But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.

Jesus’ humble beginnings set the standard by which His life would unfold. He was constantly amazing and surprising people. He turned the world upside-down through His unexpected teachings and lifestyle. He flipped people’s mindsets of what a true king looks like. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve. He returned hatred with grace-filled love. He taught forgiveness and mercy. He gave His very life for those who rejected Him.

Bethlehem was considered the “runt of the litter.” It was the smallest and least likely location for a king of such nobility and greatness to be born. But then again, everything about Jesus’ arrival—including the meager stable in which He was born—was astoundingly contradictory to expectations.

And just as the prophet Micah had predicted, Jesus began in a place that seemed insignificant in the great nation of Judah, thus fulfilling the prophecies of old. Throughout His time on earth, the Lord continually used those viewed as unimportant as vessels for His greatness. And He is still doing that with us today. Thank God He has a special place, plan, and purpose for even “the least of these.”

• What does this passage of Scripture tell you about the Messiah? How does this passage help you better understand the work of Jesus?

• What promise(s) of God do you need to remember in your life today?

• Praise God for doing wondrous miracles in unlikely situations.