The Promise of Being “Too Little”

We are loved by a God who always keeps his promises. The Old Testament is rich with promises concerning our coming Messiah, and from the opening lines of Matthew, we begin to see those promises perfectly fulfilled, starting with the most intimate details of Jesus’ birth. Back in 2019, we invited you and your teenagers to join us for a 16-day Christmas devotional series centering around Messianic prophecies. This year we will round out that series with eight more posts, so you’ll have one for every day of the Christmas season. 

We pray your heart will be encouraged and your faith strengthened as you and your teenagers meditate together on the game-changing truth that our God says what he means and means what he says. O Come Let Us Adore Him!

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days. (Micah 5:2)

The prophet Micah shares a very unique prophecy which holds a very unique promise. Read the above scripture again and see if you can find it…

Anything (more specifically, any place) sound familiar?

This is the first time we hear that our King Jesus, “ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old,” will be born in Bethlehem specifically.

This is big news! The hearers at the time would remember that their beloved King David was also from Bethlehem, a clan that was “too little” to have anything good come from it. And they were being told that King David was only a small foretaste of the greater King to come, Jesus the Messiah.

It is mind-boggling to sit and think through all the details God had to orchestrate to ensure Jesus’ birth in this “too little” town of Bethlehem. Chapter 2 of the gospel of Luke gives us a brief description of why Jesus’ earthly parents, Joseph and Mary – who were living in Nazareth at the time – traveled to Bethlehem nearing the time of his birth. The leader of the world, Caesar Augustus, wanted a census (so he could tax everyone and make lots of money). So he required everyone to go back to where their family began. For Joseph, that meant returning to Bethlehem with his very pregnant wife, Mary. In order to make Micah’s prophecy true, God orchestrated Caesar’s desire to hold a census, and even the time of year the census would be held, so that Mary would be ready to give birth.

But why does this matter to you and me?

Remember, the prophet Micah called Bethlehem “too little.” Which is another way of saying that nothing good comes from Bethlehem, especially not a great King. And yet, what Micah’s prophecy tells us is that God can make something great come from something not good enough.

Ours is the kind of God that makes promises to you that are seemingly impossible. And Micah points us to three “only God can do this” promises. Use these as reminders for you this Christmas season:

  1. God orchestrates the details of our lives to get us exactly where we need to be for his plan to unfold perfectly. It is never up to us to make God’s plan work out to bring him glory.
    2. God has authoritative power over everything in the universe, including what happens here on Earth and in your life. God promises to use that power to make sure you are in the place you need to be to receive all of the gifts and blessings he has for you.
    3. God uses things and people that everyone else would consider “too little” or “not enough” or “too much” or “too imperfect”, etc. to bring his plan for his glory and your future to life.

God used Micah’s prophecy to promise us this: You are not too much or, like Bethlehem, “too little” to know and experience the Kingdom of God ruling in your life. May this Christmas season remind you of that truest of truths.

For further reflection:
1. When you think of someone being “too little,” what imagery pops in your mind? A small child? A physically weak person? Is there a positive or negative feeling associated with this imagery? Why do you think that is?

2. Like we said before, our God is one who makes great things out of not enough, and big things out of too little. If you consider yourself or your life “too little,” how would the perception of your life change if you started noticing or at least believing that God was doing big things with you and your life?

3. We can often see God moving in our friend or family member’s life before we can see it in our own. Is there someone in your life who might be able to show you the ways God is using your “too little” life to do big things in and for his Kingdom? Write their name down and start seeking out ways to talk to them about it!

Father, I give you praise for how you work in and outside of my life and my concept of time to do your work for your glory and for my good. Would you give me a heart that is open to seeing the ways you are working in my life. Would you remind me that I am not “too little” or “too anything” for you? Holy Spirit, remind me that I have been orchestrated to be who I am, where I am, for the ultimate plan of God to bring restoration to the world.

Click here for a downloadable pdf to share with your teenagers.

Click here for the series as it is posted.

Becca Heck is a veteran youth worker based in Atlanta, GA. She has served on the steering committee of Rooted Ministry and is currently working on her MDiv at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. In between classes she is a part of the Anago Partnership Co-hort in Atlanta, upskilling pastors to lead flourishing churches. You can find her on the weekends teaching at various trainings, conferences, and retreats.

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