Let's go to Bethlehem and hear God's announcement of "Peace on earth." I love to read the story of the shepherds abiding in the field 2,000 years ago. When the angel appeared, the shepherds, "Were sore afraid" vs. 9. I guess that's only natural. Many other people in the Bible were afraid when they saw angels. It may be natural, but it's not necessary. When they listened and heard God's good tidings, their fear was changed into peace. The shepherds enjoyed the heavenly choir, and then they applied God's word to their hearts by going to Bethlehem and seeing Jesus. Look at their joy when they returned, vs. 20. What a difference it made to have Jesus in their lives! God gave peace to the shepherds.
When I read these verses in Luke 2 and think about the shepherds abiding in the fields, a beautiful scene comes into my mind. This year, the Lord has added something wonderful to the picture. We must turn the clock back 700 years and stop during the days of the prophet Micah. Being good students of the visit of the wise men, we are already blessed with the joyful news that the prophet Micah tells us that Christ would be born in Bethlehem. (Read Micah 5:2). Then the Spirit urged me to go back a few verses and read where Micah talks about a tower. (Read Micah 4:8). This "Tower of the flock" reminds us that the shepherds in Luke 2 would also have a tower. Although this tower is not mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, it is a beautiful part of Bethlehem's countryside. It's called, "The Tower of Edar." This tower is where the shepherds would sit and keep watch over the flock. They would be ever on the alert for hungry animals, like lions and wolves. They would also observe the sheep to see if there were any wanderers. For the sake of clarity, we should take note that these verses in Micah are referring to the LORD'S coming kingdom. This leads us to observe something wonderful. Both the first Coming of Christ and the Coming of His kingdom are related to a location with a tower of the flock. This is no surprise, of course, because, "The Lord is my shepherd." (Read Psalm 23). I'd like to go back a few verses and notice another similarity. (Read Micah 4:3). "Beat their swords into plowshares" reminds me that one day this babe of Bethlehem will be the great king who will bring a true and lasting peace on earth. Even though our cities today are filled with weapons of war, He gives us hope. God will give peace to the soldiers.
Then we can turn back the Bethlehem clock again. This time let's go another thousand years and stop during the days of Jacob. (Read Genesis 35:16-22). Jacob's beloved wife Rachel is great with child. After Benjamin is safely born, Rachel dies. As I was reading God's Word, I thought of how often we celebrate someone's joy, while sharing the grief of someone else. (Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Jacob shows us a believer who chooses hope for the living, and love for the dearly departed. Then a short time later, Jacob's family came to "the tower of Edar." We read that one of Jacob's sons doesn't have respect for his father's grief. The memory of the "tower of Edar" is stained by the sin of Reuben. How can we talk of such things at Christmas? It reminds us of the truth, that the babe of Bethlehem came into the world to save sinners. (Read 1 Timothy 1:15). There is no peace unless you have peace with Him. God gives peace to sinners who trust in Jesus. (Read Romans 5:1-2).
Copyright (C) 2004 Robert C Denig, All rights reserved.
This page updated 12/26/2004