It is an incredible thing that the place of Jesus’ birth is predicted accurately. The small town of Bethlehem in Judah is identified as being the place from which ‘One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel’ (v2). Although known as the ‘city of David’ (Luke 2:4) it was actually a fairly small town. Its fame came solely from the fact that King David was born there. Micah even describes it as ‘too little to be among the clans of Judah’ (v2)! That God chose it as the birthplace of His Son is surprising, to say the least.
If there is one thing in life you are definitely not able to influence, it is where you are born! You have no choice in the location of your birth. You just arrive when you are ready to arrive! The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem is remarkable when we consider the events surrounding His birth. His parents lived in Nazareth and were only present in Bethlehem at the time of His birth because they were compelled to register there as part of the census which Caesar Augustus decreed (Luke 2:1-4).
Jesus ‘should’ have been born in Nazareth. But actually God had declared in advance where He was to be born. Far from controlling where Jesus would be born, Caesar was simply an instrument in the hand of God ensuring that His plan came to pass! And so the King of kings was born in Bethlehem.
Micah then goes on to prophesy that this king is going to unite the nation (v3) and He will ‘arise and shepherd His flock’ (v4). This is language which reminds us again of David, the shepherd-boy who became king (see Psalm 78:70-72 and An eternal line of kings post). He led the nation in a way which pointed towards One who would come who would be like him.
However, the king who is in view in this prophecy will be even greater. This king will have an extensive reign, ‘will be great to the ends of the earth’ (v4) but will rely entirely on God by leading ‘in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God’ (v4).
But as well as all this we read that ‘This One will be our peace’… David was a king of war, a warrior king who had established the nation through a campaign of force (see 1 Chronicles 28:3). This new king, this eternal, worldwide king, this shepherd-king is starkly different: This One will be our peace!
Peace in the land. Peace for the people. Peace with God.
Further reading: Matthew 2:1-12
To think about:
We are now in the time of Advent in the church calendar when we think about the coming of Jesus. It is also a time of great pressure with presents to buy, food to plan, cards to write and parties to attend. How can you find peace in all the distractions?
Also at this time we can think about the world and pray for the peace Jesus brings to break out right across our troubled globe.
|Journal page by Bernice|
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