Summary: Jesus wants to rule your life!
Our text teaches us several important lessons. First, we learn about MOST IMPORTANT THINGS through the Holy Bible. If you were to have read the Bethlehem Daily News on that day, you probably would have read articles about political news, financial news, weather news, even sports news. But you probably wouldn’t have read anything about a little baby who was born in a stable. It did not make the news because it wasn’t considered important enough. You have to read the Bible to learn about that. Today, 2000 years later, what was the most important event of that day? You guessed it...the birth of Jesus Christ!! Second, we learn that the MOST IMPORTANT DETAILS about ‘most important things’ can be learned by studying your Bible. When the question was asked, “Where is this child to be born?”. The answer was given by the most studios bible scholar among them. How do I know that? When is the last time you read the book of Micah? Not only had he read the book of Micah, he understood it and knew how to properly apply it! So, to learn about the most important events of life, we need to look to the Bible. To understand it in greater detail, we need to not just look to the Bible, but study it in earnest.
Let’s examine this prophecy. Micah 5:2 (KJV) says, “But thou, Bethlehem, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.” We have already learned that much can be gained by reading the Bible, paying close attention to detail. IF we’re paying close attention to detail, we learn that ‘you don’t have to be BIG to do BIG things!’. There are numerous Christian congregations across America that think they are not big enough, not gifted enough, not rich enough to do great things for God. Not true! Anyone can do great things for God, with God’s help! Also, notice what Jesus is to come to do….to ‘rule’. This comes from the Hebrew word, ‘mashal’, which literally means, “to rule, to reign, to have dominion over”. This same Hebrew word is found in Genesis 4:7, where God was talking to Cain, “if you don’t do well, sin lieth at the door (life is full of temptations, enticing us to do the wrong thing)…and you shall RULE over him (temptation to sin)”. Here we find the Bible teaches us that we are all to ‘mashal’, rule, reign, have dominion over all temptation to do the wrong thing. That is no small task. For example, Tiger Woods has had nine different coaches to help him develop his golf skills. He is currently the number one ranked golfer in the world. But, for all of his developed golf skills, with the recent developments that have surfaced about his life, we all now know he greatly lacks when it comes to ‘life skills’. Jesus came into the world, not to be a dictator ‘barking out orders’, but a ruler helping the rest of us to develop the life skills that will enable us to ‘rule’ over the temptation of sin that has the potential to harm us and multitudes of others. The word ‘mashal’, which is translated ‘ruler’ in the King James Version, is translated ‘shepherd’ in the New International Version. Jesus wants to ‘shepherd’ (perhaps a more culturally relevant word would be ‘mentor’ us into the most prosperous, enriching life possible…the abundant life!
In the Christmas story, there are four examples of temptations that can destroy us if we fail to ‘rule, reign, have dominion over’ them. Jesus wishes to help us to gain the proper life skills to help us to win our battle with these temptations. I wish to consider them with you.
First, JESUS WANTS TO HELP US RULE OVER OUR EGOS. Matthew 2:3 says, “When Herod heard these things (the news of the expected ‘birth of a king’;), he was troubled”. Matthew 2:8 continues, “Herod said, search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I may worship him also”. Herod SAID he wanted to worship him also, but God, who knew his heart, warned the wise men not to tell Herod where Jesus was. Matthew 2:16 tells us why, “Herod…slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts”. Why? Herod had an ego problem. Herod was so puffed up about his position as a leader of the people that he feared any threat to his authority. His ego problem led him to kill multitudes of innocent children, inflicting untold pain and agony on multitudes of families. Jesus wants to help us not to make ego-motivated decisions that hurt innocent people. When John the Baptist was confronted by the religious leaders of his day and asked the question, “Do you know that the one you baptized (Jesus) is now baptizing others and that he has a greater following than you?”. John replied, (John 3:30) “He must increase, but I must decrease”. The only way we will ever gain the victory over our own ego is to have an attitude that invites Jesus to come into our heart and allow him to grow a new us, by following his wise council, while the old us fades into the night!