“Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2, CSB).
Micah 5 describes a set of events that present a tragic yet hopeful prequel to the Christmas story.
Therefore, Israel will be abandoned until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of the ruler’s brothers will return
to the people of Israel.
He will stand and shepherd them
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majestic name of the Lord his God.
They will live securely,
for then his greatness will extend
to the ends of the earth (vs. 3-4).
The prophet Micah identified himself by his hometown, called Moresheth Gath, located near the border of Philistia and Judah about twenty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem. Micah prophesied during the time surrounding the tragic fall of Israel to the Assyrian Empire in 722 BC, an event he predicted in Chapter 1.
The book of Micah provides one of the most unambiguous prophecies of Christ’s birth in all the Old Testament. Some seven hundred years before Christ’s birth Micah reveals that Bethlehem is the birthplace of Messiah!
Bethlehem was well known as the hometown of David, Israel’s greatest king. Although it was never a great or influential city, God still chose it as the birthplace of the Messiah.
And, though the Messiah may come from Bethlehem, He did not begin in Bethlehem.
He is eternal. He has always existed! The Messiah is God!
The Ruler that will be born in Bethlehem is more than a political leader over Israel like King David. He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.
He is God Himself, who has come to this world, yet presenting Himself to it under the most humble of circumstances.
The Christmas story is a story of unexpected events, of counterintuitive results.
Perhaps that’s why we needed a prophet to foretell in a clear and concise way that the little, insignificant town of Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the eternal God coming to earth as a human being who would change the course of history and alter the destiny of the human race!
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14, CSB)