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Daily Devotional | Out of Bethlehem

Devotions

Can you imagine a world without Christmas? In C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a character named Mr. Tumnus laments that in the land of Narnia it is “always winter, but never Christmas.” This was the reality for Micah’s audience who lived centuries before Christ came.

The Israelites had prophets and the Temple and they could interact with the Lord—that much is clear from the Old Testament. But they did not know God the way Christians on this side of the Cross can know Him. As the author of Hebrews demonstrates, Christ is better than angels (Heb. 1:5–14), better than Moses (Heb. 3:1–6), and better than any high priest (Heb. 4:14–5:10).

While Micah’s audience did not understand the full scope of what this ancient and future ruler would be and do, they rejoiced in and greatly anticipated the One who the prophet predicted would come from Bethlehem, an otherwise no-count town. The prophecy of this coming ruler also pointed to the coming celebration and relief for Micah’s audience, whom God would soon punish for its sins. As we learned earlier, God disciplines because He loves, and after His discipline, He gathers His people—the very ones He has caused to grieve (see Mic. 4:6)— to comfort them in their suffering. This promised ruler would be the consummation of God’s love for Israel—and for us.

As Micah looked forward to the ruler who would “shepherd his flock” (Mic. 5:4), followers of Christ can now rejoice because we know who this prophecy was speaking about! Through the prophet Micah, God promised this ruler, “his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe” (Heb. 1:2).

>> Next month, we celebrate Christmas. Maybe you’ve started readying your home for the holidays. As we read these prophetic passages, ask yourself how our celebration of Christ’s first coming should affect the way you interact with God and others.

Pray with Us

So many people have been taught that they are insignificant. We ask that You teach them their inherent value as Your image-bearers; may they know the One in whose image they were created.

BY Russell L. Meek

Russell Meek teaches Old Testament and hermeneutics at Moody Theological Seminary. He is a columnist for Fathom magazine and writes widely for lay and academic audiences about all things Old Testament and its relationship to the Christian life. Russell, his wife, and their three sons live in north Idaho, where you’ll find them gardening, cooking, and exploring the wild.

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