Summary: Pastor John uses Bethlehem as an example of God using anything and anyone for HIS plan and purpose.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
CCCAG December 17th, 2017
Scripture- Micah 5:1-4
In Scotland many years ago, the pastor of a small village church was visited by one of his deacons before service one Sunday morning. As the pastor brought out some coffee for them to share, her could tell by the deacon’s demeanor that something was weighing heavily upon him. Finally the deacon spoke:
"I came early to meet you as there is something that me and the other deacons have been talking about that we want you to consider- There must be something wrong with your preaching and ministry; there has been only one person added to the church in a whole year, and he is only a boy."
What a way to start a Sunday morning!
The minister went into the pulpit that day with a grieved and heavy heart. After service he wished to be alone and lingered in the church after everyone else left so he could pray. He cried out to God asking why his efforts seem to be in vain despite him doing his best for God, and living a holy life before him.
After awhile of pouring his heart out to God at the altar, he became conscious that he was not alone. He looked up and saw that it was the boy, Robert, that had become a Christian in the last year.
The pastor asked, "Well, Robert, what is it?"
Robert replied, "Do you think if I were willing to work hard for an education I could ever become a preacher? A preacher?—Perhaps a missionary?"
There was a long pause and tears filled the eyes of the old minister. At length he said, "This heals the ache in my heart, Robert. I see the divine hand now. Yes, I think you will become a preacher."
That boy was Robert Moffat.
The boy that the deacons wrote off as an insignificant fruit of the old pastor’s labor became a name known in the courts of heaven.
In fact, the measure of the old minister's reward will be found in the gathered fruit of the labors of Robert Moffat. If that name is not familiar to you Robert became the great African missionary who translated the entire bible into the local language, so the native people would read God’s word for themselves.
I love telling you historical stories like this as they show God’s power, sovereignty, and faithfulness when we show faith in doing what He has asked us to do.
Our Lord Jesus compared our work for His Kingdom like a mustard seed- the smallest seed that produces the largest of plants.
So this morning I want to talk to you about small beginnings.
God chose one of the smallest and at the time of Jesus’ birth, most insignificant cities in Judea for the birth of HIS Son. As we study the biblical truth found in Micah today, I hope that you will see that God doesn’t need a lot to work with to accomplish great things.
In fact, our God is so great He simply spoke, and nothing became everything.
Keep that in mind as we read Micah 5:1-4 this morning
Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us.
They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheekh with a rod.
2 “But you, Bethlehemi Ephrathah,(EF-RA-THA) 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.”
3 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.
4 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.
Big idea- What is it about Bethlehem that God chose it to be the birthplace of Jesus?
After all, if we were to use human thinking, then God really needs a publicist or an advertising executive to advice HIM.
If God wanted to make a huge deal out of the birth of Jesus, He just needs to adjust the birthplace of Jesus 5 miles to the north and he would have been in the middle of the temple mount- right in front of the priests and teachers who could have witnessed the birth of their messiah.
Why Bethlehem? What was it about this little village that attracted God to have Jesus be born there?
The first thing is what we spoke about a few moments ago-
I. It was small and insignificant
Even in the structure of the verse we just read, you can see the prophet highlighting this.