Unto Us a Child is Born
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
It’s a “little” book, and it contains a prophecy about a little town. One that would have been forgotten to history, had it not been for the word of the Lord naming it as the birthplace of the King of kings.
The subject of course is that God tells us Jesus the Messiah will be physically born in tiny Bethlehem, on the road from Jerusalem to Hebron. Although Micah is considered one of the Minor Prophets, he lived during tumultuous times, including the Assyrian invasion in the 8th century B.C.
Micah recorded what are known as “near” and “far” prophecies, meaning, he would often reference an event fairly close to his own time. Other times, he was looking far into the future. In Micah 5, he does both.
Interestingly, Micah not only denounced corruption in general in Judea—he also took to task fellow prophets that took money for revealing prophecies. Sound familiar? We are plagued in America today by shyster “preachers” that are in it for the cash.
But I digress.
I find it somewhat annoying that many observers say that “Christians interpret Micah 5:2 as referring to the birth of Christ.” It’s obvious that’s what it’s talking about and the key word in the prophecy is “everlasting.” Only One is everlasting, and that is Christ. He has always been and will always be, part of the Trinity, and the He mercifully took on our sins.
Matthew 2 affirms this prophecy:
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
I’ve written before about my trips to Bethlehem. There are the usual tourist trap spots, but the Church of the Nativity is the traditional site of Christ’s birth, not in an ancient “motel,” but rather in a grotto that today is located underneath the church. A series of narrow steps takes visitors into the cramped site, littered with Catholic mementos and ritual. Still, it’s likely this was the site. An interesting point is that even today, shepherds keep their flocks on the small hillsides around the town.
Nearby too is a ghastly site, the place where Herod had baby boys murdered. He had heard the prophecy that a King would be born in Bethlehem, so to cover his bases—how absurdly shortsighted humans can be—he ordered his men to murder countless little boys. You can stand in the room where it took place.
I like knowing that our faith is rooted in reality. These things took place in real places, in real time. They are historical, part of mankind’s history. Jesus was born into a violent, fallen world, then murdered only a few miles away, but rose from the dead.
Christmas season reminds us of these beautiful moments in which God told us how He redeemed us. I always think about this: there are so many people hurting now, especially at Christmas, when money is particularly tight. People are lonely, estranged from family.
If you have any of these issues in your life, please tell Jesus that you need Him. He has promised (Matthew 11:28) that He will comfort you and take your burdens. Your problems might seem insurmountable, but they are not. Consider doing this over the next week, at least: continually talk to God and tell Him that you need Him as never before. Then move to the stage of believing Him for his wondrous and singular promises. Resolve that you will have a good Christmas, no matter your earthly circumstances.
Merry Christmas and much love to all.