In the 8th century BCE, Micah prophesied against Jerusalem (referred to as Zion) and its leaders. As the Assyrian army approached, Micah saw these conquerors as God’s punishment for Israel’s failure to enact mercy and justice for both their own people and for the rest of the world. According to Micah, Jerusalem would lie in ruins and its leaders humiliated.
These verses promise that death and destruction will not have the last word. Just as the pains of labor lead to a new birth, so shall the suffering of Israel. A new type of leader will be raised up – one who has humble beginnings and cares for people in the same way a shepherd cares for sheep. This leader will nurture, guide, and protect the ones entrusted to him. As followers of Jesus, we cannot help but hear these words as a reference to his birth and as people who are living in our own fearful times, these are promising words for us.
In the Christmas carol O Little Town of Bethlehem, we sing, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” What hopes and fears are occupying your heart and mind this year? How might remembering the Good Shepherd who was born in the little town of Bethlehem help you to ‘live secure’?
Today, offer a prayer of peace for our world.