The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger for mankind.
The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue.
(Micah 5:7-8 NIV)
In the writings of the prophet Micah, we find two poignant similes that relate to present day Israel. Both of these potent heavenly maxims speak of a "remnant of Jacob" that exists "among the nations." These meaningful phrases both identify the current nation and hint at its isolated status. The Hebrew word he'eriyth, for "remnant," connotes "a remainder or residual surviving portion." Therefore, we conclude that this phrase is referring to the nascent state of Israel that came into being as a refuge for Jews in the wake of the holocaust.
Both of these object lessons regarding the origins and attributes of the Jewish state are presented by Micah as future statements of fact, as evidenced by the words "will be." The first simile indicates Israel will exist among the nations "like dew from the Lord." Dew in the morning is not an outcome that any human plans or executes. Though we could explain in scientific terms how condensation occurs when the interaction between humidity and temperature reach a certain point, we can just as easily and accurately say that God put it there. When you awake in the morning and look at the grass, there is the dew.
It is the same with Israel. Though we could explain in political and military terms the factors, planning, and actions that contributed to the founding of the state, we can just as easily and accurately say that God put it there. When the world awoke on that special morning in May 1948, there was the nation of Israel.
Micah reinforces this point by saying that the dew and showers on the grass "do not depend upon people or wait for any mortal." (NRSV) God accomplished it, despite the opposition and ire of many nations that exerted greatly to prevent it. Now Israel sits among those nations like dew on the grass.
Dew also signifies a time of refreshing. Thirsty and withered leaves, which had endured the heat of the previous day, welcome the new morning with the fresh coolness of the dew. The "times of refreshing" for Israel is a phrase we find elsewhere in the Bible, speaking of the end-times. Dew from the Lord will spiritually revitalize and reinvigorate Israel after the previous long day of scorching heat, the long period of dryness and barrenness.
The second simile is very different from the first, but no less significant. While the first addresses the Divine inauguration and unwavering existence of the emerging state, the second speaks of the actions of that state of Israel after its establishment. Unlike the docile peoples who were repeatedly torn to pieces during the long period of exile, the regathered remnant of Jews in the land will be a lion. In the midst of the many hostile nations who hate Israel and spurn her existence, Israel will be no passive victim waiting for another beating. No, the rejuvenated nation will be a lion to those nations, mauling and mangling at will. Just as no creature in the wild dares challenge a lion when he is going about his business, so too will no one intervene to deliver the "beast" nations that Israel will trample and tear.
Notice that the Lord Himself is making these declarations, not Israel. Israel today would like nothing better than to live in peace with its neighbors. But those neighbors have for decades been unwilling to accept that Israel has a right to exist, and a right to possess the land that God has designated. As a result, those neighbors have been mauled and mangled in several wars. But an even more decisive victory is yet to come. When those malignant neighbors decide to push the issue one final time, they will experience the ultimate fulfillment of these succinct prophecies.
The Lord Himself provides the best summary in the next verse:
"Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed." (Micah 5:9 NIV)