Friday, December 14, 2018
“As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are the least significant of Judah’s forces, one who is to be a ruler in Israel on my behalf will come out from you.”
• Bethlehem is a Palestinian town south of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
• The biblical birthplace of Jesus, it’s a major Christian pilgrimage destination.
• The birth is marked by an inlaid silver star in a grotto under the 6th-century Church of the Nativity, which shares Manger Square with the 15th-century Church of St. Catherine
• 1860 Mosque of Omar.
Old Testament References to Jesus’ Birth:
Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 11:10, “Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the people’s; And His resting place will be glorious.”
Jeremiah 23:5, “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.”
Numbers 24:17, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.”
History-Introduction of Micah:
Today, we are reading about the city of Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus. The passage is from the prophet Micah, a contemporary of Isaiah, prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah over Judah, and of Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea over Israel 2 Kings 15:23-30 ; 17:1-6 . He was a prophet in Judah Jeremiah 26:17-19 but the book called by his name chiefly concerns Samaria.
Micah falls into three prophetic strains, each beginning, “Hear”:
The events recorded Micah cover a period of 40 years (Ussher).
David is halfway between Abraham and Jesus. Fourteen generations on either side of David. (Matthew 1:17)
It certainly sounds like the prophet Micah had lots of things to say the Israelites. During the time of Micah’s writings the nation had been in many battles and the land lay in waste, almost all of her people had been exiled, this was a dark time for its people. Micah reminded the people of God’s promises and that a son of David was coming to rule and sit on the throne. This all took place at least seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth. The people needed to be awakened and renewed. It is fascinating to me as I read this story and reflect upon it, looking back on history, having a vantage point, hindsight of sorts. It is not difficult for me to see and understand the need hope and the anticipation that the Israelites would have had. This is because, here more than two thousand years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, I get excited about the meaning and purpose of this season. The celebration of the birth of a baby, in Bethlehem and the promises fulfilled all those many nights ago. We, present day Christians already know the story, and yet each year it is new again. We seek to be renewed and reminded of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. We, much like the Israelites were waiting for Jesus’ birth, we are waiting for His return, often refer to as the Second Coming of Christ. What a glorious day that will be, to be united with God for all eternity. This season of Advent, much like children waiting for gifts on Christmas morning from the guy in the red suit, we wait for the Lord’s eternal never-ending gift. As I am typing and think of Santa, children, gifts, and believing…it’s not so far-reaching to see similarities in adults during this season. As we grow into adults do we not do the same with equal pure hearts(?) When we think of Jesus, His gift of salvation freely given and we believe. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child…” 1 Corinthians 13:11. When I grew, I learned that Santa was not a real person, but mom and dad and that Jesus is the reason for the season. I think there’s value in teaching the concept of Santa and allowing children to learn and grasp things they are capable of doing as they grow. I also believe that the birth of Jesus is and should be taught to children from the beginning of their lives, to me it seems like there’s little harm in believing in Santa. Life is a progression, it’s about learning, growing and the transferring of concepts/beliefs into your life.
May we greet one another as Christ would during this season, with grace and mercy.
Thank you for reading my words, I truly appreciate everyone who takes the time to read them. I am not a trained minister or spiritual leader, I do love Jesus and sharing His words. I’m a person just like everyone else. I am seeking to do the best I can to bring glory to God and to spread the “Good News!”
Prayer: May your ageless words enrich our time. Amen.
~Peace and Blessings~