Saturday, December 7, 2013

Advent Day 7 - Beautiful Imagery

Week of HOPE

“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

Never miss the "nuggets" - the rich treasure that the Lord communicates through His Word!

When I read and understand beyond the surface of the words, to the ways in which God's Word all ties together, I am consistently amazed!  These were ancient times when people walked days upon days to travel.  Manuscripts were copied by hand.  Not at all like today when just a few keystrokes can provide the information we seek!  

Bethlehem - means house of bread.  How appropriate that Jesus, the Bread of Life, would be born in Bethlehem, the town known as "House of Bread".

Ephrathah - means fruitfulness, to bear much fruit.  

The first reference to "Israel" appears in the encounter when Jacob wrestled with the Lord at the Jabbok River. (Genesis 32:22-32).  It was during this encounter that God changed Jacob's name to Israel, which means "he struggles with God."  Jacob was the father of twelve sons, from whom the twelve tribes of "Israel" would come.  

The Lord invites us to wrestle with Him, to struggle in understanding the depth of His love for us!

God spoke in imagery that the people would understand.

Today, if we slow down and take the time to dig, and wrestle,
He is faithful to bring us that same understanding!

The prophet Micah spoke between 750 and 686 BC, during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.  This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus' birth:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”  MATTHEW 2:1-8

My people Israel - the ones who struggle with God.

The Lord welcomes the struggle - He is gracious and compassionate.

The struggle always leads to HOPE!

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