Sermon #18 Micah Series
Title: Christ our Prince,
Priest, Provider, and Protector
Text: Micah 5:1-4
Subject: Promised Blessings of Grace
Date: Tuesday Evening — February 21, 2012
Tape: Micah #19
Readings: David Burge and Merle Hart
Open your Bibles to the 5th chapter of Micah. The more I study this passage, the bigger and richer it gets. This is a chapter full of promised blessings of grace to be bestowed upon God’s elect in Christ Jesus. The title of my message is — Christ our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector. My text will be Micah 5:1-4. — Christ our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector.
Micah spoke for God as his prophet in a dark, dark day. God sent his prophet to declare his mind and will to his covenant people Israel, and to declare indignation against all who opposed Zion and her God. Error, heresy, and idolatry were rampant on every side. The worship of God was perverted. The truth of God had fallen in the streets, and his glorious sovereignty was hated and repudiated, even by the men who should have been proclaiming it.
As it is in our day, so it was in Micah’s day. With impudent hypocrisy, multitudes professed to be worshippers and followers of Jehovah, who were nothing but crass idolaters and followers of witchcraft and superstition. Prophets and priests alike, men who should have been God’s mouth to his people, were self-serving and deceitful men (Jeremiah 5:30-31).
(Jeremiah 5:30-31) “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love [to have it] so.”
When I look around me today, I find the same sad state of affairs. But even in such dark, dark days, God always has a Micah to stand forth in his name and a Jeremiah to proclaim his Word. God never leaves himself without a witness; and his witnesses are faithful men (Isaiah 52:7-8).
(Isaiah 52:7-8) “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”
In this chapter God’s people are repeatedly described as a remnant (vv. 3, 7, 8): — “The remnant of Jacob!” What is a remnant? A remnant is what is left over. A remnant is that which is useless, despised, and thrown away. A remnant is the last piece of cloth on a bolt, or roll. If it is not thrown away, it is always sold at a discount because it not worth much. That is a pretty good description of you and me. God’s elect are looked upon as below the mark, not fit for society, as narrow, crude, crotchety, peculiar? Because of this they are a nuisance and aggravation to all.
It was true in Micah’s time and it is true today, that the Church and people of the living God are a poor, needy remnant, a remnant scattered among the nations.
Micah tells us that we are God’s remnant. Particularly and distinctly he tells us that we are God’s remnant in Christ’s hands, under Christ’s care, given to Christ, our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector (Micah 5:4).
(Micah 5:4) “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”
Proposition: How blessed it is to contemplate and feast our souls upon the rich manifestations of the love, mercy, and grace of God in Christ, and to see in the midst of surrounding gloom him who is the Stay and Support, the Portion and Inheritance of his people in all times of danger and distress, dreariness and dissatisfaction! — Thus, God the Holy Spirit inspired Micah to turn the eyes of his people away from the darkness and gloom to Christ our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector.
The chapter begins, “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us.” — This refers historically to the Chaldeans who gathered in battle against Zedekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I am sure it also refers to the Romans under Titus Vespasian who finally destroyed Jerusalem and Israel.
But this is much more than prophetic history! Experimentally, as we experience God’s Word and the grace of God in his mighty, saving operations upon us and in us, these troops are all the troops hell has at its beck and call against the God’s elect. Who can count the number of these hellish troops? Sins and lusts, temptations and corruptions, passions and tempers, evil thoughts and horrid imaginations, blasphemies and adulteries, anger and wrath, envy and murder, every uncleanness and every wild beast of wickedness! Yet, blessed be God, the Captain of our salvation, the Leader and Commander of the elect remnant, is more than a match for them all, and in him we are more than conquerors, shouting “Victory, victory through the blood of the Lamb! Victory, victory through grace!”
“They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.” — Historically, we may see Zedekiah in this; but spiritually, experimentally, and prophetically these words are intended to point us to Christ our Savior. In him Micah’s words were fulfilled literally: “They smote him with the reed.” I realize that I am repeating myself; but as I said when I began, “The more I study this passage, the bigger it gets.” Besides, I can think of nothing better than to point you again to him who loved us and gave himself for us. — Behold him, now, as the Judge, the Discriminator of Israel, smitten. I like that word “Judge” when it refers to our blessed Savior. Listen…
(Psalms 68:5) “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.”
