|“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, |
are by no means least among the rulers of
Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who
will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”
|—Micah 5:2 and Matthew 2:6|
People in the days of Jesus would not have named Bethlehem a “destination city.” It lay small and insignificant, a few miles from Jerusalem, which served as the towering, celebrated city among all of Israel. Yet, God chose this little town for the greatest miracle in history.
You might also say, “Mary, you are by no means least among the young women of Israel,” although, at the time, everyone would have considered her pretty commonplace and poor. Yet, God chose this humble maiden as the mother for His Son, Jesus, and honored her above all women.
And, to the shepherds, we could say, “Herdsmen, you are by no means least among the men of Israel,” even though everyone at that time would have looked at them: smelly, uneducated, poor, and hardly capable of the call to spread abroad the news of the Savior’s birth. Yet the angels announced the greatest news in history to them and urged them to spread the news.
So many times in Scripture, God rebukes those who would overlook those considered “least.” Sometimes, we see ourselves in this light, and God rebukes our faulty thinking. He has chosen us to carry His Holy Spirit within us, elevating us far beyond what the culture would. And, more often, we pick and choose among the people we meet, or merely see, and overlook those who seem plain, common, or poor.
We should take time during this busy season, to see those around us in a different light, to wonder if God has chosen them for something special, to invite them into conversations and to urge them to occupy honored places. Remember what Jesus said, recorded in Luke 9:48:
“For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”
Let us allow the lowly shepherds, the humble, ordinary Mary, and the little town of Bethlehem to remind us that God often chooses those things we tend to overlook. We must allow Him to show us His power to elevate and use whomever and whatever He wishes to use for His glory. Amen!