BIG IDEA: CHRISTMAS SHOWS GOD FULFILLS HIS PROMISES TO HIS PEOPLE.
In a recent article in The Futurist magazine, writer Laura Lee catalogues some of the worst predictions of all time:
“Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed.” —journalist Junius Henri Browne, 1893
“It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.” —Albert Einstein’s teacher to Einstein’s father, 1895
“It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology.” —computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949
“Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years.” —Alex Lewyt, president of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company, quoted in The New York Times,June 10, 1955
“Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” —Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959
FSU would beat Clemson and Florida—not to happen.
Aren’t you glad your faith does not rest on human words but on the sure Word of God? Citation: The Futurist, (September/October, 2000),
THE AMAZING THING ABOUT GOD’S WORD IS HOW INCREDIBLY UNIFIED AND ORGANIZED IT IS. OVER 40 AUTHORS OVER 2000 YEARS, THREE CONTINENTS—ALL FOCUSED ON ONE THING—GOD’S INCREDIBLE REDEMPTIVE LOVE OF MAN.
GOD IS NOT LIKE A MAN THAT HE SHOULD LIE—GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!!!
EXPLAIN MICAH 5:2—THIS VERSE WAS THE GREAT MESSIANIC HOPE—MATT 2:6 AND JOHN 7:41-42. JEWS WERE LOOKING FOR THEIR MESSIAH TO COME FROM BETHLEHEM.
¨ OVER FOUR DOZEN MAJOR PREDICTIONS OF JESUS IN OT:
ISAIAH REVEALED THE MANNER OF THE MESSIAH’S BIRTH (OF A VIRGIN); MICAH PINPOINTED THE PLACE OF HIS BIRTH (BETHLEHEM); GENESIS AND JEREMIAH SPECIFIED HIS ANCESTRY (A DESCENDANT OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB, FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, THE HOUSE OF DAVID); THE PSALMS FORETOLD HIS BETRAYAL, HIS ACCUSATION BY FALSE WITNESSES, HIS MANNER OF DEATH (PIERCED IN THE HANDS AND FEET, ALTHOUGH CRUCIFIXION HAD NOT BEEN INVENTED YET), AND HIS RESURRECTION (HE WOULD NOT DECAY BUT WOULD ASCEND ON HIGH).
¨ EVEN WHEN YOU INTERPRET DANIEL 9:24-26—IT FORETELLS THAT THE MESSIAH WOULD APPEAR A CERTAIN LENGTH OF TIME AFTER KING ARTAXERXES I ISSUED A DECREE FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO GO FROM PERSIA TO REBUILD THE WALLS IN JERUSALEM. THAT PUTS THE ANTICIPATED APPEARANCE OF THE MESSIAH AT THE EXACT MOMENT IN HISTORY WHEN JESUS SHOWED UP
¨ IF GOD CAN FULFILL PROPHESY—HE CAN BE COUNTED ON TO FULFILL PROMISES.
¨ TAKE IT TO THE BANK—GOD’S PROMISES ARE TRUE!!!!
GOD’S PLANNING & DESIGN IS ALWAYS PERFECT WITH COMPASSION.
MICAH– The years of the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah extended from about 735 to 700 B.C. So Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and prophesied during those tragic days when Assyria conquered Samaria, took the ten northern tribes into captivity (722 B.C.), occupied Judah and besieged the holy city, Jerusalem. Samaria was the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel, and Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom, Judah.
Probably the reason the book is arranged like this is to make the point that where God and his people are concerned there is always hope, even in the darkest catastrophe.
THREE PROMISES OF GOD IN <st2:bcv_smarttag>MICAH 5:2-4
A. BETHLEHEM—the last shall be first
1. HISTORY. Dear to every Israelite was the little village of Bethlehem.
- There Rachel died. Genesis 35:16. But another woman makes this place celebrated. That woman’s name was Naomi.
- Another woman named Naomi.
- David was born there–the mighty hero who was crowned king of Israel and Judah. Bethlehem was a royal city, because the kings were there brought forth.
GOD IS PREPARING US ALL FOR SOMETHING GREAT. JER. 29:11—GOD’S IS CONFORMING US FOR HIS PURPOSES—SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
2. MEANING— “Bethlehem Ephratah.” The word Bethlehem has a double meaning. It signifies “the house of bread,” and “the house of war.” Ought not Jesus Christ to be born in
“the house of bread?” “I am the BREAD OF LIFE”—BREAD—VERY SOURCE OF LIFE. John 6:35—Jesus—I am the BREAD of life!
- I AM—Employing the name that God gave to Moses at the burning bush. Emphasizing His divinity.
- “The bread of life”—Jesus saying that He Himself is the food that nourishes spiritual life. It is only from THIS bread that we really obtain life.
- Jesus is saying—come to Him with their whole needy personality.
- No room is left for spiritual hunger and thirst after coming to Christ. Jesus is saying that people will NOT hunger after anything else once they have tasted of His good gift.
“the house of war;” because Christ is to a man “the house of bread,” or else “the house of war.” While he is food to the righteous he causeth war to the wicked, according to his own word– “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I am not come to send peace, but a sword. SWORD—WORD OF GOD
- Ephratah “fruitfulness,” or “abundance.” “If a man abide in me,” he says, “and my words abide him, he shall bring forth much fruit.” FRUIT—SUCCESS VS. SIGNIFICANCE.
