In today’s passage we get a glimpse of the full humility of God. Here, the coming of Jesus, God’s only son, is predicted in the lowly village of Bethlehem. In this time of advent, we find the nativity story foretold in the book of Micah. We get the location, the hint that his origins are eternal, there is mention of his mother giving birth and the idea that he will have the Lord’s strength and majesty. The idea that he will be known and honoured worldwide and be the source of peace are also central. I am fascinated that this great salvation from both exile and attack by their enemies, and that peace will be available to the whole world, should come from a baby boy, born of a woman in a little village called Bethlehem in Judah. This great promise of liberation and freedom, which was fulfilled in Jesus, just seems so underwhelming, so ordinary. And yet it is this very humility and lowliness that God shows again and again are his hallmark.
Micah 5:2-6 NLT
But 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. 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 the 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 honoured around the world. And he will be the source of peace. When the Assyrians invade our land and break through our defences, we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us, eight princes to lead us. They will rule Assyria with drawn swords and enter the gates of the land of Nimrod. He will rescue us from the Assyrians when they pour over the borders to invade our land.
My goal today, as we count down to christmas, is to remember the everyday realities of Mary and Joseph as they made the journey to Bethlehem where Jesus would be born. I want to take consolation from their story, that my own unremarkable life, if given in love and humility to the service of God, might prove to be of much greater worth to him than I can currently see or imagine. I also want to give thanks for this time of peace in which we are we are living, where we need not fear our borders being over run by our enemies (at a national level at least). I want to praise The Lord for rescuing me from the darkness in which I had been living as an exile. I could well have seen out my whole life in exile from God as many others do, but he opened my eyes and my ears, and so his peace has poured into my life. I pray now that in sharing this amazing news, one or two others might open their eyes too.
Micah 5:1-7:20, Revelation 7:1-17, Psalm 135:1-21, Proverbs 30:5-6