O Bethlehem

Reading the Word

Micah 5:2–4 (ESV)
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.

Understanding and Applying the Word

How could the most important person to ever walk the earth come from Bethlehem? It was a nothing place. It was tiny and had nothing important to offer the world. Even in today’s passage it describes Bethlehem as “too little to be among the clans of Judah.” It was just an unimportant place.

Bethlehem was the city where God chose that Jesus would be born. This makes the city of great significance. God chose Bethlehem over every other place. This is just like God. He chooses what seems little and insignificant and makes it glorious. Even we are nothing until God shows his grace towards us and works through us for his glory. Paul wrote about this truth in the New Testament:

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”” (1 Corinthians 1:26–31, ESV)

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