voice in the Psalms and Heart Whispers: Benedictine Wisdom for Today.
Excerpt from page 361 of The Upper Room Disciplines 2015: A Book of Daily Devotions. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.
The Upper Room Disciplines is an award-winning devotional book published annually by Upper Room Books. Fifty-three writers from diverse Christian and cultural backgrounds contribute to this yearlong guide of daily devotionals. They provide insightful reflections on scripture and offer suggestions for applying biblical truths to daily life.