Adventure. - Day 1

The Bethlehem Adventure

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.”
Micah 5:2 NLT

There are prophecies, and then there are prophecies.    This one from Micah was given 700 years before it would be fulfilled, during a time of religious revival.  Sadly, that revival didn’t last long.  Within a few years,   the Israelites would once again be thrown into darkness represented by captivity, persecution, assimilation, and even the desecration of their sacred land.

No doubt that during dark times, the Israelites would have clung to the stories and promises of old.  Maybe they even sat around the campfire at night, after another grueling day of work at the hand of their oppressors, and they’d say, “It won’t always be like this friends.  Remember the prophet Micah?  Remember what he said?  He said a ruler was coming.  It’s hard to imagine now, but we have to remember that God is faithful even when it doesn’t feel like it?  Remember how long our ancestors prayed for rescue from Egypt?  400 years, but it happened.  Let us pray our wait is not as long, and let us never lose hope.”

But why would God choose Bethlehem for the place to birth this new divine Adventure, this new rescue?  

Bethlehem, at the time of the birth of Jesus, was a fairly small village full of sheep and shepherds.  It’s only claim to fame was that it was the hometown of King David. Sure, there were prophecies that suggested a king from the line of David would rule forever, but those prophecies are 100’s of years old, and Bethlehem?  Well, it’s not much to look at now.

Why not Jerusalem?  Why not the city of God where the temple is and the presence of God dwells?  Or why not in the heart of the enemy, Rome. If God showed up there it would for sure strike fear into their hearts from day one.

But there’s something important to note about the God we serve; He loves an underdog.  He loves to use the least likely people to do the most amazing things.  A stuttering shepherd is chosen to rescue His children from a super power.  A boy is chosen to sleigh a giant with a sling and a stone.  A young woman and her husband the carpentar are chosen to help bring the Savior to the world. 

With this unlikely couple, in this unlikely town, in an unlikely time, God would herald in a new age, a new reign, and a new hope that no one could have ever dreamed up if they tried.  

So we have to believe in God’s words even when we don’t always see what He’s up to at the time.  Remember the apostles words, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in [JESUS].” (2 Corinthians 1: 19, NLT)  You see, with God, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel of darkness, often in places we’d least expect it.  Maybe even in you, and maybe even in me.  So let’s see where this surprising Adventure of the Christmas story takes us, and what we can learn about God and ourselves along the way.  

  1. What is one adventure you have taken that was full of some risk, but also some unforgettable experiences?
  2. Are you in a time of waiting for God to fulfill a promise or show up in your life? What longing on your heart are you hoping He’ll fulfill?
  3. Have you ever felt small and insignificant?  Knowing God used a small and insignificant town like Bethlehem to herald the most important event in history, what do you think the God of the universe could do with you? 
  4. How can you prepare your heart today, for reliving the Adventure of the Christmas story?

Pastor Paddy and the Series Guide Writing Team

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