Thought for the Month- October 2018
BETHLEHEM EPHRATAH – REF MICAH Ch 5 v 2
The Composer of a favourite Carol quite correctly referred to Bethlehem as a little town which lay a few miles south of Jerusalem. This somewhat insignificant village surrounded by rolling green hills made it suitable for “sheep and Shepherding”, highlighted by David and his lovely Psalm.23.
Since there were two small towns with the same name in Israel our verse in Micah ch.5 v2 makes the clear distinction as to where the long-promised Messiah would be born. The name “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread” -appropriately named materially when we think of the book of Ruth and certainly Spiritually when we hear the words of the Saviour, “I am the Bread of Life/I am the Bread of God (John ch. 6). What an encouragement in the accuracy of Scripture this is to us when we see the fulfilment of a clear statement recorded some 750 years before it is realised...
While there is no doubt as to where Mary’s child would be born, the question might well have been asked Why Bethlehem? Our verse provides the answer, the reason may not have been known by Caesar but Bethlehem it must be, “The most High Rules in the Kingdoms of Men”.
Luke now records for us that while Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, “Mary brought forth her firstborn Son wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger”. Who is this infant laid to rest in a somewhat crude animal’s feeding trough? Can He really be of any great importance to be put to rest in such circumstances, little wonder this question is posed. Well, there are a number of supernatural signs to suggest there is something special about the babe in the animals’ feeding trough. What about the angelic choir and their accompanying declaration; “Unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour Who is Christ the Lord”.
There is much more to follow: two very special elderly Jerusalem residents named Simeon and Anna had some amazing things to say about this babe of eight days: Simeon speaking on behalf of them both said “our Eyes have seen Thy Salvation” Luke ch.2 vv 25/38. Perhaps, about two years later, the babe now a child finds three somewhat unusual visitors saying to Joseph and Mary “We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him”. Perhaps an interesting subject for another time.