“And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.”
I remember watching a late-night movie on Channel 13 many years ago, back when the station still ran the “Million-Dollar Movie” between 1 and 3 AM. There wasn’t much memorable about the movie (I think it was Christmas Lilies of the Field) except for the big musical number at the end – a version of the African-American Spiritual “Children, Go Where I Send Thee.” It’s an add-on song, like “There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly” or “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The song ends every verse with:
“One for the little-bitty baby,
Born, born, born in Bethlehem.”
If all we get out of Micah chapter 5 is that the baby Jesus would be “born, born, born in Bethlehem,” we’ve missed the bulk of the announcement. Micah doesn’t simply predict that the Messiah would be from the lineage of King David and would be born in Bethlehem, he goes on to tell us about the character of the Messiah and what he would come to do. And the things he came to do should astound us, like they would have astounded Micah’s contemporaries. Those who were taken away in captivity would be brought back. God’s people would never again have to fear defeat because their king would defend them. The ends of the earth would know the Messiah’s name and his power.
We don’t have to simply spiritualize these things away to say that they’ve happened. Jesus’ arrival was the end of the exile of Israel. God’s people – those who believe in Jesus, the Messiah – never have to fear defeat because Jesus has won the victory. This doesn’t mean that everything in life will go smoothly; far from it! But it means that we can look to our good shepherd who rules in majesty for strength. He has given us the privilege of announcing to the ends of the earth that he rules and reigns over all things and is returning in glory to be our peace.