“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. … He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace. “
This prophesy was written by Micah about the birth of Jesus. Bethlehem means ‘the house of bread’. On that day, when this prophecy was fulfilled, the living bread was born in Bethlehem which was named appropriately. Remember that this prophecy was made long back before the birth of Jesus. It is so amazing to know how much God had planned that way of redemption through Jesus Christ for you and me. We know that when Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth. If this prophecy had to be fulfilled, Mary had to go to Bethlehem. Do you know how God did that? He worked in the hearts of ceasar Augustus in Rome to declare a census in which all residents had to be enrolled in their own city. Joseph who was betrothed to Mary had his ancestral roots in Bethlehem. When Joseph returned to his ancestral home with Mary, this prophecy was wonderfully fulfilled.
Now, talking about Bethlehem, it is the smallest among the clans of Judah. Then why did God chose that particular place for the birth of Jesus. It is true that according to the prophecies, Jesus was supposed to be born in the tribe of David and he was a Bethlehemite. But do you think that it was the only reason for choosing some place so insignificant and less famous to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, our saviour? God did so because we men will never boast on our own merits and achievements, but only trust on His mercy. For the Bible says, ” But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence”.(1 Corinthians 1:27-30).
God was not given a room in any of the inn in Bethlehem, so that no inn keeper could say “He was born in the comforts of my inn”, He was born in a manger so no wood worker could say, “The redeemer was born in the workmanship of my cradle”. God chose the birthplace of Bethlehem, so that no one could say, “The greatness of my city produced a wonderful saviour”. In the same way, He chose you and me, not because we were great or with big potential. He chose us to be His birthplace, knowing that we are imperfect and insignificant. It was merely His mercy. Have you ever thought the magnitude of it? What worth do we have for Jesus to live in us? We are the weakest and the smallest, yet He chose us to be His own. Oh…What a wonderful love!!!!
Bible says that God knew us even before the foundation of this earth was laid. He had planned everything for us in advance. Most amazingly, He planned the birth of Jesus, His death and His resurrection for us, so that we will also be partakers of His glory. Today, if anybody is feeling worthless and unimportant, I want to remind you one thing. The creator of this Universe, chose you to be His own…What else can give you more importance than that? Being a child of God is the best privilege one can have in this world and in eternity. So if any of your circumstances or relationships make you believe that you are worthless, talk to your own soul..”I am worth the price He paid on the cross”. Let the privilege you have in Christ strengthen you today.
When the Ceasar Augustus declared a census in which all residents had to be enrolled in their own ancestral place, Joseph might have felt it little hard to understand. It would have been difficult for him to take Mary who was pregnant to his own ancestral home. There was an unexpected change in everything…a change in the circumstances of life, a change in lifestyle, a change in responsibility. Little did Joseph know at that time, that God even changes the hearts of Kings to fulfill what He had planned. So do not be afraid when you come across unexpected challenges. Ask God to guide..May be it is the direction in which God expects you to go to reach that promise He has planned for you.
In Jesus Christ,