Family Jesse Tree Study – December 19
Welcome to our family Bible study focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas. The Jesse Tree is the family tree of Jesus (see Matthew 1 and Luke 3 for a complete genealogy of Jesus). All along its branches are men and women of God who have incredible stories to share and from which we can glean a deeper understanding of faith and build a stronger relationship with God. God orchestrated these people and stories for a reason — to point us to His Son Jesus who comes to save us once and for all.
For this study, we encourage you to read, reflect, and journal on these scriptures on your own and then find a good time with your family to do this devotion together. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a devotion, discussion question, and prayer taken from “Jesse Tree Family Devotions” by the Reformed Church in America, then below that is a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. For printable ornaments to make your own Jesse Tree, see: http://images.rca.org/docs/discipleship/jessepatterns.pdf. If you’re doing this study with smaller kids, consider using a children’s Bible to share the stories, or use the shorter version of the scripture provided in parentheses. For older kids, consider introducing them to the SOAP method of journaling through this study.
We hope you join us in this study, and please share how it’s going, your favorite Christmas traditions, and prayer requests in the Comments section on our website.
Micah 5 (shorter version – Micah 5:1-5) – Prophecy of Jesus
A Promised Ruler From Bethlehem
5 Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
5 And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses. We will raise against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders, 6 who will rule the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with drawn sword. He will deliver us from the Assyrians when they invade our land and march across our borders.
7 The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for anyone or depend on man. 8 The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. 9 Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.
10 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“I will destroy your horses from among you and demolish your chariots. 11 I will destroy the cities of your land and tear down all your strongholds. 12 I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells. 13 I will destroy your idols and your sacred stones from among you; you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands. 14 I will uproot from among you your Asherah poles when I demolish your cities. 15 I will take vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations that have not obeyed me.”
Often God does things that surprise us. God chose the small town of Bethlehem for the birthplace of Jesus. In Bible times, most rulers in important families were born in bigger cities, but Jesus was born into an ordinary family in a small village. God chose Bethlehem many years before Jesus was born. The prophet Micah wrote that Bethlehem would be the place where the Savior would be born. But even so, the town of Bethlehem wasn’t ready for the birth of Jesus. There was no place prepared for God’s Son to be born. The day when we celebrate Jesus’ birth will soon be here. We need to make our hearts ready.
How are you getting ready for Jesus’ birth?
Eternal God, help us to always be ready to serve You.
SOAP JOURNAL NOTE
Jesus Is Our Peace| Becky Newman
Micah was a prophet about 700 years before Jesus was born, during a time of political unrest with Israel split into two and Assyria just waiting to pounce. At this time, the chosen people of God just couldn’t stop seeking other gods. Many of Micah’s prophecies are about the punishment that will ensue from their sin if they don’t fully return to God, but chapter 5 speaks of a coming hope smack dab in the middle of Israel, from the same town Naomi and Ruth came to and in which David was born. Because of the unrest, God’s chosen people assumed that the ruler about which Micah prophesied would come swinging, and with strength and a mighty arm, his greatness would reach the ends of the earth. That’s why many Jews just couldn’t believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of this prophecy. But right here in verse 5, it’s clear that he’s coming in peace to spread peace among us by being our peace in a chaotic world.
Six days until Christmas and so many preparations left to do — final gift purchases, wrapping, Christmas cards, baking cookies and other yummy stuff, three Christmas parties this week and four more next week, caroling deliveries, packing, cleaning, and everything done well and as perfect as possible, as if I were serving Jesus, to make beautiful memories with family and friends. Go in to any store right now, and it’s obvious that we are busy and in a state of unrest this week with all of our to-do lists merging into one ugly mess in the checkout line. The second half of verse 5a draws me to the bigger global picture. In a region that has largely chosen not to follow God this Christmas and many other Christmases, ugly violent war is being waged. Ancient Assyria included the regions where ISIS is pouncing now and where a disgusting civil war is being waged in Syria. They are facing a very different kind of chaos, yet still unrest. We all need peace. We all need Your peace manifest in Your Son Jesus. You don’t force Your peace on us; we have to choose it. And even here in my community, where our problems and chaos seem so silly in comparison to what a family in Aleppo is facing, we still need to choose peace daily, to choose to let Jesus and Your Spirit into our hearts so peace can flow in us and through us and out into this chaotic world. We won’t truly experience Your peace until heaven, but I can choose Your peace now and, along with the others choosing Your peace, continue spreading Your peace to the ends of the earth.
Thank You for the gift of Your Peace to our troubled world! Help me to choose peace and joy this week. These things on my list are good things, but if I’m not choosing peace and joy in them, they take away from Your good. I also pray for more to choose Your peace. I know that violence and war will not end until You destroy this world, but I pray that Your peace-filled greatness will remain known through it all.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.
Posted on December 19, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Advent, Bethlehem, Bible, Bible Study, chaos, choice, Christmas, Jesse Tree, Jesus, Micah, peace, prepare, prophecy, ready, sin, SOAP, unrest. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.