God With Us, Our Hope and Our Redemption
Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you, or that He somehow is not aware of the details of what you are facing? That is of course a rhetorical question. I don’t know that I have ever met a person of faith who hasn’t at one time, or another felt that way. Often, it is only in retrospect that we can see how the hand of the Lord was working on our behalf, and for His glory in those moments.
This week as I was preparing my message for Sunday, I was brought back to the story of Jesus’s birth. I began to wonder about the emotions of Joseph and Mary as they entered Bethlehem – Mary most likely already in labor. The way I have always seen this portrayed in film, and in just about every retelling of the Christmas story has felt so precarious and hap hazard; Joseph and Mary knocking on doors desperately searching for a place to deliver the Messiah. If I can be so bold, it has always felt a bit inconsiderate of God to give these two such an enormous responsibility, but to leave the details to chance like that, subtly communicating something about the heart of God that seems inconsistent with what scripture continually speaks about His character.
Did God really leave the details of where His only begotten Son was born to chance? If that were true, then it leaves me, and probably most of us with the feeling that if he isn’t intentional with those details, why should we ever believe that He would be mindful of the details of our lives, or the struggles that we individually are facing?
Thankfully, as we dive into the scriptures, we see the reality that the Lord is always mindful and working in the details.
The Lord Knew The Details
In the book of Micah, a prophetic book written roughly 700 years before the birth of Jesus, we see a prophecy (Micah 5:2-5) understood by scholars to be foretelling the birth of Jesus. However, just before this passage in chapter 4, we see this obscure verse:
And you, O tower of the flock,
hill of the daughter of Zion,
to you shall it come,
the former dominion shall come,
kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.
The “Tower of the Flock”, or Migdal Eder, was a place where the lambs born for sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem were inspected for any “spot or blemish” and then wrapped in cloth to protect them from blemish or danger. The shepherds in this area would have been no ordinary shepherds, but those specifically who served the temple and the sacrificial system and were told by the angles “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12) They would have known exactly where to go to find Jesus, the Lamb of God, without spot or blemish.
God was very intentional with the details. In fact, God had been orchestrating this moment, His mission to redeem us, from the moment that Adam and Eve disobeyed Him in the Garden of Eden, and the first prophecy of pointing to Jesus was uttered by the Father to broken humanity. This speaks two truths that I hope we can grab hold of today;
- The moment that sin entered in to our world, God began work towards our redemption.
- There is no sin or brokenness that we can commit or experience the consequence of that is outside God’s ability to redeem.
As we walk through this Christmas season, with all the uncertainty and chaos of the world, marred by sin, around us, let us never lose sight that Jesus is our source of hope, and He is our Redeemer.