“But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.
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 they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.” (Micah 5:2-5a)
It was “foretold” that the baby Jesus would be born of Bethlehem. A minor city at that time, but one that was important in olden days. It was the city of David; but David was long gone and his kingship a memory only. Many things in the Old Testament “foretell” things of Jesus. But this foretelling is seen in the “hindsight” of Jesus’ coming, and all that Jesus was. What might the writer of Micah been thinking about when he wrote this; was he thinking of Jesus? It is puzzling because Christian commentators take verse 5b as figurative – that is, that we evil comes against God’s people, God will provide or has already provided a remedy in Christ. Verse 5a is literal; 5b is figurative. Wish I could talk the writer of Micah.
You see, beloved reader, the Jews were not expecting the type of Messiah that Jesus Christ was. They were expecting the type of Messiah-leader who would help “If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers.” (Verse 5b) So Jesus coming to the world as a baby was not the type of kingship that the Jews of that time expected. And I suspect, gentle reader, it is not the type of kingship many people today would like to have from their God. Let me dip my “pen” into political ink for just a moment; it seems many people what a God who will punish those who they see needing punishment, and be hostile against those they feel are the “them” that the “us” need to repeal and resist. I could go on, but I think (I hope) you understand what I mean.
We are in the last week of Advent, and the last day before we delve into the week of Christmas. Throughout the history of humanity the days and season of Christmas is when we set aside our hostilities and reach out to all humanity in peace and harmonious accord. I hope and pray that it is no different this season. May it be so in your part of the world. Selah!
P.S. I wrote a companion peace to this posting on my other blog, Pondering from the Pacific. You can see it in about 10 minutes after this one has posted. The Christ who was born from a God of Peace, Love, and Compassion