1. Looking at the three sections of this passage (4:9-10, 4:11-13, and 5:1-6), what are the present impossibilities facing Israel? How does Micah describe their situation?
2. In each section, how does Micah promise an outcome that is different from the present impossibility? What future is he pointing to?
3. The sermon describes three seemingly impossible situations here: exile (when we are no longer sure where we belong), defeat (when we feel that someone or something has gotten the best of us), and weakness (when whatever we have counted on fails us). Which of these do you most currently identify with? How is your situation similar to what Israel faced?
4. The sermon also describes unexpected ways in which God provides rescue, victory, and strength for His people. In each case, he challenges our assumptions about what the way out looks like. God’s promise of rescue invites us to a new kind of crying out, with hope. his promise of victory calls us to make war on our own sin while loving our enemies. His promise of strength calls us to look to Jesus’ kind of leadership. Which of these is most challenging for you? Where do you see your own expectations for how God works needing to change?
5. Finally, the sermon challenges us that for us to see God making a way out of our present impossibility, we will likely have to let go of something. What is God challenging you to give up in order to experience His newness and growth in your life?
Now why do you cry aloud?
Is there no king in you?
Has your counselor perished,
that pain seized you like a woman in labor?
10 Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion,
like a woman in labor,
for now you shall go out from the city
and dwell in the open country;
you shall go to Babylon.
There you shall be rescued;
there the Lord will redeem you
from the hand of your enemies.
11 Now many nations
are assembled against you,
saying, “Let her be defiled,
and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.”
12 But they do not know
the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand his plan,
that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.
13 Arise and thresh,
O daughter of Zion,
for I will make your horn iron,
and I will make your hoofs bronze;
you shall beat in pieces many peoples;
and shall devote their gain to the Lord,
their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.
5 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
5 And he shall be their peace.
When the Assyrian comes into our land
and treads in our palaces,
then we will raise against him seven shepherds
and eight princes of men;
6 they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,
and the land of Nimrod at its entrances;
and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian
when he comes into our land
and treads within our border.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.