“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 old, from ancient days.” Micah 5:2
Is there any significance to the birthplace of Jesus? We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Is there any meaning related to that town or is it just an incidental place that is named in the Christmas story? I believe there is great significance in the place where Jesus was born and laid in a manger. Here are some reasons that Bethlehem is important:
- It linked Jesus to the Davidic covenant.
God made a promise to David that someone from his lineage would reign as King forever (2 Sam. 7:12-16). That promise was fulfilled when Jesus, from the lineage of David (Matt. 1:1), was enthroned by His Father as King of kings forever (Phil. 2:8-11). Jesus is on the throne and He will be forever! The fact that Jesus was born in the same town as David (1 Sam. 16) helps us to see that connection.
- It fulfilled a specific prophecy.
In Micah 5:2, the Bible declared that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. The fact that this prophecy was made about 700 years before Jesus Christ was born is remarkable! It reminds us that God’s plan to send a Savior was in place before the foundations of the world and it has been executed perfectly by our omnipotent, omniscient God.
- It signaled that God uses seemingly insignificant things.
In Micah 5 there is a contrast between the mighty Jerusalem (v.1) with seemingly insignificant Bethlehem (v.2). The phrase “too little to be among the clans of Judah” means that Bethlehem couldn’t marshal 1,000 fighting men. That’s what qualified a town to be numbered. They were too small. So why would God choose to make Bethlehem the place where the Messiah would be born instead of the great city of Jerusalem? God loves to do the unexpected! He loves to use the weak, the powerless, and the insignificant. Why? So that He will get the glory! When great things happen in unimportant places through unimportant people, you look to the One who is accomplishing the great things!
When someone looks at a Rembrandt painting, they don’t praise the paint brush, they praise the skill and creativity of the artist. So it is with God. He gets glory as the Master Artist that works through all kinds of people and all kinds of places to bring a beautiful redemption to a lost and dying world.
God’s plan of salvation is still going forth and He still uses unexpected avenues. This Christmas think about your role. Just like God used the little town of Bethlehem to bring us a Savior, maybe He wants to use you to bring Jesus to someone else.