Here God our Savior is said to be a Judge, not a Husband, of the widow. Without question, he is the Husband of his poor widowed people. But he is the Judge. The precious Christ, the Judge of Israel, the Judge of the widow, knew what it was to be deserted and in solitude to cry, “My heart within me is desolate.” Because of that which he learned in the school of human suffering, he is able fully to discriminate and to supply all the necessities of his suffering people.
“When gathering clouds around I view,
When days are dark and friends are few,
On Him I lean Who, not in vain,
Experienced every human pain;
He knows my griefs, allays my fears.
And counts and treasures up my tears!”
He is the Judge, and concerning him we have this glorious and indisputable prophecy (v. 2).
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
He was set up in the covenant as the Substitute, Surety, Safeguard, and Security of all those whom the love of his heart determined to shelter and to save.
Now watch this…
(Micah 5:3) “Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”
There is, without question, a prophecy here of the marvellous incarnation of the Son of God. Yet, I am certain that in this third verse there is also a reference to the spiritual birth all God’s elect experience in time, when Divine life is implanted in us and imparted to us by the Spirit of God and the resurrection-power of our Lord Jesus Christ is experienced in the soul. — “Then shall the remnant of his brethren return unto the children of Israel.” — Blessed be God, “to him shall the gathering of the people be.” To him all the scattered remnant shall be gathered at God’s appointed time of love.
In verse four Micah speaks of the exalted Christ, the great and glorious incarnate God, who having obtained eternal redemption for us with his own blood sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high!
(Micah 5:4) “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”
Because he stands “in the majesty of his God they” (all his people, all that elect remnant that comes to him) “they shall abide!” The scattered ones who are gathered shall, not may, shall abide. Then comes the glorious climax of this precious prophecy concerning Zion’s King and Lord, “for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” In these words we have a glorious description of him whose goings forth have been from everlasting and shall be to everlasting in the salvation, glorification, and blessedness of his people.
“And he shall stand!” — The crucified, risen Christ stands in heaven as our exalted Prince, the Judge and Ruler of Zion. When he was set up as our Head and Representative in the covenant of grace, all heaven was filled with praise. But one looked on with jealous and malignant eyes. That old serpent, the devil, hated the Christ of God and led the rebellious hosts against him. He rushed madly against the Lord’s Anointed, bent on his destruction. — “O Lucifer, son of the morning, how art thou fallen from heaven, for thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the North; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High; yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” — Yes, be assured, my friends, that Satan and all who oppose God’s Christ shall be brought down to hell, brought down to the sides of the pit.
But it is our blessed privilege to turn away from this dark picture, and, in grateful adoration, contemplate the glory and the grace of him who is ever the ineffable delight of his Father and the object of his people’s love, joy, and praise. It is God’s Christ that I love to dwell upon.
· Look at him in the days of his youth here upon earth. He dwelt in seclusion, and sought neither the world’s eye nor favor.
· Throughout his whole life he manifested the sole desire of his heart, the glorification of the Father in the salvation of his Church, without a single deviation or divergence.
· Behold the intensity of his desire to meet the hosts of hell, to encounter the rage of Satan, to court damnation, that his people might be delivered from all its pains and penalties, from the guilt and power of sin, and live in the loving embrace of Jehovah forever.
· He sought the mournful shades of Gethsemane, and learned there how to truly sympathize with his tried and tempted ones.
His favored three accompany him, and their wondering ears are startled with the plaintive wail of their Lord’s dejection: — “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” He walked about a stone’s cast from them, seeking the face and smile of his Father, but all is dark. In utter amazement he cries, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (Mark 14:36). But the bitter cup must be drunk to the dregs.
In disappointment, distress, desertion, his sinless soul experienced intense dissatisfaction. Oh, who can sound the deep mysteries of his substitutionary and sufferings? All the disappointments, distresses, and sufferings of his people were experienced by him at one time! Our most glorious Christ confessed that he was “a worm and no man.” For us, he endured the hidings of his Father’s face, and endured a horror of great darkness of which the even damned in hell are ignorant. Yet, he went on, determined to suffer all the fury of the wrath of God for us!
