Friday, December 11
Read Matthew 2:6
In Micah 5:2, the prophet wrote: “And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
The chief priests and scribes knew Micah referred to the birth of the Messiah, but they had not connected the prophecy with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. This is why God caused Caesar Augustus to issue an edict that everyone return to their hometown for a census. He had to get Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus, in order to fulfill biblical prophecy.
In John 7:42-43, the Apostle wrote about a division among the people about who Jesus really was. Some said He was the Christ, others said He wasn’t because He started His ministry in Galilee. But someone asked: “Hath Scripture not said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”
Bethlehem Ephrathah was where David was born. It was not equal to the historical city of Jerusalem; it was a “little city among the clans of Judah”, but it would serve as the God-ordained birthplace of the Messiah.
Why did God choose a small, out-of-the-way place like Bethlehem? Because that’s the way God has worked since the beginning. As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31, “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.… Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
God chose Bethlehem to be the place where He would do something that would change the course of history and eternity. That baby that was born in Bethlehem was not only to be the King of the Jews, He would also become the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords – one day He would rule the world with His truth and His grace.
- God chose a stable so the innkeeper couldn’t boast that he owned the hotel where the Savior was born.
- God chose a simple feed-trough for a baby bed so the carpenter would not boast that he had made the bed for the Savior.
- God did not choose us because we were better than anyone else, or because He knew what we could accomplish or achieve “with His help”, which is utter nonsense. God is not impressed with our impressions of our strengths and abilities.
- God chose the likes of us so He could prove to the world what He could do with “nothing” that was dedicated to Him as humble instruments of His glory and His grace – nothing more, nothing less, nothing else! When we sing “Glory to God in the highest”, He gets the glory. We get the joy!