Al said when he was about 4 years old, a couple of adult relatives were visiting for a time and they used to put a dime and a nickel on the table and tell Al he could choose either one to keep. At four years old, to him, the nickel made the most sense because it was the biggest. The guys laughed at him for being such a dummy not knowing a dime is actually worth more than a nickel. This happened a couple of times, and the old guys laughed and laughed. It was at that time Al’s older brother, with all the wisdom of a six year old, took Al aside and said to him, “Just keep taking the nickel. As soon as you take the dime, they’ll quit playing the game.” Al says he made about 40¢ off of his uncles. God uses what is less and makes it more. God uses the weak to accomplish his purposes. God uses the broken to create wholeness. It’s the way of God. In God’s world, a nickel may be more valuable than a dime. The weak may have more strength than you realize. God promises peace to those that are overwhelmed.
The world had never seen a superpower like Assyria. The King of Assyria was angry with King Hezekiah of Judah because Hezekiah quit making payments to Assyria for protection. “Mobilize” God says… get ready to fight! “for a siege IS laid against us.” Jerusalem is surrounded by the well equipped Assyrian Army of at least 185,000 soldiers (In 2 Kings 19:35 that is the number of soldiers that die in the night by “the angel of the Lord,’ causing the Assyrian army to withdraw and leave Judah in peace). We know the miraculous ending of the story, but when Micah says get ready to fight, the people of Judah are facing overwhelming odds.
When you face overwhelming odds, Marshall the troops. It goes against our intuition. Take the Nickel. Reality gets even crazier. READ Mic. 5:2. “O Little town of Bethlehem…” At Christmas these words are read prophesying the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. When Micah first spoke the words, the people did not know Jesus. To them, these words are a promise that is not yet. To be told Bethlehem is the key to their rescue is crazy. Yes, Bethlehem was the hometown of the great King David 300 years earlier, but what are the odds of another great ruler coming from Bethlehem? Anyone hear of Hodgenville, KY? It’s a town of less than 3500…not much there. There used to be a log cabin. //// The birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. No surprise to have a president born in a small town somewhere at sometime, so why not Hodgenville, KY. But the odds of twice from the same town seem impossible…
As the people are surrounded by the Assyrians, out of nowhere, Micah brings up Bethlehem…. There’s nothing in Bethlehem… “you are small…” Micah says. He may have been talking about Bethlehem, but undoubtedly that describes how all of Judah was feeling about then… small, helpless, powerless. What a crazy God.
Last Sunday Chad talked about how the average person felt during this time:
- A corrupt government that could not be trusted, even Hezekiah, a good king that had undone some of the bad things of the previous king, brought on the siege from Assyria by refusing to continue to pay money to Assyria to leave Judah alone.
- The established religion of Judaism was corrupt, the temple had been gutted… even Hezekiah, a few years earlier, sold the temple furnishings to pay the ransom to Assyria that he was now determined to not pay….
- The average person was poor with a great divide between the rich and the poor.
- The average Judean felt a constant fear that they would be taken in exile, separated from family, or killed.
- Many must have wondered if God had turned against them.
When Micah says of Bethlehem “you are small” there is no doubt many today can identify as being helpless, powerless, overwhelmed, no way to make much of a difference. Many even wonder if others notice them, or if God notices.
Our God is a crazy God. He can make a nickel more valuable than a dime. The truth: God uses the nobodies of the world, the small, the powerless, the weak to rise up and serve Him. “When I am weak, then you are strong.” When we face overwhelming odds, lives spinning out of control, that is when God uses us to His glory. Though you are small, God says, “…out of you WILL come…”
The key word for this chapter: WILL. Beginning in verse two, in the NIV translation, I count 18 times God lays out what WILL happen. The reason we can be enthusiastic/ mobilize in the face of overwhelming odds is because God tells us what WILL be. Though the city be surrounded by a hostile army, and we feel small, God’s promises are more than enough for us to rise up and mobilize. Although I am attacked on all sides, and I am overwhelmed, God says MOBILIZE. If you think God is incapable of overcoming the problems of your world, fear will dictate your life. To know God uses the weak, redeems the lost, cares for the lonely, is reason to cling to the great vision of victory of Micah 7:8: “Though I have fallen, I will rise!”
