Born in Bethlehem

by Katelyn Wilson

Day 13 of Advent

Today's Reading

Micah 5:1-4

From an unlikely town came a powerful King.

Matthew 2 shows the wise men going to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, looking for this new King, ready to worship him. But he was not there. The King was in Bethlehem, and the prophecy from Micah 5:1-4 was at last fulfilled. 

Years earlier, Micah showcases the tiny town of Bethlehem as the birthplace of the future ruler of Israel, Jesus Christ. This passage of Scripture portrays a weak and unlikely city needing to prepare for the battle that was coming. Bethlehem is unable, however, to put together an army to defend itself. They are under attack and vulnerable.

One prophecy changes their situation. Bethlehem now has hope of a ruler who will one day come from among them. The king will be born in their midst and take them from a time of persecution and oppression to peace and security.

No longer will the people live in fear, now they shall be secure.

Micah prophesies of the shepherd who will stand in the strength and majesty of the Lord. The King who was coming would possess power and authority and would reign triumphantly. Compared to their current state, this may have seemed impossible.

How would a strong, triumphant King come from the tiny, vulnerable town of Bethlehem when they could not even protect themselves? How was a king with the strength of the Lord supposed to be from here?

Yet in Scripture, we see God does not always bring His chosen servants from prestige. In 1 Samuel 16, God reminds the prophet, Samuel, saying, “Do not look on his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” It was in this passage when the great King David was chosen.

David was a shepherd boy who played the harp (not what someone typically thinks of when they think of a king), but he later would defeat Goliath and rule over Israel victoriously. God blessed David’s reign because he was a man after God's own heart and became one of the greatest kings of Israel.

David did not seem to fit the characteristics that the Israelites pictured when they thought of a king, and, in the same way, Jesus would not come as the Israelites expected. Instead of the capital of Jerusalem, Jesus would come from the tiny town of Bethlehem. Instead of a palace, a stable. Instead of celebration with royalty, some shepherds. Instead of a bed, a manager.

Jesus came to the earth to dwell with us. He came to dwell with all people, to be among the same broken people He came to save.

As Jesus comes and dwells with the people, Micah shows that Jesus also possesses great power. He stands and shepherds the people. He stands in the strength of the Lord and the majesty of His name. He brings security and peace. His name is made great to the ends of the earth.

All of this came from Bethlehem – a town Micah claims to be too little among the clans of Judah. The prophecy had been foretold throughout the generations, but Matthew 2 also reveals that the wise men still expected the great Messiah to come from Jerusalem. The people still thought a king should be born in Jerusalem, but God saw fit to use the town of Bethlehem for His purposes.

How often do we miss what the Lord is doing because it does not come as we expected? Do we see the peace and security Christ brings as King, or do we look for our peace and security in other places that the world promises will bring us comfort? Do we live in fear forgetting that Jesus has come and reigns victoriously?

Today, ask the Lord to show you what He is doing, even if it does not come as expected. Ask Him to remind you of His peace, security, strength, and majesty of His name as He reigns victoriously over all our fears.