Why little Bethlehem?
Why little Bethlehem?
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Why little Bethlehem?
And I want to read out of the Book of Micah the prophet, one of the minor prophets, the 5th chapter and the 2nd verse. It reads like this:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, but out... yet out of thee shall... come forth unto me that he the ruler--be the ruler in Israel; whose goings forth has been from... old, from everlasting.
Of all of the places that is in Palestine... And in... There is so many great cities, and its localities, cities that are seemingly much more known in the lore of history, and better fortified, bigger cities, why should God choose little Bethlehem to be the birthplace of His Son? There is many that are greater. And for instance, the historical lore of Jerusalem, the proud Jerusalem, the capital of all of it, and it's one of the largest cities of Palestine. And then we wonder why God would pick on that little bitty town of Bethlehem for the birthplace of His Son.
But as the Scriptures have said, "What God determines to do, it will be done." And there is... God foreordained it to be that way or it never would've been that way. And there the Scripture says in the 15th chapter of Acts, that there is nothing by chance. God knowed everything. And it just didn't happen to happen that way. It just was that God made it that way.
And then when we in our little finite minds begin to think over, "Why would the great King of heaven choose a little place like that instead of the capital?" Instead of some... Even there was many places who had greater spiritual background than what Bethlehem did. For instance, some of the places like Shiloh. Shiloh was an ancient worship place of Israel, where they all came year by year to the--this great place where the ark of the Lord rested. And wonder why then that He wouldn't be born at Shiloh?
Then there was Gilgal, another great spiritual place of worship. Why wouldn't God let Him be born then at Gilgal? And there was another one, Zion. Zion was on the mountain top. And we wonder why that Jesus would not be born then in Zion, because it's been a great historical mark of where the Lord has blessed His people in the ages. And it looks like that maybe He would've chosen Zion, or Gilgal, or--or Shiloh, or one of the other great places where there had been great blessings and great teachings. And there was other great cities, such as Hebron. That was the place for a man who was wanting a city of refuge, a place of safety. There was Ramoth-gilead, also another place of refuge where the people could come, which would been very appropriate for him to be born.
And maybe, if I would've been thinking it, I would've brought Him over to Kadesh-barnea for there was the judgment seat, and a place of refuge. Perhaps I would've brought Him over to that country for His birthplace, or maybe we would've chosen some of the other cities. But, you know, I'm so glad that even just little insignificant things in the Bible mean so much. I believe that it was Jesus that said this, that, "You pass over and do the weightier matters of the law," rather, "but pass over the little things." And sometimes it's the little things that holds the big things together. But, all in all, the great cogs is turning just exactly the way God ordained them to cog. Turn here, there'll never be one miss its place. God has foreordained all things, and it must hit just exactly to that place.
And when we get faith like that, and begin to think of, "Who is behind all this? What is the main spring that's turning this great e--economy of God's?" We find it's the Holy Spirit. Not left into the hands of man to do things; but in the hands of the Holy Spirit. And He is the main spring, that if He can get the rest of the instruments, it'll work just perfectly and keep exactly God's time. And then we see that and we wonder in our mind then, if we look at great things and how that we would have them; and then it gives us a lot of consolation today to think, that maybe if we are a little group of people, maybe if we are insignificant to the world and to the bigger churches of denominations, yet God uses those little simple things sometime.
For it is also written in the Scriptures, "Fear not, little flock, it's your Father's good will to give you the Kingdom." What a consolation, that I know that just as sure as Jesus had to be borned in little Bethlehem, so will the little flock be the one that the Father will give the Kingdom to, because it's written. And all Scripture is given by inspiration, and the Scriptures cannot be broken. They must be fulfilled. So it gives us that hope to know that--that it'll be a little flock that will receive the Kingdom, a little faithful flock of believers. I'm trusting to be one of those flock, or in that little flock, I should say. And then we know the story; most all of us are acquainted with the story of how Israel came into Palestine by promise of God. And we know that the great Joshua was the one who divided each tribe their portion.