3. POSITION– “little among the thousands of Judah.” Why is this?
- In 5:2, God speaks, and contrasts the littleness of the town of Bethlehem with the greatness of the ruler who will come out of her.
- Bethlehem is scarcely worth counting among the clans of Judah, yet God chooses to bring his magnificent Messiah out of this town.
- HOW SMALL—150 TO 400 PEOPLE.
- Why? One answer is that the Messiah is of the lineage of David and David was a Bethlehemite. That’s true, but it misses the point of verse two.
- The point of verse two is that Bethlehem is small.
- Why? Because when he acts this way we can’t boast in the merits of men but only in the glorious mercy of God.
- God uses little towns and youngest sons and slingshots to magnify his glory by contrast, to show that he is not the least dependent on human glory or greatness or achievement.
- 1 Corinthians 1:27-31. “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God … Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
The folklore surrounding Poland’s famous concert pianist and prime minister, Ignace Paderewski, includes this story, which though fictional provides a true image of what God does with us:
A mother, wishing to encourage her young son’s progress at the piano, bought tickets for a Paderewski performance. When the night arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on stage. Soon the mother found a friend to talk to, and the boy slipped away. When eight o’clock arrived, the spotlights came on, the audience quieted, and only then did they notice the boy up on the bench, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” His mother gasped, but before she could retrieve her son, the master appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. “Don’t quit–keep playing,” he whispered to the boy. Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.
In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and again, “Don’t quit–keep playing.” And as we do, he augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created.
Darrel L. Anderson, Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 2.
- God chose a stable so no inn-keeper might boast, “He chose my inn!”
- God chose a manger so that no wood worker could boast, “He chose the craftsmanship of my bed!”
- He chose Bethlehem so no one could boast, “The greatness of our city constrained the divine choice!”
- GOD CAN USE YOU—HE CAN TAKE YOUR BROKEN LIFE AND USE YOU IN INCREDIBLE WAYS BECAUSE HE WILL GET THE GLORY FOR IT.
- JOHN 3:30—I BECOME LESS AND HE BECOMES MORE
- GAL 2:20
- OPENING ACT OR EMCESS—JUST SHOW ME THE GROUP!!!!
- JESUS IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD
THE IMAGES OF A SHEPHERD THE ORIGINAL HEARERS HEARD WAS A PROVIDER, A PROTECTOR, A DEFENDER, AND ONE WHO IS MUCH WISER THAN WE ARE.
Everybody in this room needs a divine Shepherd. You may not feel that need now in your strength, but you will feel it keenly, especially if you have to go through the valley of the shadow of death without the comfort of his rod and staff. We need a shepherd, and God has sent Christ just for that need.
1) He will stand. He won’t lie around waiting for us to serve him. He will be on his toes, alert, working for those who chose him as their shepherd.
PHIL 2.13 2 COR. 4:16
2) He will feed his flock. JOHN 10:12-15— NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OWNER & ONE WHO IS NOT. He will not leave us to find our own food. He will lead us in green pastures and beside still waters. There will be no want unsatisfied.
“I AM NOT AIR CONDITIONING THE WORLD”
RENTING VS. OWNING
NEW HOUSE—OWNERSHIP—SEALED IN HIM
3) He will serve us in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. His good intentions for us will not be hindered by lack of strength.
GOD WILL NEVER GIVE ME MORE THAN I CAN HANDLE IS A LIE–Kevin Galey
The GREAT CHALLENGE OF LIFE IS TO COMPLETELY EMPTY OURSELVES OF OURSELVES—JOHN 3:30. The strength of the Lord is omnipotent strength. Therefore, if you are trusting in Christ, omnipotent strength is on your side. Walk like an obedient sheep behind him and he will overcome every obstacle to your purification and joy for ever.
4) He shall be great to the ends of the earth. There will be no pockets of resistance unsubdued. Our security will not be threatened by any alien forces. Every knee will bow and confess him Lord. The whole earth will be filled with his glory.
THERE IS NOTHING IN YOUR LIFE THAT HE CANNOT HANDLE. NOTHING IS A SURPRISE TO HIM. THERE IS NOTHING THAT HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT.
C. HE KEEPS HIS PROMISES, THROUGH THE DARKEST OF TIMES
- David was from Bethlehem; David was a ruler in Israel; David was a shepherd. The link between the coming Messiah and king David is the link of promise. What Micah is doing is reasserting the certainty of God’s promise to David.
- 2 Samuel 7:12-16 how God said to David, “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever … And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.”
- The amazing thing about Micah is that he reasserts the certainty of this promise not at a time when Israel is rising to power but at a time when Israel is sinking toward oblivion. He witnesses the destruction of the northern kingdom and he predicts the fall and exile of Judah.
- You can tell how firmly someone believes God’s promise by whether it gives him strength and hope when life caves in around him. And Micah, it appears, never wavered. He knew God would keep his promise.
- There are not many things in our lives that are sure and unshakable.
- “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field … The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of the Lord will stand for ever ” (Isaiah 40:6-8). God keeps his promises. And there is nothing more firm in all the world.
John 16:33– 33“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jeremiah 31:3– “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
Isaiah 26:3– 3 You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
2 Corinthians 5:17– 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Ephesians 1:13– 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Phil. 4:6-7– 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 John 1:9– 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 13:5– “Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”[
<st2:bcv_smarttag>Romans 16:20—The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.