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Why Bethlehem? (3 of 4)
Series: In Search of the King
I love to sing, and so I want to start out this sermon by having us all sing the first 2 verses of ''O Little Town of Bethlehem''.
''O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie!
Above your deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sins and enter in, be born to us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell:
Oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!''
You know, as great a song as that is, Bethlehem wasn't much to talk about in the days of Jesus. Back then it was a obscure village that would not have impressed us. One of my sources says: ''At the beginning of the first century AD, Bethlehem was a village with not more than a thousand inhabitants: a small set of houses scattered along the side of a ridge and protected by a wall that was in a bad state of repair…''
So, Bethlehem wasn't much to look at.
But it was the city God chose for the birthplace of Christ.
He could have chosen Jerusalem, or Hebron or an of a number of other impressive cities, but He didn't He chose Bethlehem. As it said in the prophecy of Micah 5:2 ''But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.''
Now notice the prophecy says ''Bethlehem Ephrathah.''
Seriously? Do we sing, ''O Little Town of Bethlehem Ephrathah?''
Of course not. So why would Micah call it that?
Well, because there are 2 Bethlehems in Israel.
One is way up north just a few miles from Nazareth where Mary and Joseph lived.
And the 2nd one is ...
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