This summer I moved into my very own apartment. Looking down the proverbial road, I began concocting plans for various diy projects to make my first Christmas on my own both special and meaningful. One such diy project resulted in an advent calendar of twenty-five hanging stars, each marked with an Old Testament prophecy concerning the coming/birth/life/ministry of Jesus. Now that it’s December, I’m planning on taking a star down each day and meditating on the verse with which it’s been marked. A prayerful attempt at both worshipping Jesus for the incredible beauty and timeliness in His first coming and building anticipation for His second coming. And so, I give you the first day of Advent’s verse:
“You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” Micah 5:2
What is most incredible about this verse is the context in which you read it. God is speaking to the northern kingdom of Israel, a people living in black rebellion and depravity. After consistent calls to repentance, God warns His beloved people of the coming consequences of their own choices. Verse 1: “Mobilize! Marshal your troops! The enemy is laying siege to Jerusalem. The will strike Israel’s leader in the face with a rod.” The Assyrians are coming, and life as you know it will come to an end. Everything is about to change. Then comes verse 2. “A ruler of Israel will come from you”, the God-man who will lead God’s people back to His arms. And the chapter continues:
“The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. And he will stand to lead his flock with Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed,for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace.” (5:3-4)
The birth of Jesus changes everything. In the blink of God’s eye that spans thousands of years, the same Jesus born in Bethlehem will return, bringing His people, both Jew and Gentile, together into one people. We will be united in His strength, for His glory and honor. And, greatest of all, He will be our source of peace.
Jesus is our source of peace
Reading this prophecy I realized how those living in Israel when Jesus came expected him to be the triumphant war hero they longed for. But little did they know that God was speaking from a long-sighted perspective, where an eternal king “whose origins are from the distant past” will rule His numberless kingdom for all eternity.