“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.” . . . He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace.
The Shepherd of Peace
Jerusalem was in trouble. Many of its kings had led the people astray and away from worshiping the true God. Now, foreign armies were coming to carry out God’s justice on a people who preferred worshiping themselves. God assigned Micah, the prophet, to foretell the coming destruction.
But God also had Micah prophesy about a ruler who would rescue his people. About eight miles from the capital city of Jerusalem lay a small village, Bethlehem. Its population size was tiny compared to Jerusalem. Yet, this village would be the birthplace of that ruler, the greatest king ever born.
About 700 years after Micah finished his work as one of God’s prophets, Jesus was born in the tiny town of Bethlehem to a humble virgin. The only birth announcement was made to simple shepherds in the field. But the announcers were anything but simple. Angels, the messengers from God, told the shepherds, “Today in the town of David (Bethlehem) a Savior has been born to you.” (Luke 2:11). Those angels also announced something else Micah had foretold. This Savior would bring peace.
It is fitting that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was visited first by shepherds. Jesus leads his people. He watches over them and protects them like a shepherd. But Jesus takes his shepherding to the extreme. He offers his life for his sheep so they can have peace with God. From the humblest of origins comes the greatest gift of all, peace with God, the forgiveness of sins. All who put their trust in Jesus will live securely.
Dear God, help me to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who has brought me peace. Allow me to live in this peace all the days of my life and forever with you. Amen.