The “Brother born for adversity” was driven to be mocked, beaten, spit upon, and insulted by the rabble, and finally to Golgotha he was hurried to bear our sins in his on body on the tree, to experience the curse of God and the wrath of God, and thus set his loved ones free from the curse of the law. Yes, Christ was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He was made a curse for us, that we might be blessed. Behold heaven’s Darling, Jehovah’s Delight, the sinner’s Friend, groaning, bleeding, dying, to bring us into the rich experimental possession of his own eternal life.
Three days after the desertion, darkness, and death of Calvary, he was on resurrection-ground, and all the sins of his people gone, destroyed, Satan thwarted, God glorified, and Zion saved. We cannot dwell too much or too long upon these glorious realities. — “He showed himself alive by many infallible proofs,” and then ascended up on high, as it is so beautifully described in that resurrection and ascension Psalm 68.
Now, having accomplished the salvation of his people, having defeated the devil on his own territory, and having fully glorified the Father; having entered into the Holiest of all to plead for and represent his brethren and take possession of their inheritance for them, we see the glorious fulfillment of this ancient prophecy. — “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.”
The heathen may rage, and the people imagine a vain thing, Satan may roar and vent his rage, and the very disciples themselves may stand in doubt of him, yet in resurrection-power and glory, his days are prolonged forever and the pleasure of the Lord prospers in his hand! Yes, at his death his disciples forsook him, and after his resurrection they disbelieved him. — “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered” (Luke 24:41). — Marvellous mystery! There he stands as our all-prevailing Advocate and High Priest!
In his resurrection-power, in his ascension-glory, and in his indisputable session at God’s right hand, he stands! Divine decrees remain irrevocable! Divine prophecies are fulfilled! Divine promises are performed! — “He shall stand!” This concerns not the posture of his person, but the permanence of his place. What Divine, unerring certainty we have here. There is no fear of failure in any one of Jehovah’s plans or purposes. — “He shall stand,” not fall, stand, and never waver.
The Lord Jesus, our crucified Christ stands, as our Prince, ruling all things for us. He stands forever as our Priest, making intercession for us! And he stands as our Provider, as our Shepherd to provide for and feed his sheep. Micah refers to him under the implied character of the Shepherd of his people, and expresses his work — He shall “feed.” The term is not to be confined to his furnishing his flock with food, but is to be taken as including the discharge of the pastoral office in all its parts…
— causing them to rest,
— leading them,
— restoring them when they go astray,
— healing them when wounded or sick, and
— defending and securing them.
We are often tossed to and fro on a rough sea of doubts, fears and uncertainties, and fierce temptations threaten to beat us down, while bitter disappointments break our hearts; but our merciful and faithful Friend at court stands in all the glories of his Godhead, combined with the tender sympathies of his sacred humanity, to feed us with food convenient for us, and bless us with his love. He stands ready to save from every sorrow, and minister to the necessities of his elect and redeemed brethren who are troubled with the temptations, toils, and trials peculiar to their earthly pilgrimage.
“In every pang that rends the heart,
The Man of sorrows bears a part;
He sympathizes with the grief,
And brings the suffering saint relief.”
“When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3), the Father saying to him, “Sit Thou on My right hand until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.” His sitting fully indicates and proves the perfection of his atonement, the efficacy of his sacrifice, and the fullness of his salvation.
I would remind you of Stephen, when he was stoned, calling upon God. Oh, blessed be his holy name, every murderous stone, in the decree of our God, was a messenger of mercy to help him out of this cold world of sin and misery. — “But he being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” — Standing ready to receive his poor, persecuted, and despised one to his home and to his heart!
O troubled and tried ones, “tossed with tempest and not comforted,” whom Satan delights to worry with a malicious glee, he may taunt and insinuate that your hope is the hope of the hypocrite, that your faith is no better than his own, that your love, faint as it is, is all a delusion; still he who from the mountain-top sees your distress will run to your relief and cause you to know his grace and power in the experience of your soul. The day and the night are both alike to him. He will cause his light to shine upon you, and his secret to rest upon your tabernacle, enabling you to rejoice in the blessed fact that the days shall soon be accomplished when, — “Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting Light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended” (Isaiah 60:20).