I like the advice of a counselor I used to listen to on the radio. Many people called in with stories of an overwhelming relationship, real life heartaches, and they were having problems still loving their husband or wife….start by doing loving acts, respectful gestures, (and I’m simplifying her advise) but you will soon find yourself becoming the person you desire to be. You may be surrounded by enemies on all sides, God is saying, you may feel small and helpless, but mobilize. You may feel weak, but there are time a nickel may be more than a dime!
Enthusiasm in the face of overwhelming odds is possible when you believe God’s promise of a victorious future. Over and over God says I WILL to those who are small.
Examine a few promises of God declaring what he WILL do…
Micah 5:2-3. READ. These verses find fulfillment in Jesus Christ. In the days of Micah, faith included the conviction that God would send a redeemer to save the people. It is significant in 2 the promised one is a “ruler” not a promised king…this should tell them something that the answer is beyond the politics of the day.
efore the birth of Christ, people were invited to believe God would do something, but they did not know the details. They knew God would send a ruler “whose origins were of old.” They knew God’s promise would find fulfillment through a birth of this ruler… which would lead to the re-gathering of those that are lost…
The people of Micah’s day are asked to put their faith in God even though they did not know the details. This is similar to Abraham, who in Romans 4, is presented as the model Christian. Several thousand years before the birth of Christ, Romans 4:21 says Abraham was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what He promised.” Abraham was saved by his faith knowing God would do make forgiveness possible, he just did not know about the birth of Jesus, the Cross, or the resurrection,
Today, on this side of the life of Christ, we know all about the cross, Jesus living a perfect life, how Jesus willingly went to the cross taking our place by dying so that we are forgiven and able to enter God’s presence… all that is true. But we are still called to live by faith even though we don’t know the details of how God is going to bring about his glorious future of wholeness. We believe in the second coming, but nobody really knows exactly what that will look like, the judgment, the resurrection in the last days… it is a future promise of God’s glory to be fully revealed in the last days. Satan and sin is still alive, the enemy is still laying siege to our lives, surrounding us on all sides like the Assyrians of old, we are still compromised by feelings of being overwhelmed and small…We know Christ, and what a truth that is, but we still need to live by faith, not knowing exactly how our personal lives will unfold or how history will end. Faith is needed when the odds seem overwhelming. A nickel may be worth more than a dime.
Micah 5:4 describes the character of the coming ruler as a shepherd. READ. The rule of Christ is a promised sense of security to a people who are overwhelmed. I heard 3-4 people in the past month talk about how tired they are of this adult thing, longing for days when parents took all responsibility, wondering why they were in such a hurry to grow up. He WILL… the Bible says. You may not feel secure at this moment, but knowing the end of the story has the power to energize the here and now to be ready. Soldiers of Christ Arise!
The rest of the chapter continues with God’s promise of a victorious future… many of the promises are about defeating the enemy which is the other side of the coin of victory for those who live by faith. Just a few more words, however, on my favorite line in chapter 5: Mic. 5:5 “And he will be our peace….”
How do you face life with joy and enthusiasm when facing overwhelming odds? : PEACE. Keep your eye on the prize of PEACE through Jesus Christ. Make peace your goal, peace with others, peace with the world,/// peace with yourself… Jerusalem was surrounded on all sides by the Assyrians. The only thing worse is when the harshest enemy is found within. Make peace with yourself. Peace comes through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, for he is the one who brings reconciliation to those that are overwhelmed and feeling small. When you put peace into practice, the miracle is that peace becomes the state of mind regardless of the tactics of the enemy. Practicing peace becomes its own reward. Not responding to drama that is so enticing, putting aside anger, the fear that is so natural, and practicing the peace of Christ so that peace becomes a way of life. Ask the Lord for him to help you LIVE PEACE.
How do you live with enthusiasm when facing overwhelming odds? Surrounded by enemies. When you feel small and helpless? We serve a crazy God. He uses the weak. He promises peace to those that are overwhelmed. He can make a nickel worth more than a dime. When it looks and feels humanly impossible, God says, “Marshall the troops.” Rise up. Be confident as you look to the one who God sends, Jesus Christ. And he will bring security, he will bring peace, he will… he will… he will… And what God WILL DO goes on and on and on… Amen.