Advent Series Day 11: Micah 5:2

December 15, 2017

Scripture Reading:

Micah 5:2

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,*
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.

 

Questions for Children:

What is this verse saying about the one “who will be ruler over Israel?”

Explanation and Meditation:

We’ve been busy gathering information from the Old Testament about the identity of the Promised Son of Eve who will crush the snake. We’ve noted different roles he’ll play and titles he’ll wear. We’ve looked at family trees and kingly lines. We’ve seen that he is coming to restore Israel and bring salvation to the nations. And yesterday, we read about the suffering he would have to endure in order to accomplish this salvation.

We still don’t know his name or when he is coming, but today’s text does tell us where he’ll be born.

The Messiah’s birth in this small town is significant for a couple reasons. For one, King David’s family hailed from Bethlehem. If Israel’s first great king was born there, it makes sense for his heir, their final and greatest to be as well. Second, choosing this small town highlights God’s love of exalting the humble and humbling the proud. Shouldn’t Jerusalem be the birthplace of the King? But the same God who promised to send a man to crush the snake, who overcame infertility in an aged married couple, who brought about a great nation from a family of shepherds and slaves in Egypt, who spoke through the mouth of a donkey, who promised a baby when the nation was desperate for a king is the God who would choose to honor this humble town as the birthplace of his King. And so Israel’s eyes were on that little town of Bethlehem as they waited for their restoration. And today, our eyes look back at Bethlehem as we celebrate our salvation.

Song of Reflection: O Little Town of Bethlehem
O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth.

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.

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.
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel.

 

*Ephratha could be a reference to David’s family line. Jesse was an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah. Or it could simply be the ancient name for the city of Bethlehem.

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