What is our comfort when we are humiliated? In verse 1, Micah mentions an occasion when a ruler of Israel is treated with contempt by being hit on the face by a conqueror. The prophet does not say when this would happen, but he does say what the people should do when it would happen. They should look ahead to the coming of a King who would not be defeated in such a manner.
Micah mentions the place where this future King would be born (Bethlehem, and we can read in Matthew 2 about how Herod regarded this accurate prediction). Such a prediction shows the amazing accuracy of God’s Word. Yet the verse says even more amazing details because the prophet states about the future King that, although he would come from Bethlehem, his birth would not be the beginning of his existence. In fact, he would not have a beginning because he is eternal.
When he comes, he will bring together the divided people of Israel, a prediction that the Messiah would make his people into one body or one family (v. 3). He will do so by functioning as a shepherd, gathering and protecting them. Because of his almighty strength, he will provide them with security and peace wherever they are in the world (vv. 4-5).
We can imagine Micah’s listeners saying, ‘Such a prediction sounds wonderful. But we want to deal with imminent threat from the Assyrian empire and we believe we have the leaders to deal with the threat. We are sure, too, that the Messiah will come and help them’ (v. 6). Their response looks like a wrong reaction to the prophet’s message, given that God had already said they would go into exile because of their sins. In any case, how could the Messiah come to their aid when he had not yet been born?
Unlike the people of Micah’s time, we can expect the King, Jesus, to defend and advance his cause. But since his aim will be to unite his people, as Micah indicated, it is within the environment of unity and harmony that we can expect his peace and enjoy his protection.