December 14, 2009: Hope in Unexpected Places and Unlikely Ways

Posted on : Dec 14th, 2009 | By | Category: Still Speaking

“As for you, Bethlehem in Ephrath,” says Yahweh, “small as you are among Judah’s clans, from you will come a ruler for me over Israel.” …[W]hen she who is in labor has given birth; the remnant of the rulers brothers and sisters will return to the people of Israel. The ruler will rise up to shepherd them in the strength of God. And they will live in security, for the ruler’s greatness will reach to the ends of the earth; and he will be the one of peace (Micah 5:2-5).

This coming Sunday will be the fourth Sunday of Advent, and in many worship services the gospel story of an angel appearing to the shepherds at night announcing the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, will be read. The well known words of praise: “Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth” will be uttered all over the world. As this fourth Sunday Advent is nearing I want to introduce you to the prophet Micah. In his day, there was no “peace on earth, goodwill to all.” The situation was grim – Judah (the Southern Kingdom of Israel) was under siege by the Assyrians, a cruel and heartless Empire. There was no hope left, only defeat and despair, yet the prophet Micah sees hope. God, he says, will send a leader to set things right. But note, this leader will come from a surprising place, an unexpected place and rule in an unlikely way. And when this One comes, then the people “will live secure.” pell grants homely.