But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2).
Today’s Morsel: Each city has a meaning for the name given to it and for its existence. Many cities are named after some famous explorer or hero, while others are named for their location. They say that you can learn a lot about the attitude and lifestyle of people based on the city where they live and who the founder of the city was.
Bethlehem, which is the city of David, lies about five miles south of Jerusalem. There Jacob buried his wife Rachel. There Ruth gleaned in Boaz’s field, and it was also there where David was anointed king of Israel. And it was there Christ was born in a manger and the wise men came seeking the Savior.
Bethlehem is the city of bread. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Did Jesus make this comment because He was born in Bethlehem and thus was from the city called bread? No, my friend, He made this comment because He is the true bread that came down from heaven, the Bread of Life. But because of God’s plan to come to the earth, be born of a virgin, and establish His church, He chose the city in which David, a man after God’s own heart, had been anointed, Bethlehem Judah. The littlest among the thousands of Judah, out of it would come the one to be the ruler in Israel. Israel represents the church, and Jesus came to earth to establish and rule His church, not some earthly kingdom. As He told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). The only kingdom Jesus is going to set up on this earth is in you, when He fills you with His Spirit. Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). Who rules you?
Sing: O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie, above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by: Yet in the dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.