Forest Lake Talks

December 23 Advent Devotional

December 23, 2020

Why Bethlehem?

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)” “To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.” “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2: 4-7 (KJV)

Most of us know the story of Jesus’ birth, but why did God choose Bethlehem? Why would the Savior for all mankind be born there? Bethlehem was King David’s hometown. Luke 1:32 … and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. God saw fit to have Jesus born in the hometown of King David. Bethlehem was the perfect birthplace for the one who was to become the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And what was David before he became king? He was a shepherd. Likewise, Christ was the shepherd that came to save the lost sheep of Israel. John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep…

Bethlehem comes from two Hebrew words – beth (beit) meaning house and lehem (lechem) meaning bread. John 6:33 – For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. Therefore, Jesus was the Bread of Life who was born in the city known as the House of Bread. And, when Jesus was born, he was laid in a manger or manja in Hebrew, which means eating tray. So, the Bread of Life was laid in the eating tray. How appropriate, for we are to feast on the Word of God daily.

Bethlehem was the city where the lambs were birthed and raised for the Temple sacrifice. Jesus was birthed in this same city and became the true sacrifice for all mankind’s sins. Hebrews 10:12 – But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God…

Bethlehem was small and not well known. It was one of the least among the cities of Israel. But God chose it for His perfect purpose to demonstrate how He can take the least of anything and make it great. Micah 5:2 – But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, to everlasting.

As Paul Harvey would say when he closed his daily radio program, now you know the rest of the story. Why Bethlehem indeed!

Prayer: Gracious God, as we draw near to the day of celebration of your Son’s birth the story of Bethlehem reminds us of how awesome and perfect you are. As we read and study your Holy Word open our minds that we may grasp the fullness of your perfection in all things. We humbly thank you for the Bread of Life and the sacrifice He made for each one of us. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Submitted by: Janet and Corky Clark

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