The bigger/better problem

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned                                                                                         until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.     Micah 5

Is bigger better, newer superior? In beverages and mobile phones I suppose so, but not in things that truly matter.  Micah wrote of the unknown future and promised that out of a small and inconsequential clan a powerful ruler would come. He warned that the fruit of a plan of ancient origin would be borne that would have powerful consequences for God’s people.

Pastor/poet John Donne wrote about the surprising and perplexing way God brought this to pass in the birth of the Son of God:

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,   

Now leaves his welbelov’d imprisonment,

There he hath made himself to his intent

Weak enough, now into our world to come;

The Immensity that is the Creator has somehow fit within Mary’s womb! He who could not be contained in the entire universe is imprisoned within His mother’s body.

Seest thou, my Soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how he

Which fills all place, yet none holds him, doth lie?

Was not his pity towards thee wondrous high,

That would have need to be pitied by thee?

How is it possible that the eternal God could subject Himself to the process of human birth? To go from fertilized egg to zygote to fetus – to pass through the birth canal and to fill His lungs with air for the first time?  All to fulfill a plan prepared ages ago, almost as soon as the apple hit the ground in the garden. This pitiable newborn, totally helpless and defenseless, has made Himself so out of pity. Pity for you and me – that we should receive pity through His pitiless death.

This deserves more attention than our typical 15 second span! A fast-food faith will get very little out of this ancient story. Fight the nervous tic and your feelings to give fifteen minutes to quiet your soul and consider the Word – written and in flesh. Don’t do anything or write anything – just think! What do the verses of Scripture and the poet say? What do they mean? Who is Jesus? Who am I? I pray you will be surprised and perplexed!

Amen – let it be.

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