Advent_165

Micah: A Certain Hope

Ryan Allred (Pastor | Partner Development)

Are you a planner? You know planners – those boring people who tend to suck all of the spontaneity out of life. Planners can’t just let things happen. Instead life, even “fun”, is calculated and measured. Those on the more spontaneous side spend a good bit of time snickering and mocking planners, and rightfully so. They are easy targets, for they work to solve problems that may not ever actually become real problems. Planners just want to be prepared with in case they do.

If you don’t know already, I’m a planner. And that’s probably an understatement. I could run a clinic on planning. Hannibal Smith makes my heart leap when he says to the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Hannibal led the A-Team from the 80’s TV show with the most outrageous plans, ridiculous plans. But his plans always worked. Always. I love that guy! We’re tight, Hannibal and I.

As much as I still have an infatuation with Hannibal’s ability to concoct the perfect plans, I have to be honest. As the years go by I realize more and more that my plans really aren’t that important. They may or may not work. Shoot, they may or may not address a real problem (and not just a problem I imagined). No, my plans really aren’t worth that much, especially when compared to what God promises. You see, I plan for what I hope to bring about, but God promises what will come to pass, and there’s a significant difference.

Seven-hundred years before the first Christmas, the prophet Micah was giving a scathing indictment of the injustice in the land. People didn’t love God, so they were unjust to their neighbors. It was really that simple. But in the midst of his rebuke he also gave hope. He spoke of a coming kingdom that would be ruled in justice and holiness. And as a sign of this coming kingdom, Micah gives this nugget:

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 origin is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 5:2)

Micah promises a coming King to be born in a specific city that nobody cared about. This would be like predicting the Messiah was to be born in Alquina, Indiana. What, you haven’t heard of Alquina? That’s my fathers hometown, near Connersville, Indiana. You haven’t heard of Connersville either? It’s really no surprise. My father’s high school graduating class had 10 people in it. He was both the valedictorian and the entire top 10% of his class! Alquina is a tiny farming community, much like Bethlehem. It’s a place nobody has ever heard of.

Bethlehem’s obscurity gives credence to God’s authority. God is so certain in his plan to bring Jesus from Bethlehem that he predicts it 700 years in advance. In reality Micah’s “prediction” isn’t really a prediction. It’s a prophesy. And God’s “plan” isn’t really a plan. It’s a promise. It’s going to happen. Count on it.

So when you sing about the city of Bethlehem this Christmas, think about God’s promises. And when you think about his promises, think about how they compare to your fragile plans. Even the most spontaneous among us have some plans, hopes, and dreams. But nobody’s plans, not even the plans of control-freak planning expert like me, compare to God’s promises. And for that I’m thankful. For if the redemption of the world was riding on my ability to plan, we’d all be in bad shape. But the fate of world doesn’t rest in my hands. It securely rests in the arms of God’s promises.

Post Series: Advent 2015

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