Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Faithfulness through the promises
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, 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.”(2)
An imaginary story is told of two shepherd boys who went to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus Christ. Sadly, although one of the boys stayed up the whole night and watched the entire episode, the other boy slept through the whole night without even getting a glimpse of anything. What makes the story even more interesting is the reaction of the second boy who woke up from his sleep to listen to all that his friend had witnessed the previous night. This is what he had to say: “This is Bethlehem…what could I have missed?” He then yawned and went back to sleep. This story illustrates the fact that Bethlehem was a place of least significance. But we come to know through today’s passage that it turned out to be the most important place in history – the place where our Savior was born. God used the lowliest of cities, i.e. Bethlehem, to accomplish something great. Isn’t it amazing and assuring that God can use the least, the lost and last things to accomplish his wonderful plans.
About 720 years before Christ was born, the prophet Micah made this prophecy. Over 700 years later, the angel appeared both to Mary and Joseph to announce the birth of Jesus. According to 2 Peter 1:20-21, “no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation…but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Promises such as this are the hallmark sign of God who loved the world and sent his only begotten Son through Bethlehem. To get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem at the exact time of Jesus’ birth meant that a lot of details had to be worked out. God and his Word can always be trusted even to the most minute detail. There are about 332 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament that have been fulfilled, and many more that will be fulfilled when Jesus returns.
The following stanza of the famous Christian hymn written by Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) of Philadelphia comes to my mind as we conclude. He wrote the words to ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ in 1868, following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was inspired by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine, especially at night time. “O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”Prayer: Dear God, thank you for planning long, long ago to send your Son to save us. You even planned what little town he would be born in. Thank you that you have good plans for each of your children. We trust your loving plans for us. Amen
Thought for the Day: God can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary to accomplish his plans.
Neethi Prasad, St. Stephen’s M T C, New Jersey