Are you a detail-oriented person? Some people are, some people aren’t, and some people—like me—can be if it’s something they care about. Did you know God cares about the details? All the way back in the writings of the prophet Micah, He left us specific details about a ruler who would be coming.
Micah 5:2 says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” This ruler of Israel is Jesus. Even though this verse was written hundreds of years before Jesus came, Micah says the promised ruler would be born in Bethlehem… and that’s exactly where Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1).
Even more specific than that, Micah outlines that He would come from Bethlehem Ephrathah. There were two different cities called Bethlehem—one in the north, near Nazareth, and one in the south, near Jerusalem. Bethlehem Ephrathah is the one near Jerusalem, and it had special significance as the town of David (Luke 2:4). Joseph, Jesus’s earthly father, was a descendent of David, and that’s why Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem when Caesar decreed that everyone must be registered in a census.
Isn’t it amazing how God works through all the details to unfold His great story? Micah described a ruler who would come from Bethlehem Ephrathah and “shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord” (Micah 5:4). Approximately 700 years later, Jesus revealed that He is the Good Shepherd, who “lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Since Jesus died for us and rose from the grave, everyone who puts their trust in Him gets to look forward to the day our great Ruler-Shepherd will return, and we “will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth” (Micah 5:4). And even now, we can rest knowing that God cares about every detail—in the Bible and in our lives. • Kimberly Brokish
• How can looking at Old Testament promises help us understand who Jesus is and what His life, death, and resurrection mean for us? (If you want to know more, check out our “Know Jesus” page.)
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2 (NIV)