Summary: Bethlehem. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
0 Little Town of Bethlehem
Reading: Micah chapter 5 verse 1-4 / Matthew chapter 2 verse 1-6.
“But for now, prepare for the worst, victim daughter! The siege is set against us.
They humiliate Israel’s king,
slapping him around like a rag doll.
2But you, Bethlehem, David’s country,
the runt of the litter--
From you will come the leader
who will shepherd-rule Israel.
He’ll be no upstart, no pretender.
His family tree is ancient and distinguished.
3Meanwhile, Israel will be in foster homes
until the birth pangs are over and the child is born,
And the scattered brothers come back
home to the family of Israel.
4He will stand tall in his shepherd-rule by God’s strength,
cantered in the majesty of GOD-Revealed.
And the people will have a good and safe home,
for the whole world will hold him in respect--
Peacemaker of the world!”
• A visitor to a small town of Marchwood, Southampton was walking along the main street;
• When a wild dog leapt out and attacked a small boy.
• Without a thought for his own safety,
• The passer-by instinctively dragged the dog off the small boy,
• Wrestled it with his bare hands and managed to choke it to death,
• The incident was witnessed and would soon be reported in the local press.
• When the reporter meet the hero,
• He shook him by the hand and told him about the story he was going to write.
• He said that the headline in that week’s paper would be:
• "Brave Local Man Saves Child By Killing Vicious Beast"
• The hero said to the reporter;
• "But I’m not from this town,"
• "No problem," replied the reporter,
• "The headline will be: Southampton Man Saves Child By Killing Dog"
• "As a matter of fact," revealed the hero,
• "I’m not from Southampton at all. I’m from Portsmouth."
• The reporter glared at him,
• "In which case the headline will be: Portsmouth Man Slays Family Pet."
Some people have a small town or village mentality:
• e.g. Park Gate is still called by many ‘The Village’,
• Even though today it is a highly populated habitation.
• e.g. Some folks may have moved to a village and been there 10 or 15 years;
• Yet they are still considered to be ‘outsiders’ by the other locals.
• Trivia question does anybody know which is the smallest town in England.
• Answer is Manningtree. (It can be found on the River Stour which borders Essex and Suffolk).
• It may be the smallest town in England,
• But to most people in England it is totally insignificant, most of us never even heard of it!
• And we have no desire to visit it.
• Sitting on a hillside about five miles south of Jerusalem.
• Is another small town, one that has become well known all around the world!
• Yet had it not been for the fact that Bethlehem is the birth¬place of Jesus,
• Like Manningtree it would for most of the world be a place of little prominence.
• Tabloid newspapers often do a 10 things you always wanted to know about……
• Latest celebrity or sports star or whoever else is in the news.
10 things about Bethlehem:
(1). The name Bethlehem means; “House of bread”.
(2). There were two Bethlehem’s in Palestine.
• So notice that our prophecy is detailed "Bethlehem Ephrathah of Judah",
• Which means; ‘belonging to the tribe of Judah’.
• This is to distinguish it from the other Bethlehem which was in Galilee in the North,
• In the territory of Zebulon (12km from Nazareth).
• Bethlehem’s first mentioned in the Scriptures;
• Is in connection with the death of Rachel, Jacob’s wife.
• She died in childbirth, when Benjamin was born,
• And was buried nearby Bethlehem (Genesis chapter 35 verse 16-20).
• The main characters in the book of Ruth,
• Ruth, Naomi and Boaz all lived in Bethlehem,
• A book which tells the story of how a Gentile girl,
• Would become the great-grandmother of King David, and be in the Messiah’s genealogy!
• Bethlehem was the birthplace and home of David and his family.
• (1 Samuel chapter 16).)
• And it was the place where Samuel the prophet anointed David to be king.
• (1 Samuel chapter 16).
• Bethlehem was prophesied as the place of the Messiah’s birth (Micah chapter 5 verse 2),
• Alfred Endersheim (End-er-sheim) in his book, ’The Life and times of Jesus the Messiah’
• Lists 456 promises / prophecies, pointing to the Messiah’s coming.
• 700 years after Micah walked the earth, his prophecy came true!
• Bethlehem was the place of Infanticide.