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God delights to show up when the situation seems hopeless from any human standpoint. When He does what no one else can do, He alone is glorified!
A very notable dark time took place in Israel about 700 BC as the nation was surrounded by enemies. Micah prophesied the arrival of the Messiah. But he also prophesied that before He came, there would be dark days. He talks about the siege of enemies surrounding them, Israel’s ruler being stuck on the cheek with a rod, not to mention the strongholds, witchcraft, and idolatry that plagued the nation within its own borders (Micah 5:1, 11-13).
But whenever it seems darkest, God is not the least diminished! He always gets the final word, the decisive word, the best word.
So into this inky darkness, Micah prophesies a ray of light—“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” (Micah 5:2).
I’m sure many people thought that Bethlehem was too small of a village for anyone of significance to be born there.
The Last Battle is the final book in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. This story also portrays a similar dark time. Shift the ape has convinced Puzzle the donkey to wear an ill-fitting lion skin to pretend to be the great king Aslan. Through tricks, sleight of hand, deception, and the plans of some evil schemers, many of the Narnians come to believe that Puzzle is Aslan. But it’s confusing because this “Aslan” is not the kind, strong king they believed in, so many begin to just look out for themselves.
In a fitting setting, Puzzle is being hidden inside an old stable. A great battle takes place with the true Narnians ending up inside the stable, and yet once inside they discover not a dark stable, but a sunlit land spreading farther than their eyes can see. Lord Digory observes, “Its inside is bigger than its outside.”
But I love this line from Queen Lucy, “In our world too a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”
Inside that Bethlehem stable was born the Great Shepherd! Who was inside that stable and what He would accomplish became so much grander and more beautiful than any human had ever imagined!
Jesus is our Great Shepherd—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 (Micah 5:4).
Jesus is strong, majestic, and great (John 10:10-15).
Jesus equips us to be victorious (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Jesus walks with us every step of the way (Psalm 23:1-6).
And Jesus takes us Home to be with Him forever (1 Peter 5:4).
(Check out all of these passages by clicking here.)
Our faith is not rooted in some mysterious thing with an uncertain history. It is a faith rooted in real historical events. The Great Shepherd being born in the town that was prophesied 700 years beforehand is one more proof that God is in control, that God loves you, and that God always gets the final word, the decisive word, the best word!
If you’ve missed any of the messages in our Advent series Bethlehem Is Proof, you find the full list by clicking here.
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