And Joshua, dividing up, divided Judah's portion. If you'll notice on the map, it's the--geographically just west of the plain sea, a few miles south of Jerusalem, the capital. And when Judah was getting her part, or his part, rather, in the land, his province, we would call it, it's strange, but this little city was not even mentioned: Bethlehem. Yet it was there, because that Abraham... Or, I believe it was Rebekah was buried at that place. But it must've been just a little village of some sort, because if you read Joshua 5, you'll find that there was a hundred and fifteen major cities under the domain of Judah, besides the villages and little towns: a hundred and fifteen cities mentioned. And perhaps when it was divided up, that Bethlehem was so little, maybe just a--a little house or two; it wasn't even mentioned in the inheritance. And then we find out that it never actually come to be known...
The one that founded it was Caleb's son; Caleb's son, whose name was Salma, and he founded it. The Bible said he was the father of it, which mean he was the founder of Bethlehem. In other words, he must've moved in there and started some sort of businesses, and commercial, and the trading, and so forth, that grew it up. And later we'll find out that the real reason of it, that the whole lands was jealous of that little piece of land, which lays to the north, and east, and slopes a little to the south on that spur. And it was the most fertile of all of Palestine. It was a--a corn belt and a wheat belt, and there were great olive orchards, and so forth, on it, in that part of Bethlehem, or Pale--Palestine, the end of Judah province.
And we find out that it was also became the home of the harlot Rahab. When Israel had passed over the borderline of the Jordan river, into Palestine, we are acquainted with the story of Rahab the harlot. Let's picture her this morning for a few minutes now as a--a young lady, a beautiful young woman whose some misfortune in life had been forced in, being a pagan, had been forced into the life that she was living. And many times people are forced into the life that they live.
And I might add here, did you know she typed the Gentile church? She was a Gentile, and she was a type of the Gentile church, when they heard the message. We were all out in spiritual prostitution, committing spiritual fornications against the God of heaven in all kinds of stuff, all kinds of denominations and religions. But when we heard that there was a God that still lived, that could perform miracles, quickly we received the message.
There was applied the Blood of the Lord Jesus, which made the scarlet cord. And to keep from going into detail, you know how she hung it from her window, publicly, the Blood was displayed publicly. That's the way the Blood's got to be displayed, publicly hanging from the outside of the wall to show that on the inside something had taken place. That's the way the true believer in Christ is this morning; on the outside is the display of the Blood of the Lord Jesus, that shows something took place on the inside.
And through this, God looked down when the wrath fell and the trumpets begin to blow; God seen that scarlet cord hanging there as a memorial. It's always pleased Him to pass over the Blood. "When I see the Blood, I'll pass over you." He saw it. And when the shaking and the Holy Spirit rumbled the earth and shook down them walls, some twenty-feet thick, not one rock fell where that cord was hanging: shows the protection of a true God to a true believer, no matter what state you're in when He finds you, if you'll just accept that scarlet cord. It weaves through the Bible.
And then we see her when she was taken in as one of the Israelites. She fell in love with the man, which was a captain and a prince in Judah. He was the captain of the Israelite armies. His name was Salmon, just like the king, Solomon. And he was the captain, and she become in a great romance with this captain, which was a prince of Judah. And finally she married him. And when the estate was settled up for the Israelites, she and her beloved husband lived in Bethlehem.
Now you begin to see it open, haven't you? See? It begin to open as we see that in Bethlehem she lived, being a Gentile bride to a Jew. Why? Because she believed in a miracle working God. And as... Look what she come from, from being a--out of a house of ill fame, of prostitution... Through her conversion and through her unfailing faith in God, it brought her from a prostitute house to a beautiful home in Bethlehem. What a difference.
That's the way it does all of us. From a house of unbelief and flusterations that, a--immoral acts, and everything, to a place, position in Christ which is most beautiful. From the ridiculous to the sublime, that's the difference that it makes through our conversion. And did you see, she married a prince of the house of Judah, a captain? That captain represented Christ took to Himself a Gentile Bride. From the lowest of lowest to the principal and best place in the land, as we'll get to it later in our message, to prove that it was; nothing else could be but that. They're a type of the Gentile Church.
Read the full account in... Why little Bethlehem?