This Savior was born in a barn and his first crib was a food trough. How humble a place for the God of the universe to come to earth and begin the work of saving all mankind! This shows the very heart of the character of God.
Several prophetic connections occur in this passage. These are amazing fulfillments of God’s promises.
The genealogy of Jesus that is recorded here shows that Jesus has a direct connection to Abraham and that he is in the lineage of David. This shows that the promises to Abraham and to David are fulfilled in Jesus.
John’s gospel starts by going all the way back to the beginning of the Bible. Remember the creation account of Genesis 1? John uses the exact same language to start his gospel: “In the beginning…”
Here in Zechariah 9 and 10, the promised Messiah will be a shepherd for the flock. He will observe that God’s people “wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd”.
Micah tells of a ruler who will come from the tiny Israelite town of Bethlehem. God’s people will be abandoned until this ruler is born, which refers to the period of 400 years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.
The words “Comfort, comfort my people” are like a drink of cool water. The prophetic vision is that the people’s sin will be paid for and that God will receive all the glory.
Isaiah tells us that the Messiah will shoot up from the stump of Jesse. He will be like a tender plant sprouting from the seemingly dead stump of the tree of David’s family line.
At this moment when the people of Jerusalem are in grave danger at the hands of the Assyrians, Isaiah foresees God’s ultimate deliverance of his people.
Isaiah trusts in God’s promises and his family stands as proof that God will be faithful. This takes on greater fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.
It is clear that God has a plan still to redeem his people. Even though they continue to rebel, he will not let his promises fail.
The temple that Solomon built is destroyed, the temple treasury is looted, and the city is ransacked. The people of Judah are sent off into exile in Babylon.
The Lord’s patience has run out and he now brings the Assyrians to invade the northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 BC. They are carried off in exile to Assyria and now only the Kingdom of Judah (with the capital city Jerusalem) stands.
David wanted to build a permanent temple for the Lord. But God tells David that his son, Solomon, will be the one to build a temple. But this passage has a greater meaning.
David is a shepherd, a vocation that requires selfless sacrifice for the well-being of the sheep. This is the type of king that God wants. And it is the pattern for the coming of King Jesus, the Good Shepherd (John 10).
The presence of the Lord went ahead of God’s People to fight the battles and clear the way for them. God is fighting for his People. He is clearing the way for us to enter his rest. He will do the work; we must obey and follow Him.
The center of God’s commands for his children is that they would love him. He redeemed us so that we would love him.
This unblemished lamb that dies as a substitute so that the angel of the Lord would pass over them looks ahead to the day when Jesus, the perfect sacrificial Lamb, would die as a substitute for his people so that they may be redeemed from bondage and be free to worship Him.
Abraham’s utter trust in God’s promises and his plan is the foundation for the gospel. We are called to trust God just as thoroughly.
God promised to give Abraham a son and a line of descendants as numerous as the stars, but warns that his family line will be enslaved in a foreign land before they are redeemed and given the Promised Land.