8th December – Micah 5:2-4
Micah was a prophet in Judah, contemporary with Isaiah about 800BC when Assyria was the dominant foreign power. He was a minor prophet with a major revelation; small in volume – but large in vision! He speaks to the cities of Samaria and Jerusalem and pleads with Judah and Israel to turn back to God.
Then, in the middle of this,comes a gem! “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratha, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Earlier, the Psalmist, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirt, said that he couldn’t sleep until he had found a “place for the Lord, a habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob.” It was the same place: Bethlehem Ephratha (Ps 131:5,6).
God chose that His Son should be born, not in a majestic palace, but the ‘little town of Bethlehem’! Joseph and Mary were Nazarites, making their pre-natal journey to Bethlehem to pay taxes. God used the Roman government under Augustus to bring about His purposes. He is concerned about the ‘small print’ as well as the ‘bigger picture’. These apparent incidentals reaffirm to us the inerrancy of scripture. But in the bigger picture, Micah has the revelation of the majesty of this ‘Ruler’ to be born in Bethlehem in that He has always been around. That can only be God! Yes, Jesus was there before and at creation. The last book of the Bible speaks of Jesus as He “who was, and is, and is to come” Rev 4:8.
The world has yet to see His rule that is predicted in verse 4 – “He shall be great unto the ends of the earth”. So, just as the almost incidental prophecy regarding Bethlehem was fulfilled, so certainly will be His global sovereignty…”For he must reign, till He hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor 15:25).
We can know that reign personally now by accepting the reason why He was born in Bethlehem as we prayerfully consider the words from the final verse of ‘O Little town of Bethlehem’:
How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming; but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.