Micah 5:2; “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”.
I have found that there is a common perception that ‘small’ often equals ‘worthless’. I disagree. I have learned both through text and experience that God is at work in the small things. Many of us can tell stories of when God has worked mightily in our lives. Not only in what we perceived to be the ‘big things’, but also in those ‘little things’ that we did not put much stock in at the time. Then, when we looked back, we realized that it was God’s Hand that started the whole thing.
The bible is full of scripture that points out that God is in the details, and that something big usually has small humble beginnings. We are told not to despise the day of small things, we hear the parable of the mustard seed, that although regarded as meaningless amongst the seeds, when it is planted and grown it becomes greater than all the other herbs and grows branches to lodge the fowl of the air. Again we read, that if you are faithful in little, you will be faithful in much. This list could be endless. As you know Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophesies in His first coming and this one found in Micah 5:2 is one of my favourites. I come from a small town in England that if I were to mention the name, the majority of people would have no idea where it was or that it even existed, a town that housed no more than 30,000 people is a small place indeed. (Perhaps you come from a town not too dissimilar to mine) So, I relate to the mention of Bethlehem Ephrathah being too little to be even classed among the clans of Judah. Many people may have seen this as a ‘nothing’ city. Only when Christ was born in Bethlehem do we really see this small town come to the forefront of history. I doubt very much that we would be able to find a person in our circles that has never heard of a small town in Israel called Bethlehem. Such was the magnitude of the event that took place there, that the name Bethlehem will be forever remembered at this time of year. I even find the name Bethlehem Ephrathah interesting. Bethlehem means “House of Bread” and Ephrathah means “Place of Fruitfulness”. Wow! To come from a city that means that, now that is a place worthy of birthing the King of Kings.
So when you look at the workings of God in your own life, know that He is in the small things, know that you are in the Hands of One who comes from a ‘Place of Fruitfulness’. Ask the Lord for the spiritual discernment to see when God is working in the details of your life so that you may know His ways better.
I will finish on something that my dad taught us as children, he said, “Big Doors open on Little Hinges”. How true. If we simply scoff at what looks to be a ‘little hinge’ we might be overlooking the magnitude of the ‘door’ that God wants to open for us.
Never overlook those Small Hinges.
Luke 2:10-11; But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”.
Have you ever felt special? Have you ever had that moment when everything is about you? Where all of the affection in your world seems to be directed towards you?
Well, growing up I felt special every time December 25th rolled around. Waking up Christmas morning in a home full of joy, love and excitement. Trying my hardest to get to the presents as fast as I could only to be prevented by the Christmas routine of looking in every room but the room with the tree in, just in case there had been presents left in those rooms. This childlike frustration/anticipation only added to the growing glee within my heart. Whether I was unwrapping all of the He-Man Figures that I had asked Santa for, or as I grew older and saw the love that my family showed, by picking out gifts that they knew I would love, I always felt special. Opening these gifts as a child felt like the best time of my life because I felt so loved. I felt special at the dinner table wearing my tacky paper hat, sitting next to my granddad as we would all partake in the meal and Christmas pudding that my mam had made for us. As a child I felt like that day was just for me. Sure my brother and sister also had a great time, and the day was for them as much as it was for me, but, I felt like it was all done for me. This feeling that I have had over the years on this day (which I am sure many of you share) was an overwhelming sense of joy and personal elation.
Now, as the years pass by these feelings find a new deeper root within the very citadel of my soul when I read passages such as Luke 2:10-11. “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour”; this blows my mind. The angel from the Lord was very specific when he said “born for you”. It tells us of the very deliberate plan of Christ, that He came to this earth as a Saviour for you and for me. Verses such as these only go to add to the already highly personal plan that God has for our lives. You can imagine how special these shepherds felt when the angel came to say these things to them? As we read on in the text we see something extraordinary happen. A heavenly host, a multitude of angels appeared proclaiming peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Around 1264, Thomas Aquinas penned these words in a hymn; “Panis angelicus, fit panis hominum, Dat panis cœlicus”. (Bread of the Angels, Is made bread for mankind; Gifted bread of Heaven). Truly, in this moment the ‘bread of Angels’ was given to us….. Our true Bread of Life, Christ Jesus.
My prayer this Christmas, is that you will feel like the special chosen person in Christ that you are and that you will have great joy this Christmas season because there has been a Saviour born for YOU!
Matthew 2:1-2;“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him”.
When is something that looks same, not the same? If you have ever been to New York City you have probably come across ‘street vendors’ selling their ‘Louis Vuitton’ bags. Bags that look the same but are a cheap imitation at best. Here, in our text today I think we have a good example that falls into this very category. Look at the difference in the text we have read from the gospel of Matthew: ‘Herod the king’ and ‘He who has been born King of the Jews’. Now, even though the Greek word of king (βασιλεύς – basileus) is the same word that is used in both instances, I like what most English translations have done by capitalizing the word ‘King’ for Jesus. For there is a galaxy-sized chasm between their kingship. You see, Herod may have been ‘king’ of Judea put he doesn’t come close to Jesus, King of the Jews. When we read through the Gospels we see many facets of Jesus and His character. We see a Friend, a Healer, a Teacher, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the list goes on. This started me on a train of thought about how many times we look at Christ and only see an aspect of Him that we want to see? The side that embodies Love, the side that Delights in us, the side that sees Him as our Best Friend. Don’t get me wrong these are all great things that we see in Christ, but it is just a part of who He is. HE IS KING! We must never forget that He is the King of Kings and the Lord or Lords, the One in Revelation Chapter 1 with the snow white hair, eyes of like fire, feet like bronze, a voice like the sound of many waters, and a face like the sun shining in all its strength. Couple that with Revelation 19 where we see a Christ coming on a white horse, clothed in a robe dipped in blood. This is also part of who Christ is. The word awesome is often misused in our conversations today, but it is definitely the appropriate word to use when describing our King, He truly is Awesome in every sense of the word. To understand Christ, is to know Him and everything that He is, from Friend to Coming King. Let us not forget that this is the Man that will Judge all of mankind. The Only One who is qualified to do so.
He is King! Whether Pilate did it from a place of truthful sincerity or if he was adding insult to injury, what he wrote on Christ’s Cross; “This is Jesus, The King of the Jews”, was incredibly accurate.
As the world looks to ‘their kings’ today, let’s remember our King. The Christ-Child.
Glory to the King.