By Pressmaster

If you’ve ever been asked to read from Micah 5 at a Christmas service, you’ll know that the word ‘Ephrathah’ is very hard to pronounce, and that no one seems to know what it means.

Like the Isaiah 7 verse about the virgin giving birth, often that’s the only verse that people remember, and the original context gets lost.

It may help to know that Micah was contemporary with Isaiah, prophesying during the reign of King Ahaz and his successor, Hezekiah.

Most of Micah is about the coming judgement on Judah and Israel because of their persistent social injustice.

But here there is a sign of hope. Assyria, the evil superpower, would make an end of the nation of Israel in 722BC (v1), but Judah would be given a second chance.

A ruler, descended from David (and therefore his hometown of Bethlehem), would lead Judah well (vv2–3).

Someone must protect Judah from the Assyrian invasion (vv5–6). Hezekiah, a far more godly king than Ahaz, was the initial fulfilment of the prophecy.

He successfully saw off Sennacherib, King of Assyria, when Jerusalem was attacked (2 Chr. 32:1–23). Even today, we need rulers who bring peace and stability to this world.

If we’ve never lived through war or invasion of our country, we should know that is a rare privilege.

There will always be tyrants and warmongers, and all we can do is pray they will be thwarted – and of course that our own nation isn’t one of the world’s tyrants.

If we’re a nation at peace, we also have a duty to care for refugees and those affected by war. We can speak up for them politically and help them practically.


A Prayer To Make:
‘God of peace and justice, we ask that You would make us peacemakers. We boldly ask for an end to war, and for leaders who can give us stability. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
If you’re able, donate your money to a refugee charity, give clothing to someone in need or write to your MP about better housing for refugees. Pray for world peace.

Scripture To Consider:
Lev. 26:3–17; 2 Chr. 32:1–23; Matt. 5:9–12; Heb. 13:1–3

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.