Christmas Devotion - Day 303-12-2018 | Matthew Campbell | YOUTH
Micah 5:2 (Part 2)
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
Where you're from says a lot about you. Or does it? A number of years ago, I recall reading an online article which jokingly shared the stereotypes of people from different parts of Northern Ireland. So if you're from Ballymena, like me, then you're said to be tight with your money. If you're from the North Coast, you're laid back. Or if you are from North Down, then you're rich. However, at the risk of causing too much offence, I'll end the list there…
I would imagine that if you played this 'stereotyping game' in Jesus' day with places we read of in the Bible, the imagery attached with the town of 'Bethlehem' would be anything but positive. Where was Bethlehem? It was an extremely small town situated about 5 miles south of Jerusalem. With a depleting population, overshadowed by the big city up the road, it is fair to say that the town of Bethlehem was extremely insignificant.
Isn't it interesting that in Micah's prophecy which we read of today and yesterday, he rightly predicts that it would be this little town where the Messiah would be born. One of the most insignificant towns in history would give way to thee most significant figure in all of history - Jesus Christ!
However, the question remains, 'why Bethlehem?' Although we don't have a direct answer from the Bible, what we do know is that this is typical of the way God brings about his purposes. He uses the unlikely to bring about the unthinkable! Paul touches upon this idea in 1 Corinthians 1:28-29. Here Paul says that God chooses the lowly things in this world, those counted as nothing, so that no one can boast. In other words, God delights to use the insignificant because it reminds us that the true source of power and glory is found not in a person, place or thing, but in the God behind everything.
Isn't this true of you today? Do you feel like you don't have the ability to speak of Jesus in your classroom or workplace? Do you feel like you aren't qualified to exercise the role in that church ministry you're involved in? Do you feel like there's no way that, with what you deem as your insignificant gifts and talents, you can accomplish great things for the gospel? The Christmas story encourages us to take heart - It is filled with God doing amazing things through unlikely people in unlikely places. Praise God that He delights in using the unlikely to bring about the unthinkable!
Questions for Reflection:
1) Do you ever feel too inadequate to be used by God? In what ways?
2) How does this passage encourage you?
3) Read 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, how do Paul's words in this passage give you confidence to serve God wholeheartedly today?
Prayer for today:
God, thank you that you delight in using the weak and foolish to accomplish your purposes. Today I confess that I don't possess what it takes to live for you. May I continually look to you as my source of strength and help in all that I do, having confidence that you are a God who delights in using, not just those who seem talented, but all who willingly submit to your authority in their lives.