Summary: This message is wrapped around a touching story about a little boy and his desire for a new puppy. The sermon deals with how God used a little town to bring forth the Savior of the world.
"WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM BETHLEHEM?"
(2) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
We sing it every year,
"O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by."
It was the home of Boaz and Ruth,
A tiny, insignificant village…like Bone Gap, maybe? Bethlehem is located about 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem.
That’s about the distance from my house to this church.
Not the place you’d choose for the birthplace of a King.
But, as is often His way,
God had big plans for this tiny village.
The carol continues,
"Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight."
From Bethlehem came the Light of the World.
To help as we consider this small village
I want to tell you a story this morning.
A farmer had some Brittany Bird dog pups for sale.
So he placed a classified ad in the newspaper.
One Saturday morning there was a knock on his door.
The farmer opened the door.
A man wearing hunting clothes was standing there.
"I came to look at the puppies you have for sale."
The farmer said, "Well, Sir,
these puppies come from good hunting dogs.
I can see that you are a hunting man.
And you can understand why…
I’m selling them for $300 a piece."
The man said, “I’m sure they are worth every penny”.
$300 is a reasonable price for pups from hunting stock.
The farmer and the man walked out to the dog pen.
He whistled and called, "Rachel! Come here Rachel!"
From out of the doghouse came Rachel…
followed by 4 little barking Brittany puppies.
Oh, they were cute! Little wiggly, puppies!
Then, from out of the doghouse…
peeped another little puppy.
He tumbled out of the doghouse.
He was obviously the runt of the litter.
This little fellow wasn’t as colorful as the rest of the litter…
And because he was the runt…he was much smaller.
The little runt puppy
began hobbling in an awkward attempt
to catch up with the other puppies.
The man said, “That’s the one I want!"
"Oh Sir," said the farmer, "you don’t want that puppy.
He’s the runt of the litter.
Besides that…he’s a cripple!
He will never be able to run and hunt quail.
I have been meaning to knock him in the head…
And put him out of his misery.
There’s some nice males in this litter.
Pick out one of them!
I can’t sell you that crippled, runt!"
But there was no changing the man’s mind.
He wanted that little crippled, runt puppy!
The man said “Ill give you $350 for that runt.”
“What? exclaimed the farmer!
You will pay more for him?”
“I can’t sell that runt for that much money!”
“I’ll sell him to you for $50!”
“No, said the man.
“$300 is the price you advertised.”
“I think that runt is worth at least that much to me!”
“O.K. He’s yours for $300, said the farmer.
The man explained that he would return Saturday
To pick up his new puppy.
Obviously, that man
saw something in that crippled, runt puppy
Which the farmer could not see.
NOW...just as the man chose the runt of the litter,
God chose the unlikely village of Bethlehem.
When we look at the Bible text, what do we see?
WE SEE BETHLEHEM’S WEAKNESS:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Many cities were far more important than Bethlehem.
There was Jerusalem.
There was Rome.
There was Alexandria.
But God chose Bethlehem in spite of her weakness.
Why did He do that?
Why does God choose as He does?