December 6 | Advent Devotional

From Pat Sheahan
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Micah 5:2–5

Here is a Christmas promise for you from Micah, chapter 5, verse 5: “And this shall be peace, when the Assyrian comes into our land and treads upon our soil (Some manuscripts read “palaces”), that we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men.”

That’s what I want for Christmas — seven shepherds and eight princes of men! I have learned that sometimes things don’t translate well from original languages to English.

Let’s give translator Dr. Eugene Peterson a try: “And if some bullying Assyrian shows up, invades and violates our land, don’t worry. We’ll put him in his place, send him packing, and watch his every move. Shepherd-rule will extend as far as needed, to Assyria and all other Nimrod-bullies. Our Shepherd-ruler will save us from old or new enemies, from anyone who invades or violates our land.”

Nimrod is synonymous with Assyria. Sometimes Bible writers say the same thing twice in different ways. It is a way of making poetic impact. Reminds me of the Nashville Predators. Not the “poetic” part, but the “impact”.
I’m a hockey fan. My team is the Chicago Blackhawks. Last year we got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. The big reason was that while we were fast and skilled, we were pounded into submission by a team that had brawn. Our skaters had a hard time in a seven game series holding up to the relentless nimrods from Nashville.

But this year will be different. We made some roster moves. We got a little younger. We got a little bigger without compromising speed. And we found a few players who like to bang in the boards. While not a messianic fulfillment, hope springs eternal and fortunes do reverse — just ask Micah.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me not to feel down-hearted and defeated when forces that are big, strong and intimidating come against me, my family and my friends. Thank you for promising to send a shepherd-ruler. I believe that your son Jesus can both love and care for me and also keep a watchful eye out for those that seek to do harm. I really appreciate that. Amen.

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