Sunday, December 18, 2016

700 Years Before Birth of Christ, Micah Prophesies This Supernatural Event Would Happen in Bethlehem



[a]Marshal your troops now, city of troops,
    for a siege is laid against us.
They will strike Israel’s ruler
    on the cheek with a rod.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans[b] 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.”
Therefore Israel will be abandoned
    until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
    to join the Israelites.
He will stand and shepherd his flock
    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.

---Micah 5:2-5



BUT IT TOOK CENTURIES, MILLENNIA before the angel came to Mary and told her about the child she was to bear, and she sung, 'He has...remembered to be merciful to Abraham...just as he promised our ancestors.' (Luke 1:54-55)  The promise was a long time in coming!  In fact, in the four hundred years before Christ was born no prophets were sent to the people, let along a messiah.  It looked like God had forgotten them.  No one was coming, it seemed.  But then he came.

You cannot judge God by your calendar.  God may appear to be slow, but he never forgets his promises.  He may seem to be working very slowly or even to be forgetting his promises,  but when his promises come true (and they all will come true), they always burst the banks of what you imagined.

This is one of the main themes of the nativity story, and indeed the Bible.  Look at the story of Joseph in the Old Testament (the brother with the coat of many colors who got  sold by his other brothers into slavery and taken to Egypt).  For years it seemed like God was ignoring Joseph's prayers, letting him experience one disaster after another.   But in the end it became clear that every one of those things had to happen in order for all to be saved.  Joseph was even able to say to his brothers, who had sold him into slavery, 'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.' (Genesis 50:20) Look at Jesus, being called to heal a fatally ill girl but stopping to deal with someone else instead and allowing Jairus's daughter to die.  His timing seemed completely wrong----until it became clear that it wasn't (and Jesus raised the young girl from the dead!) (Mark 5:21-43).

God's grace virtually never operates on our time frame, on a schedule we consider reasonable.  He does not follow our agendas or schedules......

----Keller, Hidden Christmas,  excerpts pages 34-36

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