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November 21, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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.”—Micah 5:3–4 (NIV)
Have you ever heard of the sandwich method of criticism, feedback, or discipline? Essentially, it starts with something positive, then a critique is given, and then it ends with more affirmation.
Now, while the Book of Micah doesn’t precisely follow this method, it does employ its principles. Throughout the work, Micah tells the people of Israel and Judah of their sins against God and the consequences He would enforce as a result. But then, he shares the great hope of what was to come.
Yesterday, we saw the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem—the One who would “be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2 NIV). Today, we’re told of a time when Israel would be abandoned until “the time when she who is in labor bears a son.” Here we get a sandwich method moment, where Micah first expressed the coming glory of the Messiah, then explains the consequences that would befall Israel before then, and wraps it up by going back to the hopeful in verse 4.
So, what it’s saying? Israel abandoned? Yes! This happened during the Babylonian captivity following the siege of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. This passage is actually a dual fulfillment prophecy, partially fulfilled in the Babylonian exile and return prior to the coming of Messiah, but ultimately fulfilled after the tribulation and restoration of Israel.
Now, what does this tell us about the Messiah? He will “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.” Charles Ellicott explains, “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.”
Do these words sound familiar? 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.” He also tells us, “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).
So, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, came to bring redemption, salvation, protection, and abundant life for His flock. 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! So, friends, whether you’re walking in seasons of trials and tribulations or seasons of prosperity, if you’re in Christ, if you’re walking with Him and following Him, then there’s no better place you can be!
Pause: Why is the Messiah compared to a shepherd? What does this tell us about Him?
Practice: 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!
Pray: Jesus, my King, my Savior, my Good Shepherd, I thank You for taking care of me, saving me, and always leading me to green pastures, still waters, and paths of righteousness. Thank You for anointing my head with oil and filling my cup even in the midst of the shadow of death and the presence of my enemies. Thank You that Your goodness and mercy follow me and for allowing me to dwell in Your house and presence forever. I praise and glorify Your name, my Shepherd! Amen.
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.