O Little Town
In Micah 5:2, the prophet Micah, brings the people of Israel some hope. They were being assaulted by the Assyrians and things were looking bleak. God had not forgotten them but was delivering on his promise to bring corrective punishment upon them when they stopped being obedient to him. Micah promises that a deliverer will come and that he would come, not from where they think, but from the lowly town of Bethlehem. Bethlehem was, in no way, a political or military powerhouse. And yet, from this humble town, God would raise up a leader who would deliver Israel.
Isn’t that the way of God? He, so often, uses that which society overlooks. Moses, David, the shepherds, and women were all used by God even though they were looked down on by their friends and family. God often uses the unsuccessful, the lowly, the outcasts, to accomplish his eternal plan. Paul reminds us, in I Corinthians 1:18-31, that he does this so that he would receive all the glory.
When we think of the night Jesus was born, we picture the stable, the star, the animals and Mary and Joseph lovingly looking over Jesus. It is the picture of every nativity we own. If we were to zoom out on that picture we would see the lowly town of Bethlehem. Packed, bustling, and full of life. We would see an overcrowded, loud inn that was too busy and preoccupied to see a pregnant women who was in real need. The contrast of the greatest gift ever given to mankind, the solution to all of man’s problems with the hustle and bustle of life would be stark and telling.
We spend so much of our lives being busy. So much of our lives pushing forward, accomplishing life, planning, and solving problems. We expect God to meet us and help us in our busyness. We are so busy looking for him to make a grand entrance into the inn of our lives that we sometimes miss that he is knocking at the inn door as a pregnant woman who needs a place to stay. We do not see that the help we need is to help others. We do not see that the help that we seek is in the barn in the back. We need to step out of our busyness and meet God where he is at. That God wants to use lowly Bethlehem and not the city of our choosing. That he wants to change our hearts and not help us with needs that we have created chasing that which does not satisfy.
Maybe this year we need to stop seeking the help of God with things that do not satisfy and start seeing the pregnant women that is in real need. Maybe we need to leave the busyness of the inn and head towards the barn to see that God often works in ways that we find lowly and weak. Maybe we need to allow God to define who, what, where and how he will work. We all ready know the why...his great love and compassion for us. He knows that the answers and help we need is in the barn and not the inn. Out of his great love for us, he has shown up and is working in our lives. He is just not often where we think he should be and so we must allow him to open our eyes to see barn.