As we read through the Old Testament prophecies of Scripture, we are reminded that it has always been set in stone that an everlasting ruler would emerge from Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 proclaims, as if announcing from the rooftops to reach the ears of the city, “Out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
With this bold proclamation, it’s clear that God designed the news of this birth not to be kept a secret but to be spread throughout the land with confidence. Yes, the Anointed One, told to be trickling down from the Davidic line, was indeed coming, to save Israel from what they could not bear themselves. Imagine what waiting felt like during the prophets’ times—the Ancient of Days was on his way, after all. Curious believers and dreamers alike must have lived with great anticipation. What will this King be like? What wisdom, they might have wondered, will he bless us with to then carry us out of exile? How would this King make himself known when he finally did come?
In keeping with his nature, Jesus takes on the mantle of a chief shepherd who graces his sheep with the sweet presence of strength and safety. There is something deeply calming about having a Savior who guides me like a shepherd does sheep—in the way I should go instead of the way I imagine best. We are all “prone to wander” from the safe path and away from his heart, as the hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" puts it so vulnerably.
The Shepherd would cover Israel with his disposition of majesty and honor in the Father’s name. He would stand steadfast as the ultimate overseer of their lives, ushering them bravely and boldly into everlasting pastures. This was something God’s people not only longed for but desperately needed—a safe haven that would provide them rest. Micah 5:4 reassures us of the holy safeguard Christ will bring: “And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.”
As his sheep, we have been given a bountiful lot of prosperity and protection. What’s more, inhabitants of this land will find that the Chief Shepherd “will be our peace” (v. 5). What does this look like? We might imagine a herd of docile sheep resting freely under a shady tree as he stands with staff in hand, ensuring total serenity in his care. His peace ushers eternal shalom into every avenue of life. Not even Israel’s opposing forces of Assyria on all fronts would be able to penetrate the gate (v. 5). Truly, there is no safer place than to be wrapped up in the loving ownership of our Creator to flourish in fields, unthreatened forever.
Alexis Ragan is a creative writer and ESL instructor, passionate about global missions.
This article is part of The Eternal King Arrives, a 4-week devotional to help individuals, small groups, and families journey through the 2023 Advent season . Learn more about this special issue that can be used Advent, or any time of year at http://orderct.com/advent.
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