“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” – Micah 5:2
His birthplace was foretold. Nearly 750 years before Jesus was born, Micah the prophet recorded God’s words to a little, insignificant village in Judah: Bethlehem. When the wise men asked where the Messiah would be born, Herod’s scholars immediately turned to Micah’s text (Matthew 2:4-5). Later as He walked among the people of Israel, when people debated whether Jesus was the Messiah, they referred again to the prophet’s words concerning Bethlehem (John 7:41-42).
But the prophet also spoke of the Messiah’s mission. He would be a “Ruler” of God’s people, His activities (“goings forth”) flowing from a timeless past (“from of old, from everlasting“)… Micah was describing no ordinary man! And He would be no ordinary ruler, either.
There is no question that the kingdom of God is coming and will be fully expressed at His Second Coming (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). But what about now?
The kingdom Jesus preached…
- is “at hand” – immediately accessible to His hearers (Matthew 4:17);
- is something someone must desire or “seek” (Matthew 6:33);
- is received with the simple trust and dependent heart of a child (Luke 18:17); and
- requires a new birth (an internal, spiritual renewal from God) in order to enter it (John 3:3, 5).
Jesus demonstrated the kingdom — or the active rule of God — by casting out demons, healing the sick, and quieting killer storms (Matthew 12:28). But He did not come to simply rule over nature. Nor did the “Ruler” prophesied by Micah strive to exert raw power, forcing all humanity into submission.
No, Jesus came to rule your heart… a place you voluntarily yield to Him.
In the early part of the eighteenth century, Philip Doddridge wrote these verses:
Hark the glad sound, the Saviour comes, the Saviour promised, long; let every heart prepare a throne, and every voice a song.
Doddridge writes, “Let every heart prepare a throne.” In the ancient world, the symbol of an empty throne was found among many different religions. From Zeus to Buddha, the vacant seat of authority was a way of describing a power greater than self. In the ancient mosaics of the early and medieval church, the hetoimasia, or “prepared throne,” was a way of depicting the place where Jesus was to come and rule.
In your heart, are you sitting on the throne? Or have you stepped aside and prepared the throne of your heart for the “Ruler” born in Bethlehem?
It’s His rightful place… and your way to a very personal and powerful Christmas Revolution!
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