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What the birth of the Messiah says about the Unchanging LORD

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Luke 2:8–11 KJV 1900
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Title: What the Birth of the Messiah says about the Unchanging LORD

Question: What does the birth of Jesus reveal about you? What does Christmas day reveal about you?
There are many movies that have been made to reveal what some people think Christmas is about?
For example:
In the story of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” there are several observations REVEALED.
(1) the grinch is this “who-creature” who hates Christmas
(2) Cindy Lou-Who is a young “who-girl” who is tired of the hustle and bustle and materialism of Christmas.
Ultimately, the movie reveals that Christmas is not about things but about people. The Grinch changes to become a loving “who-creature” with a bigger heart.
In the “Elf” it’s revealed that Christmas is not about a career, as Buddy’s father, seemed to be living for. It’s revealed that Christmas is about happiness and being with those who you love.
All of the Christmas movies reveal something about the belief’s of the writers and producers. Some reveal that Christmas is about cheerfulness. Some reveal that Christmas is about being with family. Some reveal that Christmas is about peace.
While many of these things are good, none of them are quite right. The question is what does the birth of Jesus tell us about God?
Text:
Luke 2:8–11 KJV 1900
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
We’ve often heard this passage. Note the “City of David” - it is here, in Bethlehem that the Saviour was born. First, David was the sweet songwriter, singer of Israel. He was also the king that God used to deliver Israel. We have to rewind 1,000 years to really understand why Israel would need a Saviour or a Deliverer.
After David was king in Israel, his son became king [Solomon]. Solomon’s reign ultimately ended and Rehoboam ruled in Israel. This was the grandson of King David. It was during the rule of Rehoboam that the kingdom was divided, into a North & South Kingdom - not unlike the North and South of the USA.
Each kingdom had their own kings. Each kingdom had their own capital city. In spite of the distinctions between the kingdoms, both of the kingdoms willfully rebelled against God. In spite of this rebellion, God was compassionate.
2 Chronicles 36:15 KJV 1900
And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
2 Chronicles 36:15–16 KJV 1900
And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
Three of those prophets were Isaiah, Amos, and Micah. Please remember that these men were not always preaching at the best times of the kingdom. These three men were preaching during the time that the Kingdom of the North were getting ready to be destroyed by another world power: the Assyrians. His ministry is roughly 700 - 750 years before the time of Jesus Christ.
There were two primary problems that Micah has to address: (i) Idolatry -
2 Kings 17:7–12 KJV 1900
For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger: For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
(ii). Secondly, there were sins among the ruling, religious class of the people (incl. king) -
Micah 3:9–11 KJV 1900
Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, And princes of the house of Israel, That abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. They build up Zion with blood, And Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, And the priests thereof teach for hire, And the prophets thereof divine for money: Yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? None evil can come upon us.
Notice how the Lord summarizes what his people did:
2 Kings 17:17 KJV 1900
And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
This may not seem like a big deal to you, but Israel was God’s redeemed people. This means that God purchased them, but now these purchased people are selling themselves to do evil. It is as if Israel is completely blind to their situation. They do not see their current position, and God is sending prophets with the intention that they would turn from their sin.
As Micah begins his message to these people, he emphasizes two important theological truths about the LORD:
(1.) God is sovereign -
Micah 1:2 KJV 1900
Hear, all ye people; Hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: And let the Lord God be witness against you, The Lord from his holy temple.
He does this by opening his message and pointing to Israel’s accountability before God. The LORD God is on the witness stand against you.
(2) God is unbending or unchanging:
This particular attribute is unfolded throughout the messages of Micah. God is shown to be unchanging in several aspects: both punishment and provision. - God is holding them to their covenantal relationship established when they came out of Egypt.
Exodus 20:3–6 KJV 1900
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
And so Micah is preaching with the intention that these people would know their accountability to God and God’s unchanging nature. With this in mind, we read our primary text in
Micah 5:1–4 KJV 1900
Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: He hath laid siege against us: They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, Until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: Then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; And they shall abide: For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
Again, Micah preaches this with the intention that the hearers would understand their accountability to an unchanging, sovereign LORD. And so it is this morning, that the reference to this birth of Jesus Christ was first given by a preacher with the intention that the original hearers would know that they are accountable and stand before a sovereign LORD who is unchanging. He is unchangeably committed to certain truths, and when we see what the LORD is unchangeably committed to, this should change our course of faith and ultimately our course of action.
In other words, the prophecy of Jesus was not given to people who were
worshipping God
sacrificing for God
The prophecy was first given
yielded to God
loving God
The prophecy that a Savior would come was given to people who had turned from God, with the intention that they would see:
God is worthy to be worshipped
God is unchanging
God is committed to His glory
God is committed to His covenant
God is the sovereign who deserves to be praised
Proposition:
And so I urge you today to set your hearts upon the Lord today. Know who the LORD is, and what He is committed to. Do not let the fog of the season cloud your view of the LORD!

