“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.” (Micah 5:2 NIV)
‘You are the weakest link, goodbye’, so said Ann Robinson on the famous quiz show popular in the early 2000’s. Brutal and humiliating for the losing contestants and wonderfully reinforcing for the human sense that knowledge is power.
Have you ever felt that you were the weakest link and never quite ‘measured up’? Maybe you still do in some areas. I know I do.
Take heart my friend, you are not alone and someone values you including your weaknesses more than you could ever imagine.
God so often takes the weakest link and makes them into the strongest. David was the least of his brothers and the last chosen yet became Israel’s greatest King. He stood toe to toe and defeated Goliath, the Lord led him to mighty victories despite his weaknesses and built the nation Israel. Gideon was the least of his tribe and his tribe was the lowest of the tribes and yet he defeated the Midianites. So many characters throughout the bible are the least likely to ‘measure up’ and would not have got past first interview.
Thankfully God sees things differently. He sees potential, he sees possibility and above all he sees the heart.
So it was with Bethlehem, a backwater neither a military or commercial hub ; it was poor with mainly sheep farmers and yet, and yet... it was once known as Ephrathah meaning ‘fruitful’. It’s origins were from ancient times and God always had a plan for it, a plan that would shake the world in the least likely place. The name was prophetic. It echoed down the centuries and the name of Bethlehem and Ephrathah before it was held in high esteem in the heavenly courts who knew it’s time would come.
My friend your name is known in heavens realm also, your name was held in the same esteem knowing your time was coming too. Take heart and take hope my friend, you were never the weakest link.
Advent is a wonderful season in the Christian calendar, it has a deep sense of longing in it, of expectancy, of hope for what is to come. The lighting of an advent candle shines a light in the darkness before the true light is revealed. I love that the prophets of the Old Testament received the same expectancy and foretold of one who would come and save mankind.
I heard today a beautiful cello and piano rendition of that wonderful advent hymn ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ the words hauntingly expressed ‘ O come, O come ,Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the son of God appear’. My heart caught that longing in the minor keys of the instruments even without the words being sung, I could hear them in the heavenlies.
My friend let the anticipation and the longing in your heart be touched by God’s Spirit to fire in you new certainty of what you already know. We are not waiting in ancient times for that first Advent to come. No, we live knowing that God has fulfilled His promises. To the weak He says you are strong, to the insignificant He says you are a mighty warrior in my sight and to the poor of Spirit he says drink of my cup because it runs over. Hallelujah!
Soon the bells will be ringing in celebration, the angels will be singing to the shepherds on the hills of that little town Bethlehem. We will be rejoicing with them because ‘unto us a child is born ....who will be mighty King’. He came to us and for us, for our salvation sent in the form of a helpless babe. Some saw this as the weakest possible link but God created him as the strongest link and a link that reconnects us to our Heavenly Father.
So my friend, let the longing of Advent enter your soul as we approach Christmas, light a candle and let it shine in the darkness especially with so much illness around us. Let the hope in your heart triumph over any voice that says you are insignificant and helpless. You are not, you are the strongest link!
With love and advent blessings