Summary: Divine principles that will build you up!
Matthew 2:4-6 says, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?...and they said, in Bethlehem of Judaea”. We hear these verses of scripture read every year at Christmas time, but do we really hear them? If you was going to bring a child into the world, a very special child that you wanted to expose to the entire world, and you could choose where the child would be born, where would you want the child to be born?...Jerusalem? New York, NY? Dallas, TX? or some small insignificant little town? You would probably choose a big town with the capability to broadcast the event to the rest of the world. God chose Bethlehem.
Bethlehem was an insignificant ‘nothing special’ little town much like the town the overwhelming majority of people of the world live in. Today, ‘the little town of Bethlehem’ is known for something very special…it is the birthplace of Jesus Christ! God did something special in that little town. God put Bethlehem on the map! God took a town that was a nobody and made it a somebody!
This story contains a powerful truth that we would do well to consider. Daniel 2:20,21 says, “God removes kings and sets kings up!”. God can promote people or demote people, whoever He wants, whenever He wants! The same is true for you! God can promote you, and make you a somebody even if you’re a nobody!
Why Bethlehem? Great question! We can find the answer in another Christmas story verse of scripture. Luke 2:4 says, “and Joseph went unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem”. Joseph and Mary had to go to the city of Bethlehem to be taxed because it was ‘the city of David’. Like most famous cities, Bethlehem is world renowned because one of its citizens, in this case David, was born and raised there. David was a nobody who God made a somebody. If God can exalt anybody He chooses, and God chose to exalt David, the next question we need to ask ourselves is: ‘what was so special about David that God decided to exalt him?’ If we know the answer to that question, we can emulate David’s characteristics and place ourselves in a good position to be exalted by God.
WHAT WAS SO SPECIAL ABOUT DAVID?
1 Samuel 13:13,14 says (after God had rejected King Saul as king, while He was looking for a replacement), “…thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart”. King Saul had proved to be too independent. God had given him specific instructions about how to handle a situation. But King Saul did what he wanted to do instead of what God instructed him to do. God rejected him as king and began looking for his replacement. God chose David to be the next King of Israel. What did God see in David that was so special? The answer to that question gives us principle number one. PRINCIPLE 1: Being GODLY is more important than being a SOMEBODY! This is a great paradox, but if you want to become a somebody by being exalted by God, then ‘being a somebody’ cannot be your ultimate goal in life. The bible is full of stories about God exalting people and making them somebodies, but none of them aspired to be a somebody! They all aspired to be godly people first and foremost. Remember when John the Baptist was approached by the Pharisees? John was getting quite a reputation. He was becoming a somebody. But John said, “I must decrease, but he (Jesus) must increase”. John said, I’m a nobody, but Jesus, he is a somebody! This same principle is true today. There is not enough room in any pulpit for shared glory! Preachers are either seeking to be used of God to glorify God or use God to glorify themselves. Guess which one God honors! What is your ultimate goal in life? What would it take for you to feel like your life is a success? Is the answer to that question a) I just want to life a godly life? Or b) I just want to be a somebody?
Psalms 119:98 (NLT, written by David) says “your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for your commands are my constant guide”. Here, David gives us the opportunity to see his heart. By doing so, David gives us the opportunity to identify principle number two. PRINCIPLE 2: Being WISE is more important than being INTELLIGENT! There is a big difference in intelligence and wisdom. Intelligence is the accumulation of information. In theory, the more informed you are, the better able you are to make a good decision. However, some of the most intelligent people in America work in Washington, DC guiding our nation. The most recent election (2010) sent a message to Washington, “we don’t like where the Democrats are taking us”. The 2006 election sent a different message to Washington, “we don’t like where the Republicans are taking us”. In other words, you can be very intelligent but make very bad choices. Wisdom is the ability to make good choices. Wise choices is based on the acknowledgement that every human behavior has moral worth to it. Doing godly things builds up people and societies. Doing ungodly things tears down people and societies. That is what the bible means when it says (Proverbs 14:34) ‘Righteousness exalts nations, but sin is a reproach to any people”. That is what David meant when he said, ‘your commands make me wiser than my enemies’. It is possible to be much wiser than the most intelligent people in the world. Not only is it possible. It is probable if you look to the sacred scriptures for the basis of your moral value system.