siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.
Though their enemies are coming to destroy their cities, defile their temple, and humiliate their king, God is going to raise up for himself a King in Israel. This ruler will be born, not in a place of power but in the unimpressive town of Bethlehem. He will be the fulfillment of the ancient promises—the seed (or “offspring”) of the woman (Gen. 3:15), the blessing for all of the families of the earth (Gen. 12:3), the son of David (2 Sam. 7:12–13). Yet while born in obscurity and killed in ignominy, this King has been raised in glory (Heb. 8:1; 12:2) and will one day return in decisive triumph as a conquering and victorious King (Rev. 19:11–21).
In his ultimate victory, this King will rule over all as a Shepherd who gathers, tends, and protects his flock in the power and authority of God himself. We have already seen the nature of this King as Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who came to gather his sheep to himself (John 10:27), feed them the bread of heaven (John 6:35), and give them living water (John 4:14). He heals their wounds (1 Pet. 2:24–25) and protects them by laying down his life for them (John 10:15). They are forever secure, for he will never cast them out, and they cannot be snatched from his hand (John 6:37; 10:28). He is a Savior worthy to be trusted. Bank everything on this Good Shepherd, who is our coming King!
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.