Shepherds near here live in rustic, tiny wagons with rounded tops. Pretty shabby accomodations but then shepherds are on the bottom of the food chain; they don’t command per diem expense accounts in fancy hotels. Same thing was true in biblical days: shepherds were considered to be a pretty low and sleazy lot.
Kings, on the other hand, jet around the world in private, posh comfort and command the highest respect and fanciest privileges. As they have for thousands of years. (Ok, they didn’t have Lear Jets back in the Bible days, but you get the idea…)
These days, the nations surrounding Israel want to wipe her off the map and take her land for themselves. As was also the case a few hundred years before Christ. And, just as they were about to conquer Israel, God made this astonishing promise:
“Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace. (Micah 5:1-5a)
Quick paraphrase. God said, You, Israel, are about to get wiped out by your pagan neighbors. But after you have been destroyed and things look hopeless, I will send you a King Who will be a Shepherd to His people. His mother will give birth to Him in Bethlehem, the least likely of places. But eventually, His reign will be accomplished by My unlimited power. He will incorporate people from every nation into His flock and His reign will be supreme even to the ends of the earth. He will bring peace because He will be peace. This may seem unlikely, but it is going to happen, because I planned and ordained His coming from ancient days past.
His birth was extremely unlikely. But it happened, just as God said it would.
His dual role as Shepherd/King seemed like a ridiculous oxymoron. And yet He affirmed both.
Perhaps least likely of all, that anyone one man could reign supreme to the ends of the earth and bring peace. But His reign is already being established, growing and spreading around the globe. Unlikely, but certain.