Traveling the Hill Country 12/20/15
Micah 5:2-5, Luke 1:39-46
Background to Micah
--his name means: Who is like God?
--prophesies during the Late 700’s, includes predictions of
in 722, and judgment of the people Samaria
during Hezekiah’s rule in 700.
--3 Eras of Prophets: Assyria,
--Other Assyrian era prophets: Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah
--His 3:12 prophesy is quoted by people defending Jeremiah
During Advent, we remember two comings, that first coming of Jesus, when he was born in a cave outside of Bethlehem, as well as the second coming of Jesus, at the end of the age, when he reveals himself as King of kings and Lord of lords, glorious and One with the Father.
Micah proclaims that it is this small clan of
out of which the Messiah will proceed.
It is out of smallness that the ultimate power of God will come. Strength comes not from the big city of Bethlehem Jerusalem, but rather, the small town of . Bethlehem
The Messiah’s lineage can be traced to this small town.
will be exalted
because out of it is born the Savior.
The Messiah from Bethlehem Bethlehem will rule over
and his origins are from eternity. The
modern translation says “from of old, from ancient times”, but it really means
‘before the creation’, and the same exact phrase is used in Proverbs 8:22-23,
when wisdom proceeds to humanity from eternity. Israel
C.F. Keil reminds us “man is bound to time and in his mode of thought, can only picture eternity as time without end”
(Keil, Commentary on the OT: Minor Prophets. Eerdmans,
Eternity is not only time without end, but also time without beginning. The Messiah that is comes out of
The Messiah enters human history by way of the small town of
One thousand years before the Messiah came by way of this small town, a young shepherd named David watched over the fields outside
. He was destined to Bethlehem , anointed King by Samuel after
being called in from the fields. Jerusalem
And there was also a cave outside the
Inn. This cave was used as a stable.
The Messiah would come to rule the world, by way of
. The Messiah would shepherd his people with
strength. The sheep would be
secure. The Shepherds greatness would
reach the ends of the earth. The
Shepherd would be their peace. Bethlehem
The Messiah is from the family line of David the King. David could not fulfill God’s justice, though he did love God with all of his heart. The Messiah would come to rule the world; with truth and grace. He would be our peace.
The teenaged Mary meets older
the hill country. She endured the
difficult travel to meet her relative. Elizabeth praises Mary,
for being chosen by God, and for believing in God’s word and God’s promise. Elizabeth
Mary was blessed to be the mother of the Messiah. She was blessed because she believed what the Lord had said to her, and that the Lord, the Strong Shepherd of his people, had the power to do what he said.
Mary and Elizabeth become models for our faith. Elizabeth, and John the Baptist growing within her, are filled with the Holy Spirit when they encounter Jesus. They proclaim with loud voice the wonders of God, the blessing of living in his ways, and she blesses Mary. Mary is a model because she trusts in God. She remains humble and glorifies the Lord, not herself.
Mary traveled to the Hill Country. We too, travel there. Hill Country provides several images for our faith: hills are not without slippery slopes, and have an element of danger to them. Their heights offer perspective, and a deep sense of beauty. You need stamina to climb the hills.
As Christians, our lives, when lived faithfully, are not without potential difficulty and danger. Christian faith does provide perspective and a sense of beauty not offered by godlessness and faithlessness. And you do need to be strong to be a Christian, it requires endurance, perseverance, and courage.
Those who have faith enough to travel to the Hill country will meet Jesus Christ there. Jesus’ birth and death, take place in the Hill Country. The defining moments of human history take place on a hill.
Long ago, the hills surrounding
hosted sheep, and shepherds, like David.
The hills watched throughout the generations as travelers passed
by. The hills welcomed the Messiah as he
was born in that little town of Bethlehem . The House of Bread gave the bread of life to
the world. Bethlehem
Some 300 years after the life of Christ, a famous Christian named Jerome spent the last 30 years of his life in
Like Jerome, we should go to the place of Christ’s birth. It is this wondrous story that leads us to salvation.
Like Jerome, we must spend time interacting with the Word of God, in human flesh Jesus, and in print, the Bible. This word has the power to save and transform all human life, as well as all life throughout the cosmos.
Like Jerome, we should seek to understand God’s word in such a way that we can also translate to the common person. Are we pointing people to the bread of life? Do we walk alongside friend and neighbor and co-worker in order to point them to the Hill Country, where they too might seek and find Jesus Christ?
Are we traveling the Hill Country? If so, we too will see and know the Messiah, Jesus Christ, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, King of kings, Lord of Lords.