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Dec 23, 2012

2012.12.30 16:10

소풍 조회 수:2598

【본문】미가 5:2~5

【제목】이 사람은 평강이 것이라  “He will be their peace.”

1.

 

There were a couple of big events last week. The big happening was that the world did not end last Friday. The other was a president election in Korea, last Wednesday. The conservative candidate, Park Geun-Hye has won a president election by 51.60% whether some people have supported or opposed her. A person who believes a theory of divination based on topography (Fung-Shui )said that a house where the former president Park JungHee was born was located near Mt.Geumo in GuMi City, and Mt. Geumo is a place where a king is born… Therefore, she was destined to be a president. In Korea, many people even though they go to a church consult a fortune teller in the beginning of year. They think that their fates, TojongBigyeal(an old form of fortune telling),and Fung-Shui (Chinese geomantic principles) are hardly ignored.  On the other hand, some people said they never believe TojongBigyel or Feng-Shui but they consult a person who has a gift of prophecy because that person is praying a lot, or having a vision or a sign in a dream, and this person can predict correctly their future.

 

In my opinion, consulting a fortune teller is similar to seeking this kind of person in a church… This situation is caused by a misunderstanding. The prophecy in bible has been misunderstood as a divination or a fortune telling. As a result, some people think that a pastor is the same as a Christian psychic…

The reason why I am telling you about this is because of Micah, Chapter 5 Verse 2, “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”.  With a quick glimpse, the prophecy Micah told us (Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem) is the same as the Fung-Shui (A king was born near Mt. Geumo ). However, this prophecy in Bible is totally different from Fung-Shui. Today, we are going to think what Micah really wanted tell us about the prophecy: Jesus was born in Bethlehem. 

2.

Micah 1:1 says: The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah--the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Only when you describe Moresheth as a small rural village located 35km southwest from Jerusalem, people would then realize where it is. So as you can see, Moresheth is not a well-known city. But why does the Bible bother mentioning this not very well-known city? This is because the fact that Micah is of Moresheth is significantly associated with the Micah’s message…Micah 2:1-2 says: Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning's light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance. Micah is criticizing the society at the time and pointing out its injustice and negativity.

 

Micah 3:2-3 says: you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; who eat my people's flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot? This is Micah describing the society at the time. So what happened to cause this kind of situation? Micah 1:5 says: All this is because of Jacob's transgression, because of the sins of the house of Israel. What is Jacob's transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah's high place? Is it not Jerusalem? Especially, the chapters 1 to 3 mention Jerusalem and Samaria many times. Verse 1:1 mentions “Samaria and Jerusalem.” Verse 1:6 says “I will make Samaria a heap of rubble.” Verse 1:9 says: For her wound is incurable; it has come to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself. Verse 1:12 says “Those who live Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD even to the gate of Jerusalem.” Verse 3:10 says: who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Verse 3:12 says: Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets. Micah is declaring destruction towards the city of Samaria and Jerusalem. This is because Micah thought the problem of the Israel arose because of those two cities. The reason that Micah is mentioning he is from of rural agricultural Moresheth origin is to show the characteristics of his prophecy towards Samaria and Jerusalem.

 

3.

 

Just as soon as the proclamation in regards to the end of Jerusalem and Samaria is over, words about healing and salvation begin from chapter 4. Today’s scripture, Micah 5:2 says, “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.”

 

The ruler of Israel will be born in the small town of Bethlehem but his origins go further back, to the beginning of the world, just as John 1:1 says, “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” In other words, the ruler of Israel is not only a ruler of the human world, but of the entire universe.

 

And yet, ironically, such a great ruler will be born in the smallest town among the clans of Judah – in Bethlehem. The word ‘small’ here does not mean small in terms of size but in terms of significance. Why would such a great ruler be born in such an insignificant, shabby, little town of Bethlehem? Although Micah here is emphasizing the fact that Jesus would be born specifically in Bethlehem, he is more focused on the fact that Jesus will be brought into the world outside of Jerusalem. At the time, the people of Judah believed Jerusalem to be holy because of what was said in the David’s promise in Samuel II 7:16, “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.” People believed this to mean that both David’s lineage and those whom he had selected in Jerusalem, would be protected forever. Thus, naming the castle of Jerusalem as the castle of Zion and sanctifying it. However, Micah here is proclaiming something against the conventional belief. Micah chapter 3 verse 12 says, “Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” Micah is projecting that, due to the sins of the people of southern Judah, God will destroy both Jerusalem and the castle.

