Justice+Mercy: Week Three Study Guide

In week three of our study through the Book of Micah, we’ll dive into the promise of the coming King and Savior who would restore God’s people, deliver them, and lead them. Watch as Pastor Reuben Ramsaran and Shara Carara discuss these key themes and invite us into the conversation!

 

TALK IT OUT

Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to reflect on and questions to discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week.

Memory Verse of the Week: Micah 5:1–4 (NIV) 

Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod. ‘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.’ Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.”

READ: Micah 5:1–4 and Luke 2:1–15

Getting the Conversation Going: In the story of salvation, there are several key settings that carry great significance:

  • The Garden of Eden, where sin entered the world but the promise of salvation was declared
  • Mount Moriah, where God revealed a shadow of the gospel through Abraham and Isaac
  • Egypt, where God delivered His people and again rehearsed the redemption of humanity through the Passover
  • Mount Zion, the site representative of God’s covenant with David and the coming kingdom

And then there’s Bethlehem, the city of David, the setting unveiled in today’s study! Here, Micah refers to Bethlehem as “small” (insignificant) among the thousands of Judah, yet declared it would be the destination for the most significant moment in the history of the universe—the moment the long-awaited Messiah would arrive on the scene!

Icebreaker: Every great story has a great setting—Narnia, Gotham City, Paris and London, Middle Earth. What’s your favorite movie, TV show, or book setting? What makes it so special?

Why Bethlehem?: Throughout the first four chapters of Micah, the prophet goes back and forth between declaring the coming judgment and consequences that would befall Israel and Judah for the sins, idolatry, wickedness, injustice, and oppression their leaders, priests, and people embraced and walked in for years, and the redemption and deliverance of His people. But here, in Micah 5, the tone shifts to what Micah had only briefly touched upon and what his contemporary Isaiah had prophesied about—the coming of the Messiah King. And what is said about Him?

  • His “origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
  • He will “stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.”
  • His “greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.”

Seems strange, doesn’t it? That the One who is described this way would come from such an insignificant, small place? Wouldn’t it make more sense for our King to come out of Jerusalem or some great military site to rally His forces against those who would try to lay siege (Micah 5:1) against His people? Maybe to us, but not to God. Instead, God chose the humblest of cities to fulfill His promise and save His people. Why? Because He wasn’t coming to conquer. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).

It should come as no surprise that God chose Bethlehem to make His entrance into the world amidst the sounds of livestock and rustling hay instead of with loud trumpets, harps, and cymbals. Because God accomplishes great things under humble conditions in order to show us His mighty power and to give us an example of the attitude we ourselves should demonstrate (Philippians 2:5–8). 

Discussion Question 1: What does the setting of Bethlehem tell us about our own testimonies and backstories and the manner in which we are to live and walk as believers?

READ: Micah 5:4, Psalm 23, and John 10:1–18

A Shepherd King: Do the words of Micah 5:4 feel familiar at all? They should! In John 10:14–15 (NIV), Jesus reveals, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Just before that He declared, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9 NIV). 

Regarding this passage in Micah 5, theologian Charles Ellicott once wrote, “He shall stand with the majesty of an assured sovereignty, uniting the dignity of a king with the tenderness of a shepherd’s care—a thought which . . . becomes a distinguishing attribute of the King Messiah.” 

So, Jesus, our Shepherd King, came to bring redemption, salvation, protection, and life for His flock; “to proclaim good news to the poor . . . to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1 NIV). He came to give rest to all who are weary and burdened. Why? Because He is “gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29 NIV). If you’re a believer, you’re part of that flock that will live securely in the Messiah’s greatness that will reach to the ends of the earth!

Discussion Question 2: Why is the Messiah compared to a shepherd? What does this tell us about His character and nature?

READ: Micah 5:5–15

Corrected, Not Abandoned: The Book of Micah is, in many ways, a book of correction. But a wonderful thread is woven throughout this correction: the prevailing promise of God to preserve a remnant of His people and to eventually restore and redeem them. That’s what we have at this point in Micah’s prophecy. Yes, there would be correction. The unjust would face judgment—lands, limbs, and even lives would be lost. However, the season of discipline wouldn’t end in total destruction. At the end of the day, a remnant of Jacob would not only prevail, but flourish and thrive as a result of God’s supernatural favor.

So, what does this teach us? God doesn’t abandon us in His correction of us. Just like Jacob’s descendants, we all require the discipline of our heavenly Father. It’s inevitable because we aren’t perfect and because the Father loves us with a perfect love. In fact, the corrective work of God in our lives is actually proof that we’re His children (Hebrews 12:6). And it’s just as true that He will never abandon us despite the discipline.

Whether you’re in a season of correction or about to enter one, hold onto the promise that the One who lovingly chastens you is also the One who promises to never leave or forsake you! “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV). And you can look forward with hope and expectation knowing that one day our God will personally right every wrong, wipe away every tear, and restore all things! We can be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

Discussion Question 3: Why is it necessary that God “disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child” (Hebrews 12:6 NLT)?

Discussion Question 4: How have you seen God’s faithfulness in your life this year?

This Week: Are you walking through something difficult today? Read Psalm 23 and John 10, and then bring it before the Good Shepherd. Feel confident and secure that He has you in His pasture and will continue to care for you!

A LOOK AHEAD

In our next study, we’ll dive into a discussion of Micah 6:1–8.

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.