FROM ANCIENT DAYS
The Glorious Ruler
Times are challenging, the people are tense, and there is no sense of security. Nations rise, and nations fall every day. God's people have sinned, and now troops are necessary because of a siege laid against the daughter of Zion. The identity of the one besieging Jerusalem is not given, but it probably refers to Babylon. This enemy would humiliate the judge or ruler of Israel and strike them on the cheek. Instead of this ruler being like the judges who had come before to strike the enemies of God's people, this judge would be defeated. This terrible news is followed by hope. A great ruler would come from the tiny village of Bethlehem, the house of bread. Bethlehem was small, too small in fact to be named by the cities allotted to Judah (Joshua 15:21-63) but a supreme ruler would come from this hamlet. God would intervene and send a king for his redemptive purposes. The ruler described here is no ordinary leader. This king in Israel has led Israel long ago from ancient days. Jesus, the angel of the Lord, has led Israel on many occasions. The implications of Messiah being born in Bethlehem and not in Jerusalem, the city of David, are that the family of David must have lost the throne and Israel has been invaded by her enemies. God would give his people over as he had in the past but it would be temporary, lasting until the birth of the Messiah and this would be the catalyst for the rest of his brothers to return to the people of Israel. Bethlehem’s ruler will shepherd his flock. This leader will not be lax in his keeping Israel; he will be vigilant, caring, and protective of his flock in the strength of the Lord. The exalted ruler is worthy of the throne, and his power is irresistible. He is the mighty God, and his authority comes from the Lord his God. This ruler will give security and stability to his people. Messiah's powerful reign gives people perfect peace, and his kingdom will be universal.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think God uses the small and weak things to show his power?
- How does Jesus come from God?
- How does the eternal enter time?
- Why do you think God uses the picture of a shepherd so often in scripture?
- How does Jesus give us security?
- How does Jesus establish his kingdom?
- How does one become a part of Jesus' kingdom?