Little Town of Bethlehem
What a blessing this morning to read in my devotions this verse:
Micah 5:2 "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; who goings forth have been from old, from
This small town about six miles southwest of Jerusalem is today a
very small city of 25,000 (Hamilton Township is bigger than that) and at the
time of Christ it is estimated to have had a population of only about 300. Yet that very small town of old is one of the most famous cities of all time, known by the world, musical scores written and sung with it as the subject, and prophesied in God's Word as the Messiah's birthplace, and indeed, the place that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born.
Outside of Rachel, Jacob's wife being buried there; Ibzan, one of the Judges of Israel being from there, the story of Boaz and Ruth, and Herod’s atrocities in slaying the infants there, it has no other mention in the Bible. But oh, the importance of it. Bethlehem means "house of bread" and Ephratah means "fruitful." Certainly, God knew what this town would mean to Israel and to the world. For it is the birthplace of king David and more importantly – it is the birthplace of the King of kings, and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Outside of that, there is nothing else of noteworthy significance - but what else does it need to be dear to our hearts. That place of Christ's nativity! It is the place where “the Word became flesh” and yet He and his family had to flee as quickly as they arrived - but would forever be known as the Lord’s birthplace.
Is there application for us outside of that? I believe in God’s Word there is always application! God says in Romans 15:4 that through His Scriptures we would have hope. I think for us, the subject of Bethlehem, that God can’t take an insignificant place, a poor family, even a time of hardship (the fleeing to Egypt and the slaying of the children of Bethlehem) and still make something wonderful out of it and to provide so much to the world shows us something. We mentioned this verse in a recent message - Ecclesiastes 7:8: “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof:..” In our lives, we may have insignificant start; a less than stellar beginning; even plagued with failures – but it doesn’t matter how you started, what matters is how you finish. Today, with God’s help, He can make something wonderful with your life when it is submitted completely to His will. Put Him first, let God have the preeminence He is due.
I may not have anything memorable about me personally, but when God saves me, is with me, and uses me – my name shall be forever written down, because I have become part of His plan. What as wondrous thought and lesson even from this “Little town of Bethlehem!”
- Pastor Mark Sage