In my devotional time I am studying the life and leadership of Joshua. This morning I was beginning to read the sleep-inducing list of boundaries and towns that were assigned to each of the Israelite tribes (Joshua 15). I read the description of the territory for the tribe of Judah, and I must admit that I sorta glossed over the names of all of the towns. I got to the last verse and was ready to move on, and then it hit me.
As a pastor I’m always thinking ahead to my next series of messages, and currently I’ve been thinking about our Christmas series. So all of a sudden it jumped out at me — something I didn’t read in that list of towns. I went back and re-read the list a little more slowly this time. Nope, still not there. I looked a third time at all 38 cities: still missing. There are a couple of very notable figures that dominate the Old and New Testaments, and they have something in common — King David and Jesus both come from the tribe of Judah. And both of them were born in Bethlehem.
But in the list of towns in Judah’s territory, there is absolutely no mention of Bethlehem.
This town either didn’t exist, or it was so “insignificant” that Joshua didn’t even think to mention it. It would be almost another 500 years before David would be born in Bethlehem, and then another 900 years or so after that before Jesus would be born in this tiny village.
God had in mind for the greatest earthly king in Israel’s history and the King of all kings to come from such humble origins… from a village that didn’t even make the list. On this Thanksgiving Day, I’m grateful to belong to a God who has time after time made a “Bethlehem” for me at just the right moment!
My friend, if you are facing a difficult situation today, know that God already has the answer. He already has a Bethlehem prepared for you!