This Child Gives Us Hope

Micah 5:2-5 “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. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. 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 their peace.”

Society becoming more and more violent; the family breaking down, the ranks of those sliding into a poverty from which they are unable to extract themselves growing by the day; a constant threat of war hanging over the nation’s young people, raising the probability of being called up for military service in an unstable world; despairing people losing their faith, grasping for kind of meaning in materialism, immorality, or strange religions: these were the problems facing God’s people Israel at the time of the prophet Micah.

Sound familiar? What possible glimmer of hope could there be for such a people? Where could they find peace when everything in their world seemed so desperately wrong? Where can we?

God’s promises provided the answer. Through the prophet Micah he promised a ruler who would not deal merely with the outward symptoms of a broken world. He would deal with the root of the problem–the sin and rebellion living in human hearts.

This Savior King would be a true shepherd. He would make it possible for people to live in real peace and security, even when life and everything around them appeared completely beyond redemption or repair. His ruling power would reach to the very ends of the earth. He would give his people hope.

This King would be born in Bethlehem, the prophet tells us. As the people of that day looked ahead to the little town of Bethlehem, we look back to that same little town thousands of years later. There we find the same hope they received. “The hopes and fear of all the years” truly are met in Bethlehem on Christmas night, as the Christmas carol assures us, for Christ is born of Mary. And this Child gives us hope.

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