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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.”—Matthew 2:4 (HCSB)
As we learned yesterday, the arrival of the magi really shook King Herod up. So, what does he do? Well, he tries to gather some intel! He calls in his own wise men, the scribes and chief priests of Israel, to fill him in on what’s happening.
Why did he ask his men where the Messiah was going to be born? According to theologian Albert Barnes, “His object was to ascertain from prophecy where he was born, that he might put him to death, and thus calm the anxieties of his own mind. He seems not to have had any doubt about the time when he would be born. He was satisfied that the time had come.”
Herod’s men answered, “In Bethlehem in Judea.” And then they quoted the words of the prophet Micah, who said, “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 NKJV).
As I read this verse, a single thought keeps ringing through in my mind: God’s perspective is different than ours.
The verse says that Bethlehem is little—small, insignificant, young—from a human perspective when comparing it to the thousands in and among the clans of Judah. But God chose this town as the destination for the most significant moment in the history of the universe.
Why? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the King who would reign on David’s throne for all time to come out of Jerusalem, the center of the Jewish world? Or maybe a great Roman city, showing that He would establish His everlasting rule over all and be the great rock that would cause the kingdoms of men to fall at His feet (Daniel 2)?
No. God chose the humblest woman and city to make His grand entrance into creation. There is a great lesson here, one the Lord has been teaching mankind since the very beginning.
Consider God’s revelation to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:12. Elijah was waiting for the Lord to speak to Him. But the Lord was not in the great and strong wind, the mighty earthquake, or the raging fire, but in the low whisper, gentle, still, small breeze. And we can’t forget about David, the youngest brother, the shepherd boy, overlooked by his own father . . . the least likely was chosen to be God’s anointed king.
God loves the humble and uses the humble in mighty ways. He lifts up the humble because a humble heart knows that his or her greatness, accomplishments, successes, and triumphs are to the glory of God and all in service of God. A humble heart doesn’t seek to glorify himself or herself, but God, to whom all glory, honor, and praise belong.
So, God chose to reestablish the line of David—a once grand tree that had fallen chopped down to the very stump, having been humbled beyond measure—in the city of David. The King’s birth and the establishment of His everlasting reign would not be accompanied by the sound of loud trumpets, harps, and cymbals, but by the sounds of livestock and rustling hay—and of course, the praises of the angels in the sky. And God wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the inside. The Jews did not embrace or recognize Jesus as their King because He came in humbly and as a servant. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and proclaimed that the last would be first and the first would be last. They were expecting kingly robes and an extravagant crown. Instead they got a robe of righteousness and a crown of thorns.
God chooses to accomplish great things under humble conditions . . . remember that when it comes to the condition of your heart this Christmas season.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.