This is our Podcast. We're a Bible believing Church meeting at Barncroft Primary School, Havant, Hampshire, UK
Shepherds were considered outcasts in 1st century Israel, so some say God chose them because He loves to choose the week things of the world to shame the wise.
Others say it was so news of Jesus' birth could spread far and wide by people who had nothing to lose. But, if that were so, the Shepherds failed in their mission as the news of a 'new born king' didn't even make it 8 miles up the road to Jerusalem, where Herod, a particularly nervous and uneasy Idumean, appointed by Rome, sat on the throne of Israel as if it were his. When Herod did find out, as Magi from Babylonia arrived en masse in Jerusalem looking for this rightful King of Israel Herod proverbially lost it!
Did you know that the prophet Micah foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem? Quite probably, as it's a scripture read each year at Christmastime:
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)
But did you know that Micah, just 7 verse before, foretold the exact location, and it was to be a shepherds lookout tower on outskirts of Bethlehem?
"And thou, O tower of the flock,
the strong hold of the daughter of Zion,
unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion;
the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem". (Micah 4:8)
This tower at Migdal Edar (which is the words translated as 'tower of the flock") was not only used by shepherds as a lookout to keep an eye on their sheep to protect them from thieves and predators, it was also used as a lambing room, where new-born lambs could be born away from the ravages of the cold night air. At the base of this tower was an natural depression in the rock the shepherds call the 'manger'. It would be in there they would lay the new-born lambs.
But, significantly, these were not ordinary shepherds, and their sheep no ordinary sheep. All the sheep on the hills around Bethlehem were for one purpose; to be offered as sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem.
For a lamb to be used as an offering it had to be without blemish. To protect it, the shepherds would wrap it in old priestly garments cut into strips, known as swaddling bands, to stop it kicking and thrashing about and damaging itself.
These shepherd's primary duty was to inspect these lamb's and confirm they were without blemish and able to be used as sacrificial lambs. It was their job to approve the lambs to be offered in Jerusalem to atone for sin!
This is why, of all people, God sent these shepherds (without any directions), not to a stable, but to see a baby lying in a manger - their manger!
Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Filetype: MP3 - Size: 15.61MB - Duration: 45:12 m (48 kbps 44100 Hz)