A Redeemer from Bethlehem
Open Your Bible
Micah 5:2-5, Numbers 24:17, Ruth 4:11–17, Luke 2:4, John 7:40-44
BY Guest Writer
Can you remember a time when you didn’t rely on digital navigation? I remember the disorienting feeling of needing directions during my childhood summer family road trips. Although my dad has an impressive sense of direction, we would occasionally get lost. We’d pull our car into a rest area (or better yet a Dairy Queen), and unfold the crumpled, unwieldy paper map across the dashboard. My children can’t imagine such inefficient, old-fashioned practices. Now, we depend on digital apps to get us where we’re going and back home again.
Yet, we still need direction. Like Hansel and Gretel in Grimm’s fairy tale, we need a trail of breadcrumbs to lead us back home. In both massive and small ways, we all get lost in life. Throughout the books of the Bible, God unfolds a roadmap of sorts, gives us directions, introduces us to people and places along the way, and reveals our ultimate destination.
In Micah 5, we pick up the trail of breadcrumbs in ancient Israel about 700 years before the birth of Jesus. At this time, God’s chosen nation of Israel is not flourishing—it is floundering. The people are internally wrecked by sin and unfaithfulness to God and His commands. What’s more, they are externally threatened by foreign attacks. The brokenness is profound and painful.
Micah’s prophetic words are full of judgment and woe, yet he punctuates his message with hope; all is not lost, because a redeemer will be born! Micah makes the unlikely prediction that in the small, seemingly insignificant town of Bethlehem, a savior-ruler will emerge. He will “shepherd them in the strength of the LORD, in the majestic name of the LORD his God” (Micah 5:4). In other words, He will be fully aligned and faithful to God, not alienated and rebellious like Israel. This Redeemer will rule in power and will extend the very peace of God.
Even though Israel was rejecting God and suffering the devastating consequences of their choice, God continued to preserve His people and provide a gracious path of deliverance. Through the words of the prophet Micah, God announced the birth of not only the hope of Israel, but the hope of the world: Jesus, our eternal hope, ruler and Redeemer.
This trail of breadcrumbs has us looking back to the little town of Bethlehem, which literally means “the house of bread.” And God’s navigation leads us forward to Jesus, the bread of life (John 6:35). Is it a coincidence that these breadcrumbs lead us back to the house of bread? Is it a coincidence that they direct us forward to Jesus, who is the bread of life? Of course not! God strings these details together to make it undeniably clear where we can go when we’re lost and hungry. By pointing us to Jesus, our Redeemer from Bethlehem, God is showing us the way home.
Patti Sauls lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband Scott and daughters, Abby and Ellie, where they serve alongside the people of Christ Presbyterian Church. Prior to living in Nashville, the Sauls planted churches in Kansas City and Saint Louis and served at New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church. A trained speech therapist, Patti also enjoys serving behind the scenes, hiking with friends, and reading good books.