Where are You?
“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.”
Micah 5:2 NIV
Micah: the 8th century B.C. prophet’s name means, “Who is like the Lord?”. Micah’s Old Testament letter to Israel answers that question. On one hand, God is holy and mountains melt and valleys split in His presence (Micah 1:2-4). Because Israel disobeyed God, (Micah 3:1-7), Micah predicts the destruction of Jerusalem (Micah 3:12) which happened in 586 BC.
On the other hand, God does not abandon Israel in their disobedience; instead, he pursues them. He is essentially asking Israel the question, “Where are you?” God does this because He is the God of love (see 1 John 4:8); this is what God does!
We see this with Adam and Eve. God asked them: “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). He also did this with Elijah when He asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9). Even Jesus teaches us this principle in the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin (Luke 15:3-10). And God also pursues us. John would later write,
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19 NIV
God lovingly pursues us and we, in turn, respond in gratitude and love Him.
Micah teaches us that, yes, God is holy, but He is also merciful! Throughout Micah’s prediction of judgment, he also provides hope and describes God’s pursuit of them. He reminds Israel that God is greater than our mistakes, our failures, and our sin. He is the God who knows us and longs to be known by us.
Micah tells Israel…
Though they have sinned, God would lovingly gather a remnant and lead them as their King (Micah 2:12-13).
God will bring justice and establish peace (Micah 4:2-3).
Micah reminds Israel that their Savior would come and even predicts with incredible accuracy his birthplace about 8 centuries before it happened (Micah 5:2).
So, in Micah, we see the elements of the Gospel.
God loves us
We have sinned
God pursues us
God provides a Savior
We respond to God’s love in faith and gratitude
In reading Micah’s letter, Israel must have felt convicted but also hopeful. Who is this God who is both holy and merciful at the same time? Like a loving parent, He provides consequences but doesn’t abandon us. He rescues us and invites us back into what we were created for: a relationship with Him. A relationship in which we come to know Him more and more; a relationship in which we are fully known by the God of the universe.
This Christmas season let’s pause and remember that God is asking us the same question; the question that the God of love always asks, “Where are you?”. Are you hurting? Are you lonely? Are you desperate? Maybe you are joyful and fulfilled; God wants to know that, too! God is always pursuing us, whether in a mansion or in a manger. He is the God who desires to reveal Himself to you, to know you, and be fully known. Where are you?
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”
Luke 2:1-5 NIV