The birth of Jesus, the Messiah, is a big deal. Use this lesson on Micah’s prophecy to help build confidence in the promises of God.
Scripture Focus: Micah 5:2-5
- Small water bottle (10 oz.) half-filled with water
- 2 tsp. white sugar
- 1 packet of active yeast
- small funnel
- 1 balloon (The balloon needs to be a cheaper, flimsy one. The experiment does not work as well with a thicker one.)
Geography: Israel and Judah in the latter half of the 8th century B.C.
Background: Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The Israelites were insulting God with idol worship “in every corner” (2 Chronicles 28:24.) Micah prophesied judgment through the armies of the Assyrians on Israel and Judah for their idolatry, but he also prophesied hope in the form of a shepherd king to come who would not only restore their peace but be their peace.
Micah’s Prophecy Object Lesson:
[Show the packet of yeast. Ask if anyone knows what it is/does. Open the yeast, pour some in the palm of your hand, and show how tiny the little yeast particles are. Explain that these are budding, single-cell fungi that are used in baking to cause breads and cakes to rise.]
It is amazing how something so wonderful like yummy bread can come from something so small!
- Can you think of something else that starts out very small and turns into something much bigger and more wonderful? [Allow for answers; seed/flower, match/fire, threads/clothing, for example.]
Today we are going to let these tiny, little yeast do something different than causing the bread to rise. We are going to let them partly blow up a balloon!
[Funnel 2 tsp of sugar into the water in the half-filled water bottle. Stir it around a bit, then cut the yeast packet open and funnel it into the bottle. Swirl it around in the bottle a bit. Stretch the balloon opening first, then carefully stretch it and place it over the mouth of the bottle. Set the bottle and balloon aside, or put a box over it so the children cannot see it.]
This experiment doesn’t happen all at once – we have to wait for it.
- Can you think of something you’ve had to wait for? [Allow for answers]
- Are you waiting for something right now? [Allow for answers]
This experiment reminds us of a time of waiting for God’s people – both the Israelites in the time of the prophets, and God’s people now – us!
Micah’s Prophecy Bible Lesson:
Today we are learning about a prophet named Micah. He prophesied about 700 years before Jesus was born. He was a prophet during the reign of three different kings – Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He lived in Judah, the southern part of Israel, but his prophecies were for northern Israel and southern Judah.
The Israelites, God’s people, had turned away from God and were worshipping idols, copying the people of the countries all around them. Micah kept telling the people that a terrible judgement was going to come on Israel and Judah if they didn’t turn away from their idolatry. He prophesied that the Assyrian armies were going to sweep through their lands and destroy everything, kill most of the people, and take the rest away as captive slaves. But Micah also kept telling people that God had a rescue plan.
[Read Micah 5:2-5. Ask:]
- Who is Micah talking about? [Jesus]
Micah is prophesying several things about Jesus here. Remember, prophesying means that Micah was getting a message from God to deliver to the people. He wasn’t just predicting out of his own head, or making wishes.
If God gives the message or prophecy, that means that it will 100% come true. Because God is in charge and can see all the future and all the past, that means He’s 100% right 100% of the time.
Look at the first prophecy – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah..” Did you know there was more than one Bethlehem? There was – but God gave Micah the name of this exact village, Bethlehem Ephrathah. This particular Bethlehem was just south of Jerusalem, while the second Bethlehem was in the northern portion of Israel near Galilee.
“..who are too little to be among the clans of Judah..” Bethlehem Ephrathah, or Bethlehem Judah, was a teeny-tiny village, unimportant in every way, EXCEPT God planned for His rescuer to come from there. Just like our little yeast are so tiny, yet something amazing comes from them, this little town will have something WAY more than amazing came from it.
- Where was Jesus born? [Bethlehem]
It was this exact Bethlehem. Here’s the amazing part – remember that Micah prophesied God’s Messiah, the rescuer, would be born in this particular tiny Bethlehem over 700 years before Jesus was born! Wow! That would be way more incredible than if George Washington predicted that (say the name of a child in the room) would be born in (say the name of the city)!
God gave Micah the message, so he knew it had to be true. He told God’s people that they could count on God’s rescuer being born in Bethlehem, but they didn’t know when. Remember we said we’d have to wait to see what would happen with our experiment? Well, God’s people had to wait..and wait..and wait. Finally, 700 years after Micah’s prophecy, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just like God said He would be. We can always count on God’s promises.
Let’s see how our experiment is going.
[Take out the water bottle/yeast/balloon and look at the difference since you first put the yeast in. You can keep it in sight through the remainder of the session.]
Life Application for Micah’s Prophecy:
Let’s look at the other prophecy in this Scripture passage. “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. And He shall be their peace.”
- In Jesus’ day, was He great, or famous, “to the ends of the earth”? [No]
Jesus’ followers started off with a small handful of disciples, but like our itty-bitty yeast grew and grew, believers in Jesus have grown in number for over 2,000 years. Jesus followers are all over the globe, in many countries, speaking many languages. The estimated number of Christians in the world was 2,184,060,000 in 2010, over 10 years ago. That’s a huge amount of people! But guess what? That’s only 31.7% of people worldwide who are Christian. About 1/3 of the whole population of the world.
But Micah says, “He will be great to the ends of the earth.” So now, just like God’s people had to wait for God’s rescuer to come the first time, we have to wait for Him to come back again. And then everyone, in every nation, tribe, and language will know of the greatness of Jesus!
- How can we help grow God’s kingdom – the followers of Jesus? [Allow for answers]
We help grow the kingdom by telling the people around us about Jesus, then they tell others, and they tell others, and so on.
- What does knowing how very accurately the prophecy about Jesus’ birth came true tell us about all the other many prophecies about Jesus? [Allow for answers; we can be confident that God is faithful to do what He promises, that Jesus is Who He says He is, and that our faith in Him will save us from our sins.]
What was God saying through Micah? We can trust God to do what He says He will do. We might have to wait as we waited on our experiment and just as the Israelites waited on the Messiah to be born, but we can be sure that God will keep ALL His promises.
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