1. The Unchanging LORD is committed to an Unwavering Penalty -

Micah 5:1 KJV 1900
Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: He hath laid siege against us: They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
(i) Micah’s message has to inform Israel of their current position.
“daughter of troops” - is a phrase that notes Israel as a military city. It is a statement of irony as this military city is now sieged.
“smite the judge of Israel” - this is speaking about the current king of Israel at the time of Micah. The king was often viewed as having a judicial capacity.
“with a rod upon the cheek” - this was the ultimate form of humiliation in this culture. It was a sign of utter disrespect and embarrassment.
(ii) Israel is evidently unaware of how serious their current position is. It is as though Micah has to preach to them to help them become self-aware of how serious their situation is.
Illustration:
A young girl was playing outdoors near her home in South America. As she was playing a Jaguar attempted to attack her and take her for his meal. Fortunately, the young girl was spared and survived that encounter with only a scratch on her foot. Three weeks later, the Jaguar spotted the young girl playing outside again. This time the Jaguar was more successful. The animal clamped down upon the girls skull, crushing it in multiple places. The young girl was rushed to the hospital and after many surgeries, survived but not without clear damage of the attack.
So it is with many today, the allure of play quickly causes us to forget about impending danger. The LORD is not like some Jaguar in the bushes. The LORD is righteous and just. The LORD gives opportunity and warning, but often people are willfully unaware of their situation.
The LORD has spoken in two cosmic ways: (i) The Law - it was given to show our position of embarrassment before God. There is none righteous. The Law manifests the perfect holiness of God. (ii) God has spoken in the ultimate way - Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was openly humiliated, not to show how sinful he was; but to show how committed God is to the penalty of sin. God is so committed that He still required the penalty, and so Jesus Christ became sin “for us.”

2. The Unchanging LORD is committed to an Unimaginable Provision -

Micah 5:2 KJV 1900
But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
(i) Ephratah was the region where Bethlehem was located. Bethlehem was a burial place. Though it meant the “house of bread”, it is where Rachel was buried. (the wife of Jacob).
(ii) “be ruler” Micah gives a contrast to the rulers of this time.
(iii) Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting
(iv) Israel, in many ways, was depending upon the popular. Israel’s ignorant expectations needed to be exposed and confronted. This is what Micah is doing.
What was popular at the time was for a country to make a league with another country for protection. Israel had attempted to make a league with Egypt. Another thing that was popular at the time was to sacrifice your children to the gods for the sake of prosperity or favor with the gods.
(ii)
What we see is that the LORD is committed, not only to justice, but the LORD is committed to providing a way of deliverance.
Illustration:
Surprises are great. One of my favorite surprises ever given or done for me was when one day I was asleep on our couch. I don’t remember the occasion, but I was awaked with my wife putting a small puppy on my chest. It had not entered my mind that this would happen; but I was so thrilled.
As Micah is preaching, he is showing the the Lord would provide a deliverer and this would not come from anything else they had hoped in. Today, we have many things we hope in, though we don’t necessarily call them saviors - we treat them like they are our saviors. We live our lives in worship of functional saviors. We give our best to these functional saviors.
* For some, it would seem that a particular relationship with a boy or girl is a savior as if that is all they need.
* Others, the success of the American economy is a functional savior
* Still others, your grandchildren have become functional saviors
* For some, athletic success has become a functional savior
* Others, the pursuit of personal pleasure is your functional savior
* Others, your physical health is your deliverer
Please know and believe that your savior is only found in the Person of Jesus Christ. Your money will run out, your relationships will falter; your health with fail; but Jesus Christ is the everlasting Savior. So, please don’t believe the lie that causes you to live for any of these things as ultimate.

