Have you gone to Bethlehem? Did you ask the reason why God had chosen it aside from prophetic fulfillment? Discover why and may you be led in that place.
Mat 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Every place has its markings, distinctive, fame etc. In the Scripture, there are places, for example like Bethlehem, which can be a source of some reflections in our daily lives.The Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea (Mt.2:1) and it is to be distinguished from another Bethlehem (Joshua 19:15) from a town of the same name in Galilee. “The place is a small town about six miles south of Jerusalem‟ (according to some Christian references). The word “Bethlehem” denotes “house of bread” – perhaps given to the place on account of its great fertility. It was also called Ephrata, a word supposed to signify fertility, Gen_35:19; Rth_4:11; Psa_132:6. It was also called the city of David Luk_2:4, because it was the city of his nativity, 1Sa_16:1, 1Sa_16:18. The place is a small one as far as population is concerned. As I studied the Scriptures I learned something about the place.
· Bethlehem is known for its bounty supply.
There were green pasture and fertile hills and valleys according to David in Psalm 23:1-4, 1 Samuel 16:11. Many livestock were being produced as a result of it. Not all places are conducive in raising animals, but Bethlehem is one. You can find the famous water source not only for animals Ps.23:2 but especially for King David who longed for the water at the well of Bethlehem2 Samuel 23:15 .But compared to other cities of Judah it is still a small one and its supply pales in comparison.
· Bethlehem is known for its base sacrifice
In 1 Samuel 20:6 we can read that all families were there yearly, yet it doesn’t make her that famous compared to others.Just go on and you will see.
· Bethlehem is known for brave soldiers.
Many mighty men came from this place. For example, among king David’s mighty man is from Bethlehem. Elhanan,2 Samuel 21:19, 1Chronicle 20:5 the son of Jaare-oregim. He slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath. Asahel who is among the 30 mighty man of David2Sam.23:24.
Remember also the three mighty man of David who drew water for him at the well of Bethlehem. That bravery is still recorded. And who can forget the man who triumphed against the giant Goliath in 1 Samuel 16, 29:?.David himself who became a king and a man after God’s own heart is among the brave one. That is why Bethlehem is known for bravery, yet as compared to other tribes of Judah it is nothing, and their 100 soldiers cannot surpass the thousands soldiers of other tribes.
· Bethlehem is known for its battle strategy.
During the time of Rehoboam, this place became a defense city of Judah during their battle against Israel (2Chronicle 11:5-6).This was formerly among the Philistine’s garrison (2 Samuel 23:14).This will not be so if the place is not a strategic place for keeping armaments and supplies, yet as compared to other places this became insignificant.
· Bethlehem is known for its burial site:
When personalities in our societies, like Mayors, Judges, Senators, etc., were buried in a cemetery, the media always make it a point to take note of the place again and again, making it a familiar place to many. Like Bethlehem, it is also a place known for its burial site because of Jacob’s wife (Gen.35:19-20), judge (Judges 12:8-10), soldiers (2Sam.2:32) and king (1Kings 2:10), yet as compared to others it is still found wanting and least among Judah.
With all these things, Bethlehem is small and lowly in comparison to the other tribes , yet the Lord had chosen her. Almost in every case the Lord chooses what is small in man’s eyes to make Him known. God accomplishes great things through small things ,or even things considered by this world as foolish (1Co.1:26-29). That’s why we dare not to boast if we are in abundance, progressing, prospering, highly recognized and let us not even belittle those unfavorable and seemed insignificant. We can relate some examples.
In local congregations, when some matters arose, always in every case those socially well known and influential, those highly esteemed, are always called and consulted to deal with the issues. But in the Scripture it is the other way.
1Co 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
When a city was conquered by a great king a poor but wise man delivered the city yet he was forgotten (Ecc.9:14-15). Still we can see that a lowly is used by God. When Israel was challenged by Philistines‟ champion, Goliath, only a lad match that Giant (1 Samuel 17:).When children came to Jesus yet was forbidden by His disciples the Lord was displeased (Mark 10:14) and even uses them as an example(Matthew 18:2-6). When a small amount was given as an offering (Mark 12:41-44) it was better than a showy or bulky giving from rich men.
· Born Savior:
With Bethlehem’s greatness and fame it is still small compared to others, that’s why it is said to be the least among the princes of Judah (Matthew 2:6). But because Jesus Christ the Messiah will be born in that place, that was set aside. Christ made that city a great one in the entire world. If not for the Lord Jesus being born in that place, Bethlehem will be among the least. But because Christ was born in that place it is said “art not the least.” The birth of a distinguished personage was always supposed to give honor and importance to a city or country. Christ’s birth gave the place an honor which could not be conferred on the larger cities by all their numbers, their splendor, and their wealth.
This is a precious truth, that even in a place, even in a congregation,even in the greatness of what you are doing,but if Christ is absent, if He is not magnified, manifested or glorified, it’s greatness is as valuable as nothing. Even in a person, “what does it profit a man if he gaineth the whole world and yet forfeits his own soul?” (Mk.8:36). Or maybe he has treasure for himself but not rich toward God (Luke 12:21). It is the presence of Christ that makes the worth. Whatever bounty we had acquired in this world, whatever power and bravery we displayed, whatever blamelessness we had because of our sacrifices, whatever victories you gained in your personal battle and whatever titles and fame you can bring with you in your grave, we have to count it all with what Paul said “ But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” Philippians 3:7-9
Now I want to ask you. Are you small in your own eyes,or in somebody’s eyes? Do you think you are useless or a failure and have given up already? You need Christ.
Always in every case it is the Christ in us that makes us something. If we have not experience a new birth so that He becomes formed in us, then our life is in vain. But because of Him we were given worth. And like Bethlehem, we have many things in common. But let us not focus on those common things but on a special one. The world is focused in making known of their supply and sources, sacrifices and success, strategy and security and all their stories ends only in sorrow, the grave. But we believers in Christ have to make known only one thing, Christ in us. Our stories start and must end only about Him. May we continue to proclaim His greatness in our daily lives because apart from Him our life is meaningless. We may not be the greatest in this world but He is great in us and that conquers all.
I have gone to Bethlehem and I believed in Him.
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