Bethlehem

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

 

Let Us Go to Bethlehem

Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. — Luke 2:15

It was a dark night… yet there was light! The Light of the world had come. Bethlehem almost missed it. No room. So the young, pregnant Jewish girl found herself without the decency of even a clean sheet or a simple cot. In her hour of labor, her bed was straw in a stable. And, when the babe was born, she herself, with trembling fingers, wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in the feeding trough.

Down the hillside a group of shepherds had a surprise visit from heaven. They rushed to the stable, found the babe, and returned “glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:20).

Let’s become Bethlehem ourselves. We find in this little village a place of potential, providence, and privilege. The Lord longs for you to become a Bethlehem in your own right. That is, to awaken to the fact that you are a person of potential, providence, and privilege.

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Bethlehem Is a Place of Potential

But you, Bethlehem… though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth… the One… whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. — Micah 5:2

Think of it. Of all the places for the Messiah to be born, God chose Bethlehem. One would have thought it might be in a much more prominent place, like Jerusalem. Bethlehem reminds us that in God’s economy the small shall become great, and the last shall be first. Bethlehem was a place of potential, and even though you may feel insignificant, like Bethlehem, so are you!

As the Lord looks at you, He doesn’t see you for what you are, but for what you could become. This is the message of Bethlehem.

God did not come to Caesar’s palace to be born, nor to Herod’s court. He arrived quietly, almost unannounced in a seemingly insignificant village.

God is reminding you today that in His eyes you have potential for greatness. See yourself as a Bethlehem. You, too, are a person of potential.

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Bethlehem Is a Place of Providence

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.
— Micah 5:2

Long centuries before His birth, the prophets foretold that Christ would be born in Bethlehem. But how? Joseph and Mary resided seventy miles north, in Nazareth. God put the whole world in motion to fulfill His Word. A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that everyone was to go to the place of their family lineage to pay taxes. So Joseph, because he was in the line of David, left Nazareth with his very pregnant wife on a long journey of inconvenience.

Many of the things in our lives that on the surface appear inconvenient, may just be the hand of God’s providence getting us to our own Bethlehem.

Bethlehem reminds us that what God promises, He performs — no matter what. Bethlehem is a place of providence, and so are you.

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Bethlehem Is a Place of Privilege

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you. — Galatians 4:19

What an awesome privilege to be the handpicked city to cradle the Son of God. Why Bethlehem? Why not Jerusalem, the seat of religious power? Or Rome, the center of political power? Or Athens, the center of intellectual power? God was sending a message.

The hope of our world is not in religion, politics, or philosophy. God privileged the little village of Bethlehem to send the message — the hope of the world is in a Savior!

This Christmas could become a Bethlehem moment for you. Like Bethlehem, you can awaken to a brand-new world. The same Christ born in Bethlehem can be born again in you. Paul puts it this way: “I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.” If you think Bethlehem is privileged to be His birthplace, what a greater privilege for Christ to be born in you.

Thinking of Bethlehem, Phillips Brooks wrote, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Excerpted with permission from The Christmas Code by O. S. Hawkins, copyright O. S. Hawkins.

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Your Turn

Bethlehem wasn’t a capital city. It wasn’t well-known; its people weren’t well-off. It was hardly the place for the King of the world to be born. But, God’s Kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. He chooses places, things, and people for His glory, not ours. Isn’t that beautiful? Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you about Bethlehem! ~ Devotionals Daily

 

 

Dr. O.S. Hawkins

For more than 20 years, O. S. Hawkins served pastorates at the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and in Dallas, Texas. He is president of GuideStone Financial Resources, which serves 200,000 pastors, church staff, missionaries, doctors, and other workers of various Christian organizations with their retirement needs. He is the author of more than 25 books and preaches regularly at Bible conferences, evangelism conferences, and churches across the nation.

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