We are each designed for a unique and divine purpose. Live yours!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Shepherds Staying Out in the Field

"And you, oh tower of the flock, hill of Daughter Zion, to you it shall come, the former dominion shall come; the sovereignty of Daughter Jerusalem” (Micah 4:8 NRSV).

I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about the shepherds who were the first to hear of the birth of Jesus. This is a rather obscure verse from Micah, but the research I've done indicates it's really rather significant! This verse predicts the place Jesus will be born! It also explains the tremendous symbolism about that birthplace!

The shepherds to whom the angels appeared were not just any shepherds! Their responsibility was to raise the sheep intended for temple sacrifice. These sheep had to not only be protected, they also had to remain unharmed, uninjured or scarred, "perfect" to be suitable for sacrifice. To protect these special sheep, the shepherds often wrapped them in cloths.

The significance of Jesus' birthplace dates back hundreds of years. "After Jacob left Bethel he came to Edar (the tower) and there Rachel began hard labor and as she delivered Benjamin she died and was buried there in Ephratah which is Bethlehem" (Gen. 35:19).

After burying Rachel, Jacob moved his flocks beyond the tower of Edar. This would pinpoint the location as being near to what is present day Bethlehem. Clearly, this establishes that Migdal Edar, "the tower of the flock" was in Bethlehem in Bible times. [bible-truth.org]

Without wandering too far off base, the name Rachel means female sheep or ewe and "innocence of a lamb." Are you beginning to see some of the symbolism yet?

Midgal Eder (and other towers) is where shepherds brought ewes who were about to give birth, so they would be sheltered and protected and the lambs would be born in a safe and clean/pure environment. Many of the Rabbis at the time of Jesus taught that Jesus' birth would be announced from Midgal Eder!

I actually spent about an hour getting sidetracked in my research and study! This one verse has so much significance and meaning! Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and from the laboring class. He lived 700 years before the birth of Christ!

I am in absolute awe when I learn how intimately and "exactly" God has been involved in mankind since the very beginning of creation! It comforts me to know that He is, indeed in control, has a plan and a purpose for everything that happens to us. Most of all, it gives me hope! It inspires me to live life more joyfully and with greater gratitude.

"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:4-12 NIV)

Blessings on your journey,


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