O glorious Prince! O gracious Priest! O precious Provider! O powerful Protector! Yes, he who is God in our flesh, crucified, risen, and exalted, stands forever in heaven as…
“He stands and feeds in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.” — He receives his poor trembling ones and ministers to the necessities of all those his love has saved. This is the Christ I love! This is the Christ to whose arms I fly, and whose loving heart nestles my weary soul. — “He shall stand!”
“Past suffering now, the tender heart
Of Jesus on His Father’s throne,
In all our sorrows bears a part,
And feels them as He felt His own.”
Saul of Tarsus may run in his exceeding madness against the saints of the Most High God; but as he runs toward Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven above the brightness of the sun shone round about him, and he heard a voice speaking unto him, and saying: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Did you notice that “me?” Me in the persons of my people. The Prince, Protector, was looking to the scattered and shattered remnant in Damascus who feared the Lord and worshipped his name, protecting them, while at the same time gathering one of the chosen, redeemed remnant to himself!
This glorious Prince is ever the Protector of his own, and sooner or later they are enabled to acknowledge him in the words of the twenty-third Psalm: — “The Lord is my Shepherd.” He stands as the Shepherd of his flock, and, according to Jehovah’s “all fulness” of grace and glory in himself, he feeds and supplies every need. In all the glory of his Godhead he stands and feeds his own with untold satisfaction from his glorious attributes which are all engaged, and blessedly harmonize in their salvation, preservation, nourishment, and glorification.
What can withstand him? Hell, devils, deaths, sin, all fly before him as he declares his immutable will: — “My people shall be satisfied with my goodness.”
In all the perfections of his Manhood he stands and feeds his poor weak flock with all that he has done for them, and with all that he is to them. He stands in the power of his essential righteousness, and in the perfection of his accomplished righteousness, and feeds us with the blessed knowledge and understanding of our standing in the presence of infinite excellency arrayed in garments of glory and beauty. Yes, he shall stand on the ground of his eternal redemption, on the ground of his finished salvation, on the ground of his perfect and spotless obedience, on the ground of his unwavering faithfulness, on the ground of his unchangeable, everlasting love, and shall feed in the strength of the Lord, and in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
If you consult the margin of your Bibles you will find this word “feed” rendered “rule.” He shall feed, and he shall rule. — “He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” What a powerful, potent, and princely Friend this proves our Lord Jesus to be! He watches over, provides for, protects, and rules his flock. By night, when birds, and beasts, and reptiles of prey would assail and devour, our Shepherd-King’s ever-watchful eye is over us for good. Temptation and desertion may be experienced, but he watches and he protects.
“When the foe desired to have me,
Jesus said, ‘This sheep is Mine!’
He resigned His life to save me:
Jesus, what a love is Thine!
All resistless is its force,
Nothing can withstand its course.”
To the green, fair fields of gospel truth he gently leads.
But it may be to some of his own a time of dearth and famine. If so…(Psalms 33:18-19)…
(Psalm 33:18-19) “Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.”
As assuredly as he stands, and is ever the same, so assuredly shall he provide food convenient for us. He says, “My people shall be satisfied with my goodness.” Satisfaction can be had alone in him. — “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” (Jeremiah 31:14; Psalm 17:15)
Do you remember how Paul prayed for the Ephesians saints? — “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). For what does he pray? — “That ye may know!” It was the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ Jesus that cheered Job and gave him sweet encouragement in the midst of all his tribulations.
— “I know that I shall be justified” (Job 13:18).
— “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25).
— “I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Job 42:2).
It is a blessed thing, even with Job’s afflictions, to possess such knowledge. Jehovah-Jesus is amongst, in the midst of, his scattered flock, and sweetly whispers to them, “I am among you as he that serveth.” He gives to us his own flesh and his own blood to be spiritually eaten and drunk in our hearts by faith, and by this alone we are strengthened, comforted, and supported with grace sufficient for our souls.
Christ is not only my Shepherd, he is my Ruler, my Governor, my King! He whom we hold by the feet and worship.
“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!’
