Summary: God does not see as we see. He has the ability to look on the heart of men. God chose David of Bethlehem to be the unifying king of Israel and ancestor of Jesus, the ultimate King of Israel.
1. Superman -- Fact or Fiction?
George Reeves (TV's Superman in the 1950's) was popular for guest appearances, but his fame included risks. Kids might kick him in the shins or throw rocks to find out if he was the "real" Superman or a "pretend" Superman, the same way kids pull on Santa beards to find out if they are real. It seemed like every time he appeared in public as Superman, someone wanted to put him to the test.
In 1953, he may have faced real-life danger appearing at a department store opening wearing his Superman costume. A young fan, who wanted to see bullets bounce off Superman's chest, brought his dad's Army Colt, his dad's loaded... .45 caliber... Army Colt. Reeves talked him into putting it down. He told the boy that Superman could survive the shot without being hurt, but "when bullets bounce off my chest, they might hurt you and others around here." He continued to make public appearances, but never again in the Superman costume.
Some believe Reeves made up the story so he would not have to wear the costume when he appeared in public. It's understandable. I would not want kids kicking me in the shins or throwing rocks every time I showed up. That story was the only way he could stop the agents and producers from scheduling Superman appearances. When he appeared in public, children wanted to know. "Is he real or is he pretend?"
When God sent Samuel to anoint the next king, he was impressed with some of Jesse's sons, but God said, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." He still does. God knows what is real and what isn't.
2. 1 Samuel 16.1-13
3. God does not see things the way we do. God does not do things the way we do.
4. As a result, He accomplishes things we cannot (Ephesians 3.20)
I. Bethlehem is a Place of Contrast -- David and Jesus
A. The Nearby Herodium and the Pretender -- 3 Miles from Bethlehem
1. Wannabe Jew and King of Jews
2. Herod's paranoia and skills as a builder (Masada/Temple Mount)
B. The Hometown of David -- 1 Samuel 16.1, 13
1. Farmland and Pastureland (Land of Milk and Honey) -- Boaz' fields/Sheep
2. Refreshing Water for David from Bethlehem (turned into an offering) -- 2 Samuel 23.14-16
3. David Vs. Goliath
4. David united Israel at Jerusalem (city of David)
5. He is a picture of the coming Messiah -- "Anointed One"
a. Kings and Priests were anointed
b. Jesus is THE Anointed One -- King and Priest as Melchizedek
C. Symbols of the Coming Messiah
2. Living Water
3. Bread of Life from the "House of Bread"
4. Warrior -- Lion of Judah -- Revelation 5.5 (Lion of Judah/Root of David)
a. David defeats Goliath in battle
b. Is unable to build the temple because of his love for war
II. Bethlehem is a Place of Curiosity
People are often guided by expectations. Our bosses have expectations, teachers have expectations. We have expectations for our spouses, our children; sometimes our expectations may actually match theirs. The key to expectations is what we base them on; what is the foundation for our expectations? Are we basing our expectations on reality or something else, like our own wants and desires?
A. God Operates with the Principle of the Unexpected
1. God's Thoughts and Ways -- Isaiah 55.8-9
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
3. God Provides the Unexpected -- Matthew 13.44-45
44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Alan Calhoun, Bristol, Connecticut told of a garage sale he and wife had. They had decided to put out a mirror they'd received as a wedding gift. The reason they were selling it was that it had a gaudy aqua-colored metal frame and they just couldn't find a room in their house where it looked good.