These daily devotional readings accompany the Advent at Home guide prepared by the West Park Prayer Ministry Team. If you haven’t already, download the advent scripture reading schedule here.
1 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, 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.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
5 And he shall be their peace.
2020 has been a year of bad news. Coronavirus, riots, a divided union, leadership struggles – these things have hit us hard.
701 B.C. was a year of bad news in Judah. The prophet Micah sounded the alarm, “Siege is laid against us; muster your troops!” Very soon the violent nation of Assyria was coming to invade Judah, and the people of God would be scattered abroad as they were stolen from their homeland.
But no matter the year, when we turn to our God, we find Him faithful to all His promises. And that gives us hope.
God promised to besieged Judah that He would produce for Himself a ruler for Judah from the insignificant town of Bethlehem. This small town was the original hometown of Israel’s greatest king, David. God’s promise to David that he would always have a descendent of his on the throne in Israel would one day be fulfilled by a man who would be “great to the ends of the earth.” He would gather God’s people together and shepherd them in the strength of the LORD. For God’s people He would be “their peace.” And God’s people would forever dwell secure.
These are promises of hope. We remember them this advent time as they were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He is the descendent of David the king. And while He fulfilled many of the promises about the Messiah, some of these promises are yet to be fulfilled. But that is where we place our hope today. Just as God kept His promises in Micah’s day, He will keep His promises to us. We can count on Him, and our hope is secure and solid when we place it all on God’s promises. And while the world is not yet settled, and God’s people are not yet fully secure, we know that even now Jesus is our Peace. And whether it’s 701 B.C. or A.D. 2020, that’s the best news we could ever receive.