Summary: Throughout the Old Testament, God showed bits and pieces of Christ's coming birth to the Prophets to give them hope during Israel's times of trial. How much more hope should we have in our times of trial having the full message of His birth at our disposa
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”- which means, “God with us.”
The Christmas story is one in which we have heard preached a hundred times, viewed in various plays and productions, heard bellowed by choirs and singers, and witnessed in the paintings of many great artists. We are so blessed, in the day in which we live, to be able to look back upon the fullness of Christ’s coming and proclaim the miracle of His birth.
Yet, I fear that we have become so immersed in the Christmas events that we have lost our “wonder”! And worse yet we have lost the message of Christ’s birth among the busyness, shopping and holiday parties. There is a message of hope that is being overshadowed and overlooked. A message that the O.T. prophets only had bits and pieces of, nevertheless, they found hope in the small portions they received. In the book of Matthew, the writer pulls together several quotes from Old Testament prophets that give a glimpse of this magnificent moment. No prophet is given the whole account, but just a piece of the puzzle regarding the coming of Jesus Christ. Each prophet is given a glimpse of hope in the midst of a time of distress.
When God showed the Prophet Isaiah that the virgin would be with child and they would call him Immanuel; the house of David was being attacked by the King of Aram. Isaiah 7:2 tells us:
“…so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest were shaken by the wind.”
It is in the midst of these attacks that God chose to give hope to His people by revealing the coming of their Messiah. The same is true in the times of the prophet Micah. Israel is under siege being held captive within her own walls. Israel’s rulers are being threatened, when God announces through His prophet Micah:
“But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will rule over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Micah brought a word of hope to a people under great duress. However it was not only during times when Israel was under attack from an outside enemy that God endeavored to send a message of hope, but also when their greatest enemy was themselves. In the days of Hosea the prophet, God sent him to a nation that was steeped in wickedness. He was sent to a nation that had reaped evil and eaten the fruit of deception. Nevertheless, God spoke through this mighty prophet a word of hope:
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
Each of these messages infused hope into the hearts of God’s people. Even though they did not see the event that we celebrate, the message was not lost on them. In fact, one could argue that they got more mileage from their piece of the puzzle than many of us do being able to see the whole story. The message, regardless when it was spoken remains unchanged, it is a message of hope; a message to those who are under attack from illness, marital problems and financial pressures. It is a message to those who are sieged by anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. It is a message to those who are steeped in wickedness and see no way out. It is a message to those who are being held captive by addictions, bitterness and unforgiveness.