v 2. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.
Micah’s prophecies, probably written around 700 BC, are full of dire predictions regarding the fate of Jerusalem. It is a devastating little book and can easily be read in one sitting – if you can stomach the dreadful outpouring of future woes. But there, right in the middle of all this, we find a wonderful promise about Bethlehem’s future. No timeline is forecast, no mention of stables, wise men, or gawping shepherds, just the incredible fact that from this insignificant little village would come God’s appointed King and Representative. David and ‘Great David’s greater Son’ came from the same small community! Quite a reputation for an ordinary village.
This comes as a reminder that God is not constrained by human birthplaces, nor even by families or upbringing. This comes across clearly when David is anointed as future King by Samuel. The father, Jesse, first puts forward his son Eliab, and Samuel is impressed by his appearance. But God has a different son in mind and we read ‘Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
How easy it is to evaluate people or events by what we can see – which is only the surface. God sees deeper than that, and his purposes are perfect.