Precious Truth: God is Love
Today’s Reading from The Word
A Promised Ruler From Bethlehem
1 Marshal your troops now, city of troops,
for a siege is laid against us.
They will strike Israelâ€™s ruler
on the cheek with a rod.
2 â€œBut 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.â€
From a scroll containing this prophecy, from one of the more obscure of the prophets -Micah, the scholars found the required clue that Herod the ruler had demanded.
The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, a relatively unimportant town of Judah.
After Herod obtained this knowledge he sent his soldiers to complete an atrocity seared into history, the murder of the Innocents. But God had sent warning dreams! And the Holy family escaped to safety in Egypt until Herod was no more….
What was Bethlehem, and why was Jesus born there?
Bethlehem was a town near the site of Rachel’s tomb, where Jacob had buried his beloved wife after her death from chidlbirth. It was the area where Boaz lived and had his fields, and where David the King of Israel was born. Located about three miles south of Jerusalem, in this small town God’s His Chosen One would come.
In this small town the wailing of mothers, bereft of their infant sons, would cry out as the cruel worldly ruler, Herod, would seek to consolidate power for his family, seeking to destroy all possible competition.
Why God would choose Bethlehem, we don’t know, we can only guess that the stories of Ruth, and later of David hold a key to why God’s blessing was attracted to this very small part of a small planet in one of the lesser galaxies of the universe.
For God, there is no connection with our ideas of little and big, important or unimportant. And that is why we are so often confused about what matters. We think bigger is better, when even we, are constantly facing the fact that this is not the case.
One thing that imputes value, in which we can understand something of how God thinks, is “Love”. Love’s language, its importance, its ability to attract our focus, its necessity, are things we may understand, if we will.
God has many characteristics which He displays in interactions with men, and has communicated many of these through the scriptures, but the one characteristic that so sums up God’s nature is “love”. God is love… and that explains how he acts in love toward us. It is His nature to do so, and has little to do with what we deserve. In fact, if we understand “grace” we know that we do nothing to merit God’s love and goodness toward us.
It just is. As He, just is.
And Bethlehem is famous because of God’s seeming arbitrary choice to chose Judah as the tribe to rule, and a Shepherd boy to be a king, and to fulfill promises that his Messiah would come from that little town perched on an outcropping of limestone, overlooking the road to Egypt.