Though you are small among the clans ...

“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.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. 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. -Micah 5:2-4 NLT

There was more than one Bethlehem in Israel - the one mentioned here belonged to the clan of Judah. And centuries before Jesus was born a prophet named Micah specified it as the birthplace of the Messiah. Bethlehem speaks to me of how something great can arise out of something small. It reminds me that God uses nobodies from nowhere to accomplish his will. Unless Micah predicted it who would have thought that a great ruler would have been born there?

When I read these words, and other messianic prophesies, I understand why people could not embrace Jesus as the Messiah - no one could imagine that the ruler over Israel would be a spiritual king and not a fleshly one. Who could have envisioned how an ancient one could come into the world by a virgin in labor? The story is too wonderful for human brains to comprehend! It is why that birth in Bethlehem is a matter to be discerned with the heart not the head.

Bring us back to Bethlehem Lord. Help us to embrace the wonder and the simplicity of the One born King of kings.

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