Where would you want to go on a trip? We are trying to choose our honeymoon destination and we want it to be someplace special. People didn’t think Bethlehem was special before Jesus was born there. (No, I am not suggesting Bethlehem as a honeymoon destination. Though, you can fly there in a little over 13 hours!)
Up until Jesus was born in Bethlehem it seems nothing exciting happened there. Only 1,000 people lived there.
To give you an idea of how “not special” Bethlehem was, the Bible records that
- People died in Bethlehem (Genesis 35).
- Bethlehem was a town (Joshua 19). Duh.
- There was a ruler from Bethlehem named Izban who had 60 children. He died in Bethlehem too (Judges 12). Fun fact: it was not the same mother giving birth 60 times. This is sort of a weird tidbit to know about Bethlehem.
- An unnamed man left Bethlehem to go live somewhere else (Judges 19).
- A guy married a girl from Bethlehem. She unfortunately left him and moved back to Bethlehem (Judges 19).
- People traveled through Bethlehem on their way to somewhere else (Judges 19).
- More people moved to and from Bethlehem like Naomi and Ruth (Ruth).
- King David was from Bethlehem (1 Samuel 17). Okay, this is sort of a bigger deal than Ruler Izban.
- There was a well near Bethlehem (2 Samuel 23:15). I would hope so!
Bethlehem sounds like a typical town. So why was Jesus born there?
God made a promise, through His prophet Micah, in Micah 5:2&4 that said that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
2“But you, Bethlehem…
though you are small….
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
4 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.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem because God keeps His promises! And there are lots of other promises God makes to us like this one from Deuteronomy 31:6:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Jesus was also born in Bethlehem because God doesn’t decide what is special like the world decides. I like that about God.
Merry Christmas! May you rest in God’s promises during this season and in 2017!
***Check out this inspiring article by John Piper about Bethlehem.
Photo from: https://pixabay.com/en/christmas-asterisk-holidays-j%C3%B3zef-1863837/