“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.”
An encouraging statement for believers can be found in the verse above when God says about Bethlehem, “…though thou be little…” Bethlehem was such a small city that it was not included in many of the records of Israel. It was not the large city like Jerusalem, which held much power, but it was a small city that most people did not know about. Yet, it was this small city that God allowed the Saviour to be born in.
What is encouraging about this statement is that this reveals the character of God. God often doesn’t choose the likely to show His power through, but the unlikely one who is surrendered to Him. For instance, God didn’t choose a large nation to become His people, but He chose Israel, a small nation with a little land to become His nation. God didn’t choose the best of Jesse’s sons to be king over Israel, but He chose an unlikely boy named David to be the king. God did not choose the best-dressed prophet to introduce the Saviour to the world, but He chose John the Baptist, a preacher whose raiment was made of camel’s hair, and whose meals consisted of locusts and wild honey.
One would think that God should know better than to take these little insignificant people and places to choose for doesn’t God know that these are not the best? My friend, that is exactly why God chose them. God chose the little and insignificant because He gets the greatest glory when they are used.
So, do you feel like you are little and that you are not much for God to use? My friend, I have good news for you; you are the tool for whom God is looking. There is nothing wrong with the fancy, the big, the talented, the educated, or the one that is most likely to be used; however, God gets the greatest glory through the life that is the most unlikely person to whom God could use. It is not how man sees an individual that determines whether God can use them, but how God perceives that individual’s surrendered and humble heart that determines the usability for God. God doesn’t need you to be like the most likely; God needs you to be you and to surrender to be used by Him despite how little and insignificant you perceive yourself to be.
Moreover, God often uses the small church to show His power. I know that we become enamored with the big, fancy churches whose edifices are elaborate, but it is often the small church that gets busy soul winning and working for God that He chooses to build and become a mighty template for other churches to use. You may see your buildings as run-down, your congregation as small, and the ability to reach your city as impossible, but you are in the exact situation that God can use if you would get busy doing what it takes for God to use you.
Do you see yourself like Bethlehem, as the little one among the thousands? Let me encourage you that God can take the little one and make it fruitful. God didn’t just call the city Bethlehem, but Bethlehem Ephratah. The name “Ephratah” means fruitful. If you give what you have to God and get busy serving Him, He can take the little and make it the most fruitful of all the thousands. Don’t let your little be your excuse to do nothing, but let it be the motivating factor to get busy and see if God would happen to choose you.