The Shepherd King

December 5, 2021

Matthew 2:6 NIV

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Today's Reading: Matthew 2:1-6

Devo Author: Nick Roland

Date: December 5, 2021

I love election cycles. I get sucked into them every time. I love the ritual of that Tuesday. I have a regular election-results watch meal: a big bowl of homemade chili. It seems like that November day never fails to be overcast and cool. No matter how nasty the campaign was, I am filled with a sense of anticipation and wonder as I watch the results come in. Whichever way it goes, there is something fascinating to me about a country choosing a new leader–people casting their hopes on the promises of a single man or woman to right the wrongs of their country.

It’s a story as old as civilization: the search for the perfect king. Civilizations idolize and then demonize their rulers. The promises are grand, and the fall is even more so. Somehow they all fail to bring the utopia we hope for.

Herod was a mighty king. A shrewd politician who deftly maneuvered his way through the awkward war that followed Julius Caesar’s death, he picked the wrong side of the conflict but still managed to talk his way out of it. He put to death members of his own family to protect his power. 

He built mighty wonders in Israel at great cost to his own people. He was very much like all other human kings.

And it is in the shadow of the towering King Herod that a baby came to be born in Bethlehem. But He was to be a King unlike the kings of the world. Micah told about this King beforehand:

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel”–(Matthew 2:6 NIV).

The image goes all the way back to Moses. The man who would lead Israel was taken from a palace in Egypt and had to become a shepherd. Caring for helpless creatures was God’s training for leadership. This model of leadership is picked up by King David, who after being anointed the future king had to return to his flocks before his time to reign arrived.

God’s vision for leadership was that of a caregiver and a protector, a provider and a guide. But even Moses and David failed. There was a true, shepherd King yet to come. Born in Bethlehem, under the jealous watch of a king ready to kill to preserve his power, the true King was coming into the world. And death itself would not keep Him from those He came to lead.

Where do you need the shepherd King’s guidance today? Do you need Him to lead you to rest? Do you need His provision? Do you need His protection? Unlike all other rulers, this One will never fail you. You can trust Him. Spend some time praying to King Jesus, thanking Him for His kind rule and asking for His Kingdom to come in your life and in your world.