“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.”
This is a clear and specific promise that a ruler would come forth from of old, from ancient days. So that’s not just any ruler. This is a ruler who would come who has existed long before they came. Now, who would that describe? I was born, you were born, and that’s when we came into existence. So we didn’t exist before. We weren’t from ancient days. We were from that day. That’s when we were born. So here we’ve got a promise of one who’s coming from ancient days and would come to rule and be born in Bethlehem.
Jesus is a perfect ruler who has always been and forever will be. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death. He came to save people from every tribe and tongue.
This is one of those places in the Old Testament that we see a specific promise that one would come from ancient days to be born in Bethlehem. This is a clear picture of the promise of Jesus. And not just that he would come, but where he would be born. And to think about where he was born, you go all the way back even to, well, what we saw in the Book of Ruth where Bethlehem was the place where God showed himself as redeemer in that story and brought about King David’s grandfather. So now Bethlehem is the place where King David’s great, great, great, great, great whatever grandson, Jesus, would be born. From ancient days. This is unlike any other baby ever born. A ruler in Bethlehem from ancient days. This is Jesus.
So we pray in awe of the incarnation. Jesus God made flesh. Oh, God. This is mind-boggling. Baffling. That you the creator of the world would come to the world as a baby. As a baby born in Bethlehem. You have existed forever. You are timeless. Eternal. You had no beginning. Yet you chose to come in the form of a baby. This is beyond our comprehension. And leads us to ask the question why. And we know the answer. You came to save us from our sins. You came to pay the price. Jesus, for our sins, to live fully human. Fully God. Totally victorious over sin. To offer your life as a substitute sacrifice for sinners. To rise from the dead in victory over sin. Jesus, there is no one like you. From ancient of days, promised centuries before, born as a baby, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven. We exalt you. Jesus, we worship you. Especially during this Advent season when there is so much temptation to focus on so many other things. We fix our eyes, our attention, our affection on you with wonder and awe. You are glorious beyond comprehension. And we worship you. And we want you to be worshiped among all peoples.
God we pray for the spread of Jesus glory. Among all peoples. I think specifically about so many Muslims in the world who think it preposterous that God would become a man. Offensive even. Oh, God. I’m praying that you would open many other eyes to the wonder, the truth, the beauty, the love that you have not left us alone in our sin. That you have come to us. God, we pray for the spread of this good news. Specifically among our Muslim neighbors, and friends, and coworkers, and among the nations. God, please. Please, please open eyes. That more and more Muslims specifically might see the beauty and love and grace you show in coming to us. Oh, Jesus, we exalt you. We praise you. You are God in the flesh. And we worship and follow you. In your name we pray. Amen.
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