Micah 5:1-4 “From Ancient Days”
Today we remember Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary are forced to make journey of 60 miles or so, from Nazareth in northern Israel to Bethlehem in Southern Israel. While Jesus is to come from Nazareth God told Israel their king would come from Bethlehem. To fulfill this prophecy God arranges a census that would send Mary and Joseph on the 60-mile trip through the mountains of Israel to Bethlehem.
I seriously doubt that a 9-month pregnant Mary was saying, “Oh yes I see how this trip to Bethlehem is important, that makes my back feel a lot better.” For them the trip hardship. But they are driven by a census on a trip to fulfill Micah’s prophecy given 750 years before them. So old is the prophecy that the temple leaders have to go look it up.
We often think our lives are just a jumble of haphazard events with no rhyme or reason, certainly no great cosmic plan of God. But there is a plan, there are reasons we cannot see or even understand.
I can picture one ticked off Joseph throwing stuff into sacks and strapping them to a donkey. He may have some ideas of what the roman’s could do with their census. On the trip they go, to a crowded town with no place to stay but a stable full of animals.
You are part of God’s plan, I am part of God’s plan, at least some of our life events are part of God’s plan, even the parts we don’t like. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” So where ever we are at in life God has a plan for us.
Another thing we can get from Micah 5 is that this plan is a long term one. Micah describes Jesus as one from ancient times. Jesus predates everything on earth. John chapter 1 says Jesus is God the creator. His roll in history all mapped out before the earth began. Of course, Mary and Joseph could not see or understand this.
Your life events are not made up by God on the spur of the moment. It’s not like you wake up and God says let’s see what I can have Rick do today. No there is a plan, painted in broad strokes at least. This plan is older than the earth.
This great ancient plan takes Jesus from a stable in Bethlehem to a cross in Jerusalem, to a tomb, and to the throne of heaven. Not an easy trip.
Yet whatever the plan and the events of our lives Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that this great plan of God is for our good not our demise. His plan is to give us hope and a future. His plan is not directed at our moment but our eternity.
As we see pictures of Joseph and Mary on their journey to Bethlehem, or Jesus in a manger stall, let us remind ourselves that God is alive and well, guiding our life even in the darkest of days, to carry out a plan for our good, for our eternity.