Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for November 20

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for November 20

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By Robert Olsen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

Humble beginnings

Micah 4:6–8, 5:1–9

In that day (4:6–8)

Having the Bible brings great joy because it gives us access to God’s promises. Christians derive confidence from knowing God’s promises because we understand God’s plans and the end result. We live with courage knowing our lives are not in vain, but that God uses us to further His plans.

In this section of Micah, God reveals His plan: After His judgment, He will bring restoration. God is going to reign in the future Kingdom, bringing back all of the exiles to an eternal Kingdom. Christ’s return will bring about this restoration.

At His first coming, many Jews believed He was the Messiah who would restore Israel to the dominant position it held in the days of David. They expected Jesus to throw off Roman rule and return theocracy as in the Old Testament days.

However, Christ came first as the suffering servant prophesied in passages such as Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. At Christ’s second coming, all will be restored. There will be a new reign where justice prevails.

Knowing this future, we can live in hope. God is in control. Nothing catches Him off guard. As my pastor says, the Trinity never meets in emergency sessions. This encouraging fact allows us to face trials with joy. Sin will be overcome.

Those who oppress us will still have a chance to be made right with God. This is why Christians facing persecution do not fight back or lash out. Instead, we turn the other cheek and forgive those who sin against us. Christians must love those who hate us. We can stand against the world because we have hope unbelievers will respond to the gospel.

One will come (5:1–6)

Speaking of the Messiah, God reveals to Micah He will come from Bethlehem, the city of David. Most of us are familiar with this passage from the birth narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This is another proof of fulfilled prophecy undergirding the Bible’s validity. We can be confident God will fulfill His promises because we see the number of promises already fulfilled.

This future ruler will be the Good Shepherd. Jesus references this in the Gospel of John, affirming His position as Messiah. How is a shepherd supposed to act? He provides for, protects and feeds his sheep. This is exactly the role Jesus fulfills for us.

God cares for us so much He sent His Son to die for us. Jesus Himself says the Shepherd lays His life down for the sheep (John 10:11), dying in our place so we can be redeemed and made right before God. As sinners, the punishment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23), but because Christ paid our penalty, we have His righteousness if we believe in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).

Then the remnant (7–9)

Micah points to the future when the Messiah will return and bring justice to the nations. This is not just a prophecy for the old nation of Israel; it is a prophecy that points to God’s people from all nations. This is for all people. This is why we are called to spread the gospel to all nations. They all need to hear the gospel, and God will bring people from all nations into His kingdom.

We can share the gospel with boldness and confidence, because we know it is the means by which people are saved and made right with God. It also assures us God is with us in this endeavor. We can have hope, even when we face rejection and persecution, knowing God’s powerful word does not return void.

Many who have been God’s enemies and openly persecuted Christians have embraced God’s love and become His servants. No one is outside the power of the gospel. We should never lose hope that God can change people’s hearts — from those who have never heard the gospel to friends, coworkers and family whose hearts remain hard toward
the gospel.

This should fill us with hope and motivate us to continue loving and sharing the gospel with others.