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November 21, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod. ‘But you, 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.’”—Micah 5:1–2 (NIV)
Every story has a setting. The setting can be just as big a character as many of the main characters. What would The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe be without Narnia, Batman without Gotham, or the Grinch without Whoville? In the story of salvation, there are several key settings that carry great significance: Mount Moriah, where God revealed a shadow of the gospel; Mount Sinai, where God gave the people the Law; Mount Zion, the site representative of God’s covenant with David and the coming kingdom; and the setting unveiled in today’s passage . . . Bethlehem!
So, what does today’s passage tell us? It explains that Bethlehem, described as “little” (insignificant) among the thousands of Judah, would be the destination for the most significant moment in the history of the universe up to that point—the moment the long-awaited Messiah would arrive on the scene.
Seems strange, doesn’t it? The setting for the moment the Word becomes flesh and makes His dwelling among us taking place in a location labeled insignificant? Wouldn’t it make more sense for our King to come out of Jerusalem where the temple stood. Or some great military site to rally His forces against those who would try to lay siege (Micah 5:1) against His people? Or the capital city of whatever empire was in power, 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 of cities to make His grand entrance into His creation.
As I read this Scripture, I see a great lesson at work, one the Lord has been teaching mankind since the very beginning: the value of humility. Consider God’s revelation to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11–12. Elijah was waiting for the Lord to speak to Him, but the Lord was not in the great, strong wind, the mighty earthquake, or the raging fire. Instead, He was in the gentle, still small breeze. And don’t forget David, the youngest brother, the shepherd boy, who was overlooked by his own father and chosen by God to be the next anointed king. Why? Because God loves those who are humble in heart, and He uses them in mighty ways. He lifts them up because they know that their greatness, accomplishments, successes, and triumphs are all for His glory and purposes.
So, it should come as no surprise that God chose to make His entrance into the world amidst the sounds of livestock and rustling hay instead of with loud trumpets, harps, and cymbals. Because God chooses to accomplish great things under humble conditions in order to show us His mighty power and to give us an example of the attitude we ourselves should demonstrate (Philippians 2:5–8).
Pause: Why does God choose to use the humble and “insignificant” to do His work? What does this teach us about God and us?
Practice: Be generous to those who humbly serve—a janitor, waste collector, mail carrier, waiter/waitress, or cashier—by leaving a nice tip or note of thanks.
Pray: Father, I pray I may walk in humility always and serve as Jesus did. I pray that You would constantly remind me of the reality that apart from You I can do nothing and that I am nothing. Remind me, Lord, that You are everything and that everything I do is in thanks to Your grace and power. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at 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.