Group Leaders: Please print off the following for group members

Choose 2-3 readers for the evening.

downton_abbey3

Downton Abbey TV Series

Ask group members if they have a favorite TV series of all time. Who were minor characters who influenced the overall plot?

Talk about what Tim means by saying that the Bible is a five season series and Micah is in Season 2. How does that help us understand the part we play?

Read Micah 5:1-5

Micah 5:5 says that the king born in Bethlehem shall be our peace.

Explain how holistic that peace is by contrasting it with the chaos of the Assyrian in 5:1. How is Jesus’ peace the holistic solution to the holistic chaos brought by the Assyrian?

Where have you experienced the chaos of the world most acutely in life? Religiously, politically, economically, socially? Tell a story about what that was like.

Do you grasp that the peace of Jesus’ growing rule and ultimate victory a comfort in the midst of a chaotic world? Do you struggle to trust that Jesus’ peace is greater than the chaos? Do you struggle to accept that there is great chaos in this world?

Micah and the other minor (as well as major) prophets write a great deal about God’s reign and his reign through the coming Messiah. This brings up the important whole-Bible theme of the Kingdom of God. Much of the following is taken from Christopher Wright’s excellent book Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament.

Read Luke 4:40-44

There are three important ways to view the kingdom of God is spoken about in the Old Testament that is then assumed by Jesus Christ when he came preaching about it:

Read Daniel 4:34-35 and Revelation 17:14

The above passages speak of the first facet of the Kingdom of God…

  1. God’s Universal Reign: He reigns over the whole earth. He is king of nations and nature. The widest and most basic sense of the kingship of God in the Old Testament is this universal sovereignty.

Jesus, the divine-human (theanthropic) King, now exercises this same universal reign.

Question: Are you resting in the reality of Jesus’ greater ability to bring peace than any other heavenly or earthly ruler?

Read Psalm 146:7-10 and Matthew 6:9-10

the above passages refer to a second facet on God’s Kingdom…

  1. God’s Redemptive and Theocratic Dimension: God’s Kingship over the whole earth is not acknowledged by all nations. However, Israel, through the covenant relationship, had accepted the rule of God over themselves. God was the acknowledged King in Israel…So, as well as the universal dimension of God’s kingship, the Old Testament has this very particular dimension. God’s covenant relationship with Israel was in a sense the relation of a king to his subjects…In the ancient world, it was the king’s job to protect his people from their enemies and to give them laws and good government….So the kingship of God in Israel had very practical, earthly effects. It was not just a theological item of belief. It was the authority of God as king which lay behind the specific details of Israel’s law. There was, therefore, a powerfully ethical thrust to the acknowledgement of God’s kingship. His reign was one of righteousness and justice, earthed in the real world of social, economic, and political relationships.

So when Jesus came proclaiming the kingdom of God, he was not talking about a place or an idea or an attitude. It was not just pie in the sky nor joy in the heart. The reality of God’s rule cannot be spiritualized into heaven (now or later) or privatized into individuals. Now of course it does have spiritual and personal dimensions which are fundamental also. But the term itself speaks of the aligning of human life on earth with the will of the divine government of God.

Question: How might Jesus’ rule over the his international Kingdom impact the social, political, economic or religious systems of the places where his people are found?

Read Micah 5:4-5 and Revelation 22:1-5

The above passages refer to a third facet of the Kingdom of God…

  1. The Eschatological Dimension: We see in the Old Testament that the kingship of God was in one sense a universal sovereignty over all nations, nature and history. And that in another sense it meant the specific rule of God over Israel within the covenant relationship where his kingship was acknowledged. But God’s kingship, thirdly, came to be thought of in a future perspective also because neither of the first two senses was being realized in full. On the one hand it was obvious that the nations did not acknowledge Yahweh as King, and on the other hand it became increasingly and painfully obvious that even Israel, who acknowledged him as King, did not demonstrate it. He was king in name and title, but not obeyed in reality in the actual life of the nation.

So there developed the hope and expectation that at some time in the future God himself would intervene to establish his reign in its fullness over his people and over the world. God would come as king and put things right.

Question: On a scale of 1 – 5 how much do you care that season 5 is about God putting everything right in the world? Are you bored by the idea? What can you do, by God’s grace, to “blow on the coals” of yours or others hope for this bright and beautiful future?