I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.
He who opens the breach goes up before them;
they break through and pass the gate,
going out by it.
Their king passes on before them,
the Lord at their head. Micah 2:12-13
He’s promising these people a fullness, a completeness of salvation, deliverance, restoration. He is addressing the entire nation: “All of you, Jacob, Israel.” And Micah’s hope isn’t just centered in his own lifetime. I don’t think he’s just looking at the return of exiles seventy years after being taken into captivity, although I think that is partially in view. He is also looking far ahead to the Messianic kingdom, a kingdom that is still in our future, because it is then that Israel’s true hopes are going to be finally and completely realized. And until that glorious day, God is going to deal with the remnant of his people. The majority of the nation is going to rebel against God, but there will always be a faithful remnant: a people who are broken and repentant, who hear the Lord, who trust him and seek to do his will.
This is also true today of the professing church. Within the institutional church spread around the world, there is a confessing church, a remnant who loves Jesus wholeheartedly. A weak and weary remnant did return to Judah after the Babylonian captivity, but Israel has never become the great, unified, restored nation that all the prophets promised, including Micah. That will happen when the Lord returns to claim his people and establish his kingdom. The leader of that restoration will be the Messiah King, the one who breaks open the way as he opens the doors that confine the Jews in the various nations, so he can bring them back to their land. Micah describes it as a triumphant procession, much like the procession when God led his people out of Egypt into the Promised Land. It is led by the Lord God, but also by the Messiah King, together at the head of all redeemed people. This vision will be expanded in chapters 3-5. It is wonderfully encouraging and motivating to know that God has a future plan and purpose no matter how difficult times are right now. Even if innocent people get swept up into the judgment caused by the sin of others, good will win out. We can trust God for his faithfulness and his goodness. He will save the remnant who walk uprightly before him.
We’ve already seen that this very first message, encompassing two chapters, aroused opposition in the people. It didn’t change their hearts. So now, in the next three chapters, Micah is going to preach a message of hope and promise: “This deliverer King is coming, He’s unstoppable in the salvation He brings.”