3. The Unchanging LORD is committed to Undeserved Patience -

Micah 5:3–4 KJV 1900
Therefore will he give them up, Until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: Then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; And they shall abide: For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
(i) “Therefore will he give them up” - this simply means that God is going to allow the outside country to take them over. It is God’s allowance here.
(ii) “Until the time that she which travaileth” - this is the metaphor of a woman giving birth. It is a metaphor because he is talking about Israel or Judah specifically.
(iii) The kingdom of this Savior will be an abiding Kingdom
Israel needed to recognize that God's allowances right now were in light of what was sure in the future. They needed to recognize this for three primary types of people. First, for those who still worshipped the true God (like Daniel, Shadrach, Mechach, Abednego, Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther...current prophets...etc) the birthing process has a great product. There is pain now, but there is sure joy in the morning.
The second kind of person that would have heard this prophecy and needed it would have been one who did not know the LORD or truly trust in his deliverance. This individual needed to be aware that hard times will come upon all (believing & unbelieving - GOOD APOLOGETICAL CONSIDERATION) but the Ruler whom they are rejecting now is coming.
The 3rd and final kind of person that would have heard this would have been the one who is part of the religious ruling class. These are individuals who knew the statutes of the Lord but they trusted in themselves.
Today
In like manner, there are those who are believers. You need to be assured that the Ruler who has come is the One.
Then, there are those who are in unbelief. You are so busy looking at the hardship of present travail that you don't consider the "end to come". You think that your life is better now than some believers you know...you think that you have all of the same benefits now as believers, and this has led you to a spiritual slumber. Awaken because the baby that came the first time, is coming again as sovereign ruler, and if you have rejected him as your King in this life, you will NOT have an opportunity to change that once He comes again.
Lastly, the self-deceived - be warned of the judgment to come. You cannot find in yourselves to relinquish your self-righteousness.....
The unchanging LORD is committed to an unwavering penalty.
The unchanging LORD is committed to an unimaginable provision.
The unchanging LORD is committed to undeserved patience.
Closing Illustration:
The age old movie “The Christmas Story” is about a boy named Ralphie that wants a Red Rider double action, pump BB rifle for Christmas. The entire plot is around this. When the movie is over, the creators would cause us to believe that everything eventually works out well, since Ralphie gets his rifle and the family is all together for Christmas.
Again, every Christmas rendition reveals something about the creator.
Matthew 2:1–6 KJV 1900
Now when Jesus was born in Beth-lehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Beth-lehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Beth-lehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
This story reveals that the eternal God is unchanging. What he said he would do, he did. Where he said he would go, he did. Who he said he was, he is.

Invitation:

Perhaps you have tried to live without thinking of the imminent penalty. The “ostrich” syndrome does NOT change the facts about the LORD. You are a sinner, no matter how well meaning you are. Face the facts. Jesus suffered the UNWAVERING PENALTY of God, but this payment is NOT applied to your account until you turn to Jesus.
Perhaps you have unwittingly trusted in a functional savior. For you, everything is ok as long as you have whatever it is. Have you turned to Jesus before, but now you are relying on something or someone else for your satisfaction?
Is there any better time for you to receive Jesus than right now?
Christian, is there any better time for you to recognize Jesus again than right now? Seek the Lord’s forgiveness and yield to Him from this day forward.
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