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Why Bethlehem?

Today's Word of Encouragement from Wayne:

Why Bethlehem?

"But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. This One will be our peace"

Micah 5: 2&5

Why did God choose Bethlehem as the place for Messiah to be born? Was there a message about this "too little" town that perhaps God wanted His Own people, and us, to recognize? Well, let me share this thought with you. I believe Bethlehem is a very special town to God our Father, for Bethlehem represents greatly beloved people of our Lord who, through their lives, exemplified devotion to God from the heart.

Rachel, the wife of Jacob, whom He loved most of all, was buried in Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19). Of His love for Rachel, Scripture says, "Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her" (Genesis 29:20). Next we see Ruth, who chose to stay with her Israelite mother-in-law Naomi, in Bethlehem, rather than return to her own people of Moab, after her husband had died. Ruth famously declared to Naomi, "Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God (Ruth 1:16). Ruth’s tremendous love and devotion led to her being married to Boaz, and she actually (this woman of Moab) was to became the great-grandmother of King David, and therefore an ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Such grace, favor, and love God showed to this one who loved Him so. Next the prophet Samuel was commissioned by God to go to Bethlehem, where he was to anoint a new king of Israel. Samuel was prepared to anoint the eldest son of Jesse, but the Lord said this to Samuel, concerning His Own choice of David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, "God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). In the book of Acts, the apostle Paul said of God, "He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart" (Acts 13:22).

All of this ultimately leads us up to Matthew 1:1 which says "The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Rachel, Ruth, and David - one buried in Bethlehem, one freely chose Bethlehem, one anointed by God to be king in Bethlehem, all so that One would be born in Bethlehem - "This One will be our peace" - Jesus Christ our Lord! God chose Bethlehem, I believe, out of His great love for Rachel, Ruth, David, and Messiah - and for us. Praise God for His precious and gracious choice, all that we might know Him and love Him with all our hearts, even as He loves us with all of His heart. Hallelujah!

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