 

4.

 

But, what happens to the promise God made with David? People began to become suspicious – could God’s promise be broken? And this question is what Micah is addressing here. First, Micah says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah” in verse 2. This was to distinguish them from the clan of Shimron of Bethlehem. Jerusalem was a capital city built by David and Bethlehem was his hometown. But, Jerusalem had turned into a centre of corruption and vice. Hence, Micah is saying that things have to begin anew where David was born. In other words, Micah points to Bethlehem because it is a small and humble town and not the shining city that people expect the great messiah to come from. This is a purposeful critique of civilization and city culture.

 

There are a few criticisms like this in the bible. The most notable one is from Genesis chapter 4 – Cain’s genealogy. Genesis 4:16-7 says, “So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.” Cain became the foundation of the city culture when he built the city Enoch. Since then, his descendents are noted to have been the root of many related developments – Lamech’s son Yabal developed the Nordic lifestyle, Yubal developed the arts and Tubal-Cain provided the beginnings of agriculture.

 

All these people who developed all kinds of cultural developments were born as Cain’s descendents. Moreover, Cain’s 6th generation Lamech is written to have said in Genesis 4:23-24, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.  If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” Here, the word ‘wounding’ indicates a simple bruising or a light contusion. But, Lamech killed a young boy over it and proclaims that anyone that harms him will be punished 77 times more. It seems that city life had resulted in such violent and revengeful culture.

 

In contrast, there is a new story in Genesis 5. After Abel died, God gave Adam and Eve another son Seth. The name ‘Seth’ carries the meaning ‘foundation’ which, distinguished from Cain’s sinful genealogy, signals a new hope and a new beginning. Moreover, in Genesis 4:26 it says, “Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.” Enosh, meaning ‘human’, also shows that on this new foundation were now these people who called upon God’s name.

 

Micah is proclaiming as he looks upon fallen Jerusalem that it won’t be Cain’s ‘civilized’ culture full of corruption that will be chosen, but that the new beginning will start in Bethlehem with the descendents of Enosh who call upon God. Thus, Christmas and the birth of Christ mean a new beginning. The history that humans made, the history of the city and culture, can only lead to destruction. But, this doesn’t mean you should run from reality or live away from the secular society. If this world that we live in was built by Cain’s descendents and resembles the fallen Jerusalem, then as Micah says, we must return it to a new foundation. This can only be done through Christ, which is why his birth is our hope.

Beloved brothers and sisters – The blessing of Christmas is that Christ was sent to us so that we can begin anew. As God gave Seth and Enosh to the world that lived as Cain’s descendents, He sent Jesus to us so that we can live new lives. I hope that we all can start again on a new foundation through Jesus Christ.

5.

The reason Micah says it is Bethlehem and not Jerusalem is based on what is written in the book of Micah, chapter 5 verse 5: "He will be their peace" As you all know, the name ”Jerusalem" contains the meanings of "city of Salem", "capital city of peace." Jerusalem, however, has never had a day of peace in its long history. Even until now, it is the place with the most tension between Palestine and Israel, and Judaism and Islam. On the other hand, Bethlehem means "the house of bread". Micah said the true leader Kristos will be born in Bethlehem; he will bring true peace and not "Jerusalem’s peace." True peace does not build cities or stir up civilization. True peace, in fact, comes from the "house of bread" of heaven, where living bread Jesus provides his own blood and body.

The following is the prayer of St. Francis: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy; O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. I think the last passage is most important, because it represents the peace of Jesus Christ and the peace of "house of bread".

My beloved brothers and sisters, now Christmas is around the corner. So where was Jesus Christ born? Micah said that it was Bethlehem, not Jerusalem, even though the latter was a place where civilization started. It was for a brand new start and a true peace that Bethlehem was the city where Jesus Christ was born. Where is the "Bethlehem" of today? I hope you think deeply about it, so you can meet and worship him there. 

 

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