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him Lord of all.”
(1 Peter 3:22) “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
He reigns! He rules! — “He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.” As the Representative, Head, and Husband of his Church, Jehovah the Father has…
(Ephesians 1:20-22) “…set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church.”
When we see Christ on his throne, when our King returns to our souls and returns our souls to himself, then, like Mephibosheth, we can say of the worldling: “Let him take all,” while we look up and say to our God and Savior, “Whom have I in heaven but thee!” O glorious sight! God-wrought faith beholds him high in the heights of glory, standing, feeding, ruling in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. As a glorious Sovereign, “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords!” He rules over all in heaven, and earth, and hell. He rules over all our enemies, mortal, spiritual, and infernal; over all our doubts, fears, and perplexities. The flight of a devil and the flitting of a moth are subject to his sovereign sway.
“Keep silence all created things,
And wait your Maker’s nod;
My soul sits trembling while she sings
The honors of her God.
Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown,
Hang on His firm decree;
He sits on no precarious throne,
Nor borrows leave to be.”
JEHOVAH-JESUS reigns and rules over all things for the good of his people!
— His will is best!
— His providence is good!
— His grace is sufficient!
— He will supply all our need!
Whatever I need in this wilderness world he has bound himself by the most sacred and solemn obligations to supply. Am I poor and needy? He is JEHOVAH-JIREH. He will see to all my concerns. He puts his hand of blessing upon my head, and breathes into my heart his own sweet whisper, “Leave that to me.”
Do “fightings without fears within” distress you? His name is JEHOVAH-NISSI, the Lord my Banner. JEHOVAH-SHALOM is the Lord my Peace. All that Zion can need, Jehovah will and must be to her.
What is the sure and certain result of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector? — “And they shall abide.” O glorious security! Not one shall perish. None can pluck the weakest from his loved embrace. Not all the hosts of hell and earth combined shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Zion stands by hills surrounded,
Zion, kept by power Divine,
All her foes shall be confounded,
Though the world in arms combine;
What a favored lot is thine!
Every human tie may perish,
Friend to friend unfaithful prove,
Mothers cease their own to cherish,
Heaven and earth at last remove,
But no changes
Can attend Jehovah’s love.”
“Zion’s Friend in nothing alters,
Though all others may and do,
His is love that never falters,
Always to its object true:
Crowned with mercies ever new.
In the furnace God may prove thee,
Thence to bring thee forth more bright,
But can never cease to love thee,
Thou art precious in His sight,
God is with thee,
God thine everlasting Light.”
Yes! It is gloriously true: “He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God, and they shall abide” on his loving heart, in his affectionate embrace, on his glorious throne, amidst the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds. — “They shall abide,” members of his body, never to be severed from him whom they love because he first loved them. — “They shall abide” as the bride of his heart never to be divorced by him, never allowed to leave him, and ever indulged with the sweet kisses of his mouth.
What is the sure and certain result of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector? — “For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” As he was great in his condescension, great in his humiliation, and great in his obedience, he is great in his mercy, great in his salvation, great in his resurrection-power, great in his ascension-glories, and great in his triumphs of love over the rebellious hearts of his elect, redeemed, and regenerate people.
He is great indeed! The Man of sorrows is now the King of glory. He who made himself of no reputation, and became the least in his Father’s house, is now the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. He who was despised and rejected of men has become great in the affections of his saved ones. — “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3). — “Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty: just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.” (Revelation 15:3)
He is our great Prophet, having taught us great necessities with great supplies; great miseries with great mercies; great sins and his own great salvation.
He is our great High Priest, having wrought out for us a righteousness great and glorious; a great and gracious deliverance. He is now pleading the greatness of his sufferings, sorrows, and salvation, thus securing great blessings to his tried and tempted ones whom he is bringing to behold his great glory.
He is our great and glorious King! Shortly, he will show whose right it is to reign, when his ransomed and glorified people surround his throne with a flood of eternal praise, “HALLELUJAH! FOR THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH!” Christ is our Prince, our Priest, our Provider, our Protector. This Man, this great Man, this great God-man, “And this man shall be the peace” (v. 5). — “Thus shall he deliver us” (v. 6).
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