Luke 2:11-12, 16; Deuteronomy 4:29-31
Having been given the word that the Messiah was born, having been sent by the angel to find Him- the baby lying in a manger- how did the shepherds know where to look?
How many stables would they have to search before they found the right one? Since Bethlehem was crowded with people, presumably most stables would be occupied by the animals used for travel. This could take all night and they had flocks to tend!
The text of Luke 2 gives no descriptive term for these shepherds. They were just shepherds. However, there are those who believe that these shepherds were believers in God- that these men knew the prophecies, and were waiting for the arrival of Messiah.
Historically, the flocks meant for temple sacrifice were kept in a special stable known as Migdal Edar, or “the tower of the flock,” which was located in the area of Bethlehem closest to Jerusalem. These sheep were to be kept free from injury, illness, or blemish, and were typically tended by specially trained shepherds. Further, when these lambs were born, they were wrapped in swaddling cloths which were kept in the stable.
It is possible that these shepherds were familiar with the prophecy in Micah 4:8 which refers to the “tower of the flock” as the place where the Messiah would come, and therefore they went directly there. Where else, indeed would He be born, this perfect sacrificial Lamb Who came to take away the sins of the world?
The Lord does not make it difficult for us to find Him. In fact, He promises throughout His Word that when we seek Him, we will find Him. The shepherds knew where to find the Christ-child because they had studied the prophecies, and we will know where to find our Lord when we simply open our Bibles.
And, incidentally, I find it quite significant that the closer we get to His return, the more accessible Scriptures are. The Bible is available in more languages than ever, in more formats than ever, and despite nations which make owning the Scriptures illegal, it remains the most sought-after text in history.
Whether you are searching for Him for the first time, or returning to Him after straying, He isn’t hiding from you, but He is gracious to the one who is seeking Him. Look for Him with all your heart and soul. You will find Him.