Thursday, December 29, 2011

Front row seat to history

Luke 2:8 8In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

As we are beginning to wind down our month long focus on the biblical account of Christ's birth in Bethlehem, we want to consider today the place of the shepherds in the Christmas story.  We have noted throughout this past month that many prophecies from the Old Testament spoke to every detail surrounding the coming of the Savior - the shepherds being no exception.

What is special about our shepherd friends in the fields outside of Bethlehem is the fact they were predicted to be on the "front row" of the appearance and announcement of the Savior.

The Bible predicted the Shepherds would be the first to hear of His coming
Micah was a prophet of Israel who lived over 700 years before the record that we read of in Luke 2.  In Micah 4:8, we read this prophecy: “As for you, tower of the flock, Hill of the daughter of Zion, To you it will come—  Even the former dominion will come, The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem."  The place called "tower of the flock" was located right outside of Bethlehem where Christ would be born.

The significance of otherwise insignificant people
This particular spot would be where the Shepherds of Israel would lead and feed their flocks.  Shepherds were considered the lowest people on the social ladder.  In fact, Shepherds were so despised that their testimony was not accepted in a court of law.  However there was one very important job these Shepherds had - raising all of the sheep that would be used in the sacrificial system in the temple in Jerusalem.  In the eyes of men, these Shepherds were the lowest and least important.  Yet in the eyes of God, they would play a key role in prophetic history.

Christmas' front row seat
Micah writes in his prophecy that, concerning this location of the "Tower of the Flock", "To you it will come".  When we come to Luke 2:8, we see the fulfillment of Micah's words.  For the angelic host suddenly appeared in the fields where they were watching their flocks by night.  Those famous words were spoken: "Unto you this day is born, in the city of David, the Savior, Christ the Lord.". 

Those who were raising lambs for the Spring slaughter would be the first to hear of the coming of the Lamb of God.  These who were but paupers in the sight of men were treated as prinices.  They had hearts of faith.  The hearts of the priests and teachers of the law had been hardened by religious tradition. Yet the hearts of these men, who were never allowed to walk in the temple that they raised sheep for, would be the first human beings outside of the family of Mary and Joseph, to hear of the birth of the Savior.  They were treated to History and Eternity's front row seat. 

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