The key part of Micah 5 is the prophecy that the coming Messiah will come from Bethlehem. The chief Priests and scribes of Herod’s time knew the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, because of this prophetic passage.
The reason they could see that without it explicitly mentioning the word “Messiah” is threefold – Firstly the mention of the small two bit village Bethlehem, then the word ruler coming from there and that he would shepherd his flock. Those three things would point immediately to David, the ruler of Israel who also came from Bethlehem and who had been a shepherd. Once on that line of thinking, they would think of the Son of David – prophesied by Samuel in 2 Sam 7:12-16.
I love that this occurs in Bethlehem, a then tiny village – “too little too be among the clans of Judah.” There’s something wonderful about the Lord that he chooses the little, the weak, the foolish to be his instruments, the people and places that He uses to fulfill His purposes and glorify His wonderful name. If the Messiah were to be born in a great cultural centre like Jerusalem or now New York, London or Tokyo – then man could boast in his achievements. So God chooses a two bit village like Bethlehem to raise the greatest human Israelite King David and then for the King of Kings, Jesus to be born. God chooses the weak to shame the wise. God uses little mustard seeds to illustrate kingdom growth. God chose a stable so no inn-keeper could have a boastful blue plaque “Jesus was born here”. God chose a manger for Jesus to be laid in so no craftsman could boast that his cots were used by the King of Kings.
And God will use you and I – weak, ordinary people who follow and obey to extend his wonderful rule and reign on the earth.
Then verse 4 and 5 reveal something about the ruler Jesus.
He shall stand -he is not sitting and waiting, he is standing, He is active in coming to us in our need.
He will shepherd – he leads us to green pastures to be fed and quiet waters to refresh.
We shall dwell secure – As John Piper writes “Walk like an obedient sheep behind him, and he will overcome every obstacle to your purification and joy forever.”
He shall be our peace – Christ is our peace. He has made peace for us to know and enjoy God the Father forever. As Romans 5:1 puts it “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”