“O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!” God will abandon his people to their enemies until she who is to give birth has her son… And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God, and His people shall remain there undisturbed, for He will be greatly honored all around the world. He will be our Peace. ..
He will deliver us from the Assyrians when they invade our land. Then the nation of Israel will refresh the world like gentle dew or the welcome showers of rain, and Israel will be as strong as a lion. The nations will be like helpless sheep before her! She will stand up to her foes; all her enemies will be wiped out” (Micah 5:2-9, LB)
Prophet Micah lived in the 8th Century BC. He saw the coming of the Messiah who was to be born in the small village of Bethlehem Judea. In Hebrew, Bethlehem means the ‘House of Bread’. The word Ephrathah means ‘Fruitfulness’. It describes the spiritual blessings coming to such a humble location, chosen by God to have His Son to be born there. What a mystery…The Living Bread came to its House.
Even today Bethlehem is still a small town. The population is only about 25 000 people. More than half are Muslims and the rest are Christian Palestinians. The main industry is tourism. Most of the inhabitants manufacture and sell little crosses made of olive wood. The church that houses the manger where Jesus was born is one of the oldest in the world.
God could have chosen any other city for the birthplace of His Son. But according to Micah’s prophecy, the little town of Bethlehem became that unique and blessed spot on earth. God loves to use things of insignificance to create great things of wonder. We have a tendency to despise little things or little beginnings. We assume that for great things to happen, we need to start with big ‘capital’ and much fanfare. But God is different. He uses things that men reject to create wonders men admire. This is the pleasure of God, to use the weak to confound the strong and foolish people to shame the worldly wise.
Micah prophesied that the King born in Bethlehem shall destroy the Assyrian army. This prophecy can only be applied to what happened when Sennacherib wanted to destroy Jerusalem. It means that the Angel who killed 185000 Assyrians that night was in fact Christ (2Kg 19). That was the end of the enemy’s attack upon Jerusalem. He who was born in a manger is able to destroy all His enemies with only His breath! Like in Egypt, during the Passover Night, the ‘silent night, holy night’ became a time of horror and judgment to all His enemies. He who brought peace on earth to the men who have His favor, He is able to destroy all opposition to His Kingdom. Is this how you imagine Baby Jesus?
From such a humble beginning, in the little town of Bethlehem, the King of Glory was born. The Baby in the Manger is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was born as a little baby. He lived and died as a Man, became a substitute for sinners that they may be forgiven. He was buried in Jerusalem and rose again after three days. He then sent the Holy Spirit on His Church. He is our strong Shepherd to protect and feed us with His Word. He is our Prince of Peace and our eternal prosperity. Like long awaited showers during the dry season and like the mysterious dew covering the desert in the morning, He is the only hope of revival for the nations. Christ is the Sovereign Ruler of all the earth. All creation shall bow down to Him. All His enemies shall be defeated.
This beautiful picture is what Micah saw eight centuries before the birth of Jesus. Do you see the King of Glory, undefeated and eternal? There was no room for Him to be born in a palace. A stable and an animal’s manger was the best humanity could offer to His Creator. But this is the strange true Story of Redemption, the Romance of God who chose to dwell among men.
I wish you Merry Christmas!
This is our prayer…
“O Holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel”
(by Philips Brooks)
In Christ I declare:
Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Lord!
In Jesus name