Advent Reading: Micah 5:2 (underlined below)

Promise Made | As Israel was falling apart, God called Micah to prophesy about a coming ruler who would restore them. Micah said that this person would come from Bethlehem in Judah: But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah [1], who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days [2]. Those who heard these words immediately thought of two people – King David (who was born in Bethlehem [3]) and the Promised Messiah (who was to be born in Bethlehem). Since David was long dead, though, the prophecy had to be about the Messiah, whose throne would be established forever in the line of David [4].

Promise Kept | When Jesus was born, King Herod was upset when he heard that magi were looking for a newly born baby boy who was called the “king of the Jews” [5]. Thinking this baby may have been the Messiah, he asked Jewish scholars where the Messiah was supposed to be born. They replied, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet” [6]. They were right. When the magi got to Bethlehem, they “saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him” [7].

Promise Meant | When God chose to change the course of history and eternity, He did not choose to work in an urban metropolis like New York City. Instead, He chose a small and insignificant town with a population of less than a thousand. There was nothing special about this little town of Bethlehem. Yet, it was the birthplace of the most significant person to ever have walked this earth.

Prayer | Lord, Although Jesus is from everlasting to everlasting, he humbled himself by taking on frail human flesh and coming from an insignificant town. We confess, however, that we oftentimes do not want to follow in his ways because, although we know that we are small in the scheme of things, we inordinately long for importance apart from the significance that you offer to us in Christ. Therefore, forgive us and help us boast in our weakness so that we may be tethered to your strength [8]. Amen.


What is the non-advent reading for today? Isaiah 9:1-11:1
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[1] Ephrathah was an ancient name for Bethlehem meaning “fruitful.” See Genesis 48:7. There were two towns called Bethlehem – one in the southern kingdom of Judah and the other in the northern kingdom of Israel. In ancient times, the Bethlehem of Judah was called Ephrathah. Thus, when God spoke through the prophet Micah that Bethlehem Ephrathah would be the birthplace of the Messiah, He was speaking of Bethlehem of Judah, where Jesus would be born.  |  [2] Mic. 5:3 ESV  |  [3] Moreover, Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be a shepherd to His people. Not only was David a shepherd as a young boy, he was also called the shepherd of Israel. See Psalm 78:70-71.  |  [4] See 2 Sam. 7:12-16.  |  [5] Matt. 2:2  |  [6] Matt. 2:5-6, ESV (and then they quoted Micah). See also Jn. 7:42.  |  [7] Matt. 2:11 NASB  |  [8] 1 Cor. 1:26-31.