Section 1: The Prophecy
Scripture: Michah 5: 1-6
“Now daughter who is under attack, you slash yourself in grief; a siege is set against us! They are striking the judge of Israel on the cheek with a rod. Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be a ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity. Therefore He will abandon them until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of His brothers will return to the people of Israel. He will stand and shepherd them in the strength of Yahweh His God. They will live securely, for then His greatness will extend to the ends of the earth. There will be peace. When Assyria invades our land, when it marches against our fortresses, we will raise against it seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men. They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with a drawn blade. So He will rescue us from Assyria when it invades our land, when it marches against our territory.”
This passage is a little dense, but what we can take from it is that God foretold that the One who would rule over Israel would come out of Bethlehem. When I read passages like this I can so clearly see how the Jews thought that their promised Messiah would come to them through the government. Imagine their confusion when Jesus showed up, a carpenter turned teacher. It would have gone against everything they had been taught to think. I think most of us are in a time when we can relate to that feeling. Our government has become an idol to which we looked for fulfillment of our own ideologies. Our disappointment, fear, and even sadness in regard to our government should point us to the greater hope we have in Jesus. He is our source of strength and protection. He will deliver us when all seems lost. As this passage prophecies, He came down from heaven in a little town called Bethlehem to do just that.
What do you take away from this passage? Let’s pray that God would reveal and knock down more idols in our lives that we might focus all the more fully on Him. As we enter this joyful season of Advent, I pray He would draw near to us through His word and with His presence.
